Business Builders

Local Roots

“Drink Local”

The character of a wine list can help shape customer perceptions about the restaurant itself. For example, at Lorenzo’s Ristorante in San Antonio, TX, Rick Lorenzo proudly features more than 40 local Texas wines, with 16 by the glass. To encourage guests to try these flavorful, yet lesser known, local vintages, Rick is happy to pour preview samples “on the house.”

Not only does specializing in local wines helps set Rick’s restaurant apart from other area competitors, actively promoting the local wine scene helps reinforce the Lorenzo family’s San Antonio roots!

Rick Lorenzo, Owner Lorenzo’s Ristorante San Antonio, TX


“Eat Local”

Fourth generation restaurateur Jim Sabataso championed local pizzerias by creating the Downtown Rutland Pizza Challenge, during Rutland, VT’s, fall Harvest festival. For $5, festival attendees received a punch card ballot good for five sample slices that day and a map directing them to each of five downtown pizzerias.

After tasters voted for their favorite slice, the winning pizzeria was named “Winner of the Rutland Pizza Challenge.” But in reality, all five pizzerias won because it introduced their pies to hundreds of potential customers from neighboring communities!

Jim Sabataso, Owner The Palms Restaurant Rutland, VT


“Support Local”

After several local steel plants closed, John MacDonald felt his neighbors deserved good news for a change. So John announced he would donate 25% of his sales during several Monday fundraisers to a series of community causes, from helping finish a neighborhood playground to helping nearby flood victims.

The fundraisers are on his slowest night of the week, so they have not cannibalized other sales. In fact, while not his intention, many locals have praised John’s gesture and are patronizing his place more often during the rest of the week!

John MacDonald, Owner Pizza Pizzazz Cayuga, ON


Fewer Tables, Bigger Tips

When Mike Santeramo and his sons Landen and Jorden reestablished “Santeramo’s Pizza House” in Greeley, CO, they wanted guests to always receive prompt, attentive service. So they limited the number of tables assigned to each server.

Initially, the wait staff worried that this might reduce their earning potential. But as they have proven over time, serving fewer guests exceptionally well (and rapidly resetting tables as soon as they depart) helps the servers earn bigger tips, while Santeramo’s earns greater customer loyalty!

Mike Santeramo, Owner Santeramo’s Greeley, CO


Kindness Is Free

Big businesses often lose touch with how simple kindness can help build personal relationships with their customers. That is why owner Peter Caruso and his team have the goal of engaging and uplifting every visitor to his cozy deli.

For example, if a customer comes in with a negative attitude, they purposely steer the conversation toward something positive, even if it is just how nicely the breeze is cooling a hot day. Whether customers realize it or not, they end up feeling more upbeat by the time they leave (and soon want to repeat the experience in the future)!

Pete Caruso, Owner Uncle Peter’s Deli Clarkston, MI


“Reading Glasses Available”

While they may prefer not to admit it, a growing number of folks on the north side of forty are finding it harder to read printed materials (including menus) without holding them at arm’s length (or even farther away)! As a courtesy to these farsighted guests, Cecilia Duncan keeps a few extra pairs of reading glasses on hand in case they have forgotten their own.

It might seem like a small detail. But to those who must increasingly rely on “readers” to decipher something as simple as a menu, these “loaners” (and Cecilia’s foresight in providing them) are indeed much appreciated!

Cecilia Duncan, Owner Old Ice House Grill & Eatery Marianna, FL