Business Builders

Unique “Signatures”

Pizza Fritta

In the 1954 Italian film L’oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples), a young Sophia Loren is seen preparing traditional Neapolitan pizza fritta to sell from her sidewalk stand. Since 1979, it has also been a popular signature specialty at Papa Dio’s in Oklahoma City, OK. Third generation restaurateur Bill Bonadio says that because many Americans are unfamiliar with this highly flavorful, yet lesser known version of pizza, spotlighting it helped put his place on the map!

Bill Bonadio, Owner Papa Dio’s Oklahoma City, OK


Surprising Stickers

Small gestures can make big impressions! To give their otherwise plain takeout boxes and bags unexpected whimsy, this quirky eatery began putting stickers under box lids and bag bottoms to surprise customers. The stickers, featuring corny riddles, homey folk sayings, or the promise of a free treat, are printed on address labels with the restaurant’s PC. Like Popsicle stick riddles or bottle cap word games, what originally started as a joke several years ago has evolved into a signature tradition, seemingly enjoyed by customers of all ages!

Wishes to remain anonymous


Hiker Hospitality

As the “Appalachian Trail” passes through Franklin, NC, distance hikers often check into local hotels for a hot shower and soft bed. Recognizing potential guests without wheels, Vito LoMonaco places laminated flyers in area inns, describing his pizzeria and offering “Free Guest Pickup and Drop Off to Local Hotels.”  As a result, a growing number of hikers are coming to enjoy a hot, hearty Italian meal before continuing on their way. And word of mouth is spreading up the trail that Vito’s is hiker friendly!

Vito and Jane LoMonaco, Owners Vito’s Pizza and Indoor Patio Franklin, NC


Army of “Ambassadors”

At Maggio’s Ristorante, employees are encouraged to invite people they meet outside of work to come try the restaurant. Each team member receives a supply of the restaurant’s business cards, which give directions to the restaurant, a space for the employee’s initials, and a $10 offer to entice first-timers to give Maggio’s a try! At month end, redeemed cards are tallied by each “ambassador’s” initials, with the employee with the most redeemed referrals winning a cash prize!

Gina Maggio, Owner Maggio’s Ristorante Southampton, PA


Kids Are King

Restaurateur Fred Filleti strongly believes that adults (and teenagers) end up craving the flavors they grew up with. So while some restaurant “kid menus” feature hotdogs or burgers, Fred would prefer that his youngest patrons fall in love with the same lasagna, stuffed shells, and other Old Country favorites enjoyed by their parents. That is why Fred’s menu happily offers kids any of his Italian entrées, a half portion at a time!

Fred Filleti, Owner Merritt Sub Shop Dundalk, MD


Suggestive Pre Selling

Embracing each guest as they arrive allows owner Ferna Pileggi to make them feel like beloved VIPs. It also gives her an excuse to draw their attention to a visually attractive entryway display of key appetizers, entrées, desserts, and even featured wines that she and her husband, Silvio, would prefer to sell that evening. Between Ferna’s gentle smile and winning personality, many guests have mentally committed to ordering those featured specials before they get to their table!

Ferna and Silvio Pileggi, Owners Pileggi’s Italian Café Canton, OH