Success Stories

Norm’s Pizza

In downtown Brooklyn, NY, head pizzaiolo and managing partner Rosario Viggiano runs a tiny, super-efficient slice shop called Norm’s Pizza which has been steadily attracting more loyal repeat customers over time.

Running a slice shop can be ultra competitive because profits are earned in cents (not dollars) per transaction. That is why slice shops depend so heavily on “foot traffic”-intensive locations. Luckily, Norm’s is surrounded by plenty of large business and government office buildings.

With plenty of cheaper slices nearby, competing on price wasn’t an option. Instead, Rosario focused on 1) creating unique ultra-premium slices capable of attracting customers who value quality over price, 2) charging an equally premium price, and 3) reinforcing a super-welcoming vibe so customers can’t help but want to return!

Employ Mindful Innovation

Besides seeking out the most consistently flavorful sauce, cheese, and toppings through blind tastings, Rosario has focused on making his dough increasingly distinctive over time. So rather than sticking to the identical dough recipe over time, Rosario is constantly experimenting with how different rise times, dough hydration, and a natural leavening process enhances finished dough flavor and texture. As a result, the crust at Norm’s has continued developing greater character and complexity over time, making it increasingly distinctive from anything else around.

Value Freshness Over Variety

Because slice freshness (quality) is directly impacted by “holding time,” faster moving slice varieties average a bit fresher than less popular, slow-movers. So instead of emphasizing “variety” by displaying 15 or 20 different pie choices, Rosario purposely maximizes slice freshness by narrowing his menu to his 8 most popular, highest velocity versions.

Embrace Efficiency over Customization

Especially during peak mealtimes, Rosario’s goal is to cheerfully serve as many guests as quickly as possible. So Norm’s menu is strictly limited to 8 predetermined slice choices and craft sodas in bottles or cans. By not allowing substitutions or “build-it to order” options, Norm’s keeps each rush hour transaction as simple and fast as possible.

Create A Welcoming Culture

While a limited menu approach might sound impersonal, Rosario strives for his team to create the opposite experience. In hiring new people, he especially looks for upbeat attitudes and a willingness to work hard. As a former pizzeria employee himself, Rosario pays particular attention to his team’s feelings and frustrations. In addition to making them feel valued, he encourages them to make eye contact, greet, and be kind to each guest.

The Bottom Line

Despite cheaper alternatives, Norm’s continues to profitably grow by focusing on premium quality, unique flavor, seamless transactions, and a warm, welcoming environment!