Business Builders

Standing Apart

Personalizing Pics

Restaurateur Bob Yeats takes advantage of Facebook and Instagram by regularly posting candid photos of his team members busy in his kitchen, hand-preparing mouthwatering ingredients and dishes. Doing so allows Bob to subtly personalize his staff and restaurant with his online customers (especially younger millennials) while visually reinforcing the personal pride they take in their work!

Bob Yeats, Owner Windy City Pizza San Mateo, CA


V.I.P. Welcome

At his Scottsdale ristorante, Tutti Santi, Leonardo Zacchino encourages his servers to exceed the service expectations of his regulars. One way they make regulars feel like V.I.P.s is by memorizing their beverage of choice (e.g., via a small pocket notebook) so the servers can have their favorite cocktail or wine already poured and waiting at their table as they are seated the next time they visit.

Leonardo Zacchino, Owner Tutti Santi Scottsdale, AZ


28” Pizza Challenge

For more than three decades, Columbo’s Pizzeria has challenged pairs of Clemson University students to finish its signature 28” Atlas Pizza in 45 minutes. Prizes include the pizza free, $300 cash, and eternal bragging rights. Despite 50 attempts, so far only one duo of eager eaters has won. More importantly, the ongoing challenge has helped owner Mike Conrad create years of valuable word of mouth among students as the home of the 28” Atlas pie! BRAVO!

Mike Conrad, Owner Columbo’s Pizza Clemson, SC



Differentiates Crust Most pizzerias view their dough as simply a platform for sauce, cheese, and toppings. But to pizzeria owner Chuck Mangino of Naples, FL, dough (and how it is shaped) represents an opportunity to help his pizzeria uniquely stand out in customers’ minds. When stretching out dough rounds for traditional Neapolitan-style or New York-style pies, most pizzerias leave the outer rim of the pizza skin a bit thicker. During baking, this thicker rim puffs up to form a tall crust or “cornice” which slopes downward toward the center of the pie. The Mangino family’s unique twist? Instead of leaving the outer rim thicker, they pinch it thinner and turn it upward to create a steeper vertical wall around the pie. This not only gives the crust a unique texture during baking, it also gives finished pies a visually distinctive crust edge. To hammer this point of difference home, the Manginos emphasize their unique “hand-pinched crust” on their menu and in their marketing. But the real secret to their success is that their pizza tastes really good and their unique crust makes it especially memorable!

Chuck Mangino, Owner Mangino’s Pizzeria Naples, FL


Pizza Dough “Dog Bones”

Good business ideas often come from unexpected places! About five years ago, pizzeria owner Brad Knaack, was delivering pizzas to a customer in rural Wisconsin. As he carried the pies toward the door, he unfortunately left his car door open. As a result, when he returned to his car, he was surprised to discover the customer’s dog inside, proudly munching on the next delivery’s pie. Turning “lemons to lemonade,” Brad was inspired to begin cutting pizza dough into “bone” shapes with a cookie cutter and baking them as a treat for customers’ dogs. Since then, Brad’s drivers have used the “bones” to befriend dog owners (and their pets) and to distract overenthusiastic canine “gate keepers” when necessary!

Brad Knaack, Owner Butch’s Pizza of the North Land O’ Lakes, WI