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November 2019

PIZZA MAGAZINE T H E W O R L D ' S A U T H O R I T Y O N P I Z Z A | P M Q . C O M | P I Z Z AT V. C O M

PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | Volume 23, Issue 9

NOVEMBER 2019

The Pizza Industry’s Business Monthly | PMQ.com

SISTER ACT In a male-dominated industry, Vincenza and Margherita Carrieri-Russo of V&M Bistro are rewriting the rules for success. P A G E 3 8

NEAPOLITAN PIZZA 24

INSTAGRAM BRANDING 32

PASTA MANIA 62


IT’S NOT JUST PIZZA. IT’S OUR SELF-RISING DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, FORGED WITH PASSION, AND TOPPED WITH NOTHING BUT THE BEST.

What’s your declaration of independence? Grande is championing operators who have an independent spirit and shared passion for excellence. By providing the finest all natural, authentic Italian cheeses, along with an unwavering commitment to quality, we’ll continue to advocate for independents and their love of the craft.

1-800-847-2633 grandecheese.com © 2019 Grande Cheese Company


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FEATURED STORY CHEESE EXPERT: WHY ROBOTS COULD SAVE THE PIZZA INDUSTRY Pizzeria owners and other restaurateurs have nothing to fear from the revolution in foodservice robotics, according to Ed Zimmerman, president of The Food Connector. In a guest column for Cheese Market News, Zimmerman, a past contributor to PMQ, suggests that automation may turn out to be “the greatest gift restaurant operators can get.” With robots that can make pizzas and flip burgers, restaurateurs will be able to cut back on labor and can afford to pay higher wages to their human workers. P M Q . C O M /R E S TA U R A N T R O B O T S

ALSO ON PMQ.COM

DOMINO’S FEELS THE HEAT FROM THIRD-PARTY DELIVERY Third-party food delivery vendors like DoorDash and Uber Eats are cutting into Domino’s sales growth and revenue, which fell short of estimates for the third quarter of 2019. Will a focus on carryout prove to be the solution?

HARD CHEESES: YOU CAN SAY NO TO MOZZARELLA Melted mozzarella is the standard cheese of choice for pizzas. But, if you’re looking for alternatives, keep in mind that hard and semi-hard cheeses can add unique and on-trend flavor, texture and appearance. PMQ.COM/HARDCHEESESFORPIZZAS

PMQ.COM/DOMINOSTHIRDQUARTER2019

DEEPLY WEIRD PIZZAS HELP CRAZY PEDRO’S EARN HEADLINES

PIZZA-FLAVORED ICE CREAM IS “SURPRISINGLY NOT DISGUSTING”

How do you feel about mashed peas on your pizza? That’s just one of the toppings on the Chippy Tea pie at Crazy Pedro’s in Manchester and Liverpool, England. And the Chippy Tea is just one of the many way-out-there pies on the company’s menu.

According to The News Observer in Charlotte, the new pizza flavor offered at Two Roosters Ice Cream “tastes very much like pizza.” But, the shop’s owner admits, “It is an acquired taste. Not for the faint of heart. Or… faint of taste buds.”

PMQ.COM/CRAZYPEDROS

PMQ.COM/PIZZAFLAVOREDICECREAM

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IN THIS ISSUE

NOVEMBER FEATURES

38

Sister Act

ON COVTHE ER

Margherita and Vincenza Carrieri-Russo are breaking down barriers and succeeding at a level many owners only dream of. (Cover photo by Jessielyn Palumbo)

32

24

Building Your Instagram Brand

NeapolitanStyle Pizza

48 Bring the Heat

52 The Art of Antipasto

62 Pasta Mania!

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72 SOFO: Best of Show


IN THIS ISSUE A Publication of PMQ, Inc. 662-234-5481 Volume 23, Issue 9 November 2019 ISSN 1937-5263

NOVEMBER DEPARTMENTS

PUBLISHER Steve Green, sg@pmq.com ext. 123 CO-PUBLISHER Linda Green, linda.pmq@gmail.com ext. 121 EDITOR IN CHIEF Rick Hynum, rick@pmq.com ext. 130

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In Lehmann’s Terms: How to Improve Your Crust’s Flavor With Minimal Effort

From salty to sweet, the Dough Doctor offers tweaks to your dough formulation to enhance your pizza’s flavor profile.

ART DIRECTOR Eric Summers, eric@pmq.com ext. 134 SENIOR COPY EDITOR Tracy Morin, tracy@pmq.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Callie Daniels Bryant, callie@pmq.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Bill DeJournett FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER David Fischer, david@pmq.com

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The Think Tank: Should a Fro-Yo Owner Delve Into the Pizza Business?

Seasoned operators give advice to a newcomer who might be biting off more pizza work than he can chew.

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS/ SOCIAL MEDIA Heather Cray, heather@pmq.com ext. 137 DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH Blake Harris, blake@pmq.com ext. 136 CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Shawn Brown, shawn@pmq.com TEST CHEF/USPT COORDINATOR Brian Hernandez, brian@pmq.com ext. 129 ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Linda Green, linda.pmq@gmail.com ext. 121

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SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tom Boyles, tom@pmq.com ext. 122

Eye On the Chains

Can Rob Lynch turn Papa John’s around? Will Domino’s go down in a “Blaze” of glory?

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Chris Green, chris@pmq.com ext. 125 SALES ASSISTANT Brandy Pinion, brandy@pmq.com ext. 127 PMQ INTERNATIONAL PMQ CHINA Yvonne Liu, yvonne@pmq.com

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Pizza Hall of Fame: Tommaso’s Ristorante Italiano

An old-school, family-values approach hits a welcome nostalgic note for this San Francisco pizza institution.

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 Online @ PMQ 16 Moneymakers 75 Idea Zone

PMQ RUSSIA Vladimir Davydov, vladimir@pmq.com PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE 605 Edison St. • Oxford, MS 38655 662.234.5481 • 662.234.0665 Fax

PMQ Pizza Magazine (ISSN #1937-5263) is published 10 times per year.

76 SmartMarket 82 Product Spotlight 83 The Pizza Exchange

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Cost of U.S. subscription is $25 per year. International $35. Periodical postage pricing paid at Oxford, MS. Additional mailing offices at Bolingbrook, IL. Postmaster: Send address changes to: PMQ Pizza Magazine, PO Box 2015, Langhorne, PA 19047. Opinions expressed by the editors and contributing writers are strictly their own, and are not necessarily those of the advertisers. All rights reserved. No portion of PMQ may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent.


STAND OUT ON THE PLATE Bellissimo Meatballs Offer Authenticity & Consistency Bellissimo Meatballs are made in the finest Italian tradition. The classic recipe has a blend of premium quality beef and pork, the finest Italian cheeses, fragrant Italian spices and real bread crumbs. There’s also a flavor-filled all-beef option. Fully cooked and available in a variety of sizes and styles, the meatballs are tender and delicious – bursting with juicy flavor! In the back of the house,

you will appreciate the convenience and the cost savings in both prep time and labor. For your customers, Bellissimo Meatballs have a homemade look and feel and can be served as appetizers, in sandwiches or with a favorite pasta dish. Bellissimo Meatballs will inspire creativity in your kitchen and motivate customers to keep coming back for more.

Bellissimo distributors are the exclusive source for Bellissimo Meatballs. Contact a representative for availability and pricing.

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IN LEHMANN’S TERMS

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CRUST’S FLAVOR WITH MINIMAL EFFORT These simple tweaks to your dough formulation can make a big difference in your pizza’s flavor profile. BY TOM LEHMANN

Q A

We’re looking for a quick and easy way to improve the flavor of our crust. Any suggestions? Since you need a “quick and easy” approach, I will focus on your dough formulation rather than your dough management procedure, which would require a more in-depth response. First, look at the salt level. For optimal flavor, the salt level typically should be about 2% of the flour weight. Any salt level under 1.5% will negatively impact the finished crust flavor, resulting in a lackluster flavor or even a “starchy” taste. Anything above 2.25% begins to lend an overly salty taste and detracts from flavor. Alternatively, a little sweetness might improve your crust’s taste. I recommend a sugar level at 3.5% or higher. Five percent sugar provides a noticeable sweetness to the finished crust. But the use of sugar comes at a price, since it will have a significant influence on how the crust color develops during baking. You will need to adjust the baking time and temperature downward when adding or increasing sugar levels to your dough formulation. You can also try adding dried herbs to the dough; basil, oregano and parsley are commonly used. Onion and garlic can also help, but either of these can produce a dough that is overly soft and extensible. Unless you want increased

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extensibility, be sure to keep the total weight of either or both of these ingredients below 0.15% of the total flour weight. Finally, you can try an old trick that I’ve used countless times with success: adding a dry, inactive sourdough. These are known as dry white or dry rye sours. Since they’re inactive products, they are added only as a source of flavoring and provide a distinctive tartness or fermentationlike flavor to the finished crust. The amount to use will vary according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, but, for the most part, I’ve found that benchmarking at half of the manufacturer’s minimum recommended level is a good starting point. Remember, we are not necessarily looking for a predominant tartness in the taste; instead, we are looking for a hint of tartness that will excite the taste buds and thus improve the customer’s perception of the flavor without actually changing the crust or the flavor itself.

Tom Lehmann was the longtime director of bakery assistance for the American Institute of Baking (AIB) and is now a pizza industry consultant. T H E DOU GH DOCT OR@H OT MAIL .COM


5-year Parts & Labor Warranty

“We are most concerned about what comes out of the end of the oven�


T H E T H I N K TA N K

SHOULD AN OWNER OF TWO FROZEN YOGURT SHOPS DELVE INTO THE PIZZA BUSINESS? This entrepreneur has come across an opportunity that looks like a no-brainer, but Think Tankers aren’t so sure. Gary LeMaster: I have zero experience in the pizza business, but I have owned a two-location frozen yogurt shop. I’ve got an opportunity to lease a space that has housed a continually operating pizza joint for 12 years. I can lease the space and all of the equipment for $1,000 a month. This is a small town of 25,000 people, with three “cheap” chains, one overpriced chain and one high-priced but high-quality chain. Since I own two other businesses, my presence in the restaurant would be limited to 15 to 20 hours per week. The pizza shop that previously operated in this space was doing $250,000 a year as a carryout-only place. I’ve got the right person to run it. My research suggests that I should easily break even, and making a profit right out of the gate seems likely. What am I missing? Tell me why I shouldn’t go for it! Clownhair: Even if you’re paying $1,000 for rent and equipment,

I think it would be superhard to make a decent income off $250,000 a year in sales. It’s possible to turn things around and increase revenue, of course, but, in my experience, businesses that aren’t doing well never seem to get better, even with ownership and management changes.

Piedad: My first impression is that, with lease and equipment costs at $1,000 per month, it would be hard to fail. You should probably hire a lawyer, and make sure the deal is in writing and includes an exhibit listing every piece of equipment and furnishing in the space. Also include a statement certifying that there is no debt or lien against the restaurant. Since you will have limited time to develop your business, offer sales volume and profitability incentives for your operations manager. Mike: What will you do if your manager quits? In my opinion,

you have to be willing and able to run the store on your own. With sales of $250,000 a year, I wouldn’t expect to make more than $35,000 to $40,000 per year, although your margins will go up if you can increase volume. My recommendation is, don’t do it unless you want to be an owner/operator for a few years. You really have to enjoy this business. I’m not sure about the frozen yogurt business, but I have a gelato business, and pizza is a lot more labor-intensive!

Get answers to your most perplexing problems and swap tips and ideas with the experts in PMQ’s Think Tank, the pizza industry’s oldest and most popular online forum. Register for free at thinktank.pmq.com. (Member posts have been edited here for clarity.) T H IN KTAN K.P MQ .C O M

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MONEYMAKERS

BAD LOVE TASTES SO GOOD The Tsundere pizza from Domino’s Japan wants to have a love-hate relationship with you. Inspired by a Japanese term for a person who masks warm, romantic feelings by appearing cold or even hostile toward a love interest, tsundere is an archetype that’s well-known to anime fanatics. Now it’s also a scorcher of a pizza that’s loaded with enough jalapeños to melt your intestines and a creamy cheese coating that somehow keeps the flavor “nice and mild,” according to Domino’s Japan. Once you get past the triple-jalapeño layer, the pie also features pepperoni, Italian sausage and onions. In other words, there’s a lot to love here, but, as with any true romance, you’ll have to work for it.

Domino’s Japan knows you can’t ignore the popularity of anime culture, no matter how weird it gets.

QUICK TIP 1

BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOLS Set aside a night each month to support local school fundraisers. Make sure to provide the schools with promotional materials, such as flyers, menus or stickers, that encourage parents to order your pizza that night. Donate a percentage of that night’s sales back to the school.

OUT WITH THE BOSS When the boss asks a Saint Giuseppe’s Pizza employee to join him for dinner, it can only mean one thing—but it’s nothing to worry about. Joe Schilling, owner of the popular East Moline, Illinois, eatery, takes staff members out for a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) at a local restaurant to get to know them better—and shares what he learned with his pizzeria’s social media audience. He launched “Out With the Boss” in mid-September, and his first Facebook post—which featured team member Jake Scott—earned more than 280 reactions, 34 comments and eight shares. Schilling praised Scott’s work ethic in the post while disclosing fun facts, such as Scott’s first celebrity crush (Natalie Portman) and Schilling’s own crush on Jennifer Aniston.

Joe Schilling (left) became better acquainted with employee Jake Scott over a meal at Jimmy’s Pancake House.

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MONEYMAKERS Katie Collier turned fast-food roast beef into an artisanal masterpiece with her Lion’s Choice King Beef Pizza.

A TALE OF KINGS AND QUEENS Folks in St. Louis already think Lion’s Choice is the king of beef (roast beef sandwiches, that is), but pizzaiola and pasta queen Katie Collier really gave them something to growl about this fall: a limited-time specialty pizza topped with the fast-food chain’s famous slowroasted shaved beef. Collier, owner of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria, earned media attention with the offering, which also featured shaved stracchino cheese, caramelized cipollini onions, roasted garlic and fresh arugula, plus a horseradish-sauce finish. “It was such a fun exercise to play around in the kitchen and find a dish that showcases both our [foods],” Collier said in a press release. The special ran October 1 through 3 at Collier’s two restaurants in Rock Hill and Clayton, Missouri.

QUICK TIP 2

DAYS TO REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER Thanksgiving isn’t the only holiday in November. November 5 is National Redhead Day, so develop a special giveaway or discount for carrottopped customers. Other fun holidays this month include Singles Day (November 11), World Kindness Day (November 13), National Princess Day (November 18) and Universal Children’s Day (November 20).

A DAY FOR THE GIRLS Daughters finally got their due with National Daughters Day (September 25) this year, and Mici Handcrafted Italian, with locations throughout Colorado, celebrated it in true Italian-family style. With the purchase of an adult entree, Mici, owned by the Miceli family, treated the girls to free, good-for-you Bambini meals, with options such as a kid-sized cheese, pepperoni or veggie pie or penne pasta with three choices of sauce, plus a side of grapes or grape tomatoes, organic milk and a small gelato. The kids also got a free ball of pizza dough to play with while they waited. Elliot Schiffer, CEO of Mici Handcrafted Italian, brought his little girl, Susanna, to work in celebration of National Daughters Day on September 25.

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Call Center capabilities for one to thousands of locations! Maintain control, and get the calls off the front counters. For a small chain all you need is a large office at one location. Cut labor hours up to 50% and/or shift labor to lower cost regions while increasing average ticket. Eliminate the constantly ringing phones at the front counters! Tight integration allows calls to overflow to stores, so you can choose when to staff the call center. The same tight integration, same detailed reports and call recordings in your hands, same ability to overflow back to the stores, but you let some one else hire and manage the staff. We can provide this service to you or work with your existing call center provider. Best for a chain with a simple menu, “A.I.” virtual call centers can flip on and off as needed. By day of week/time of day, by call load, by manual control from your phones.

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EYE ON THE CHAINS

CAN ROB LYNCH TURN PAPA JOHN’S AROUND? Rob Lynch worked miracles at underdog fast-food chain Arby’s when he came on board in 2013. Can he do the same for Papa John’s? The pizza company hired Lynch as its new CEO in August after Steve Ritchie, who replaced ousted founder John Schnatter, struggled for a year and a half to turn sales around. Lynch, who graduated from chief marketing officer to president of Arby’s in just two years, is viewed as a turnaround expert. He was the brains behind Arby’s “We Have the Meats” campaign and led the chain to 16 quarters of same-store sales growth as president. Meanwhile, Papa John’s has worked to turn its flagging sales around with several initiatives, including investing an additional $80 million to help franchises with marketing and cutting their royalties and foodservice pricing.

PIEOLOGY PUSHES LOYALTY APP IN OCTOBER Fast-casual chain Pieology, headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, pushed fans to its new Pie Life Rewards app during National Pizza Month with the Scan, Score and More Sweepstakes promotion. To enter, customers had to download the app, sign up, and check in at a local Pieology store. Every location offered a grand prize of free pizza for a year, plus instant wins every day that included tickets to local movie theaters and Six Flags theme parks. Throughout the monthlong promo, Pie Life Rewards members earned between 10 and 100 reward points every time they checked in at a participating Pieology location. Pieology used a free-pizza sweepstakes promo to build up membership in its loyalty program, Pie Life Rewards, during National Pizza Month.

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EYE ON THE CHAINS

WILL DOMINO’S GO DOWN IN A “BLAZE” OF GLORY? It’s a David-and-Goliath story set in a modern-day pizza shop: Rick Wetzel, co-founder of fast-casual up-and-comer Blaze Pizza, says he’s gunning for Domino’s, the No. 1 pizza chain in the country. And Pizza Hut and Papa John’s had better watch out, too. “I’m chomping at the bit,” Wetzel told Restaurant Business’ podcast, A Deeper Dive, in late August. “I’m ready to go head-to-head. I’m ready.” He confirmed his plan in early September, telling Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, “We are ready to take on Domino’s, yes.” Headquartered in Pasadena, California, Blaze has more than 300 restaurants in 42 states and five countries, with sales at around $326 million in 2018. That’s chump change compared to Domino’s gigantic footprint, with $3.4 billion in sales at more than 15,000 stores around the globe. But research firm Technomic hailed Blaze as “the fastest-growing restaurant chain ever” in 2017, and NBA superstar LeBron James is a key investor. Wetzel also seems to have the people on his side. A large-scale consumer study by Market Force Information earlier this year found that Blaze is America’s favorite quickservice pizza chain, easily besting Domino’s (No. 4), Papa John’s (No. 5) and Pizza Hut (No. 6). (Papa Murphy’s came in at a close No. 2, followed by Marco’s Pizza at No. 3.) Part of Wetzel’s strategy to overtake Domino’s involves smaller or rural markets with lower-income populations. All in all, Blaze reportedly plans to open 50 restaurants by the end of this year. Originally focused on creating dine-in experiences, the company has added larger family-sized pies to the menu, incorporated mobile ordering, and partnered with DoorDash and Postmates for delivery. “We’re leaning in hard,” Wetzel told Restaurant Business. “I think there is a huge opportunity to go at Domino’s in particular, [whose] core benefit is convenience, not quality of food. I think there are a lot of people out there who care about fresher, healthier, more artisanal food. And I think we’re going to be real successful in that. We’re gonna go right at ’em. And I’m thrilled to do it.” Once predominantly a dine-in concept, Blaze Pizza now offers delivery through DoorDash and Postmates and has LeBron James as a celebrity investor. 22 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


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ITAN WAY Trained pizzaioli make it look easy, but this classic pizza style follows strict rules to ensure both quality and a true old-world experience. BY BILL DEJOURNETT | PHOTOS COURTESY SPACCA NAPOLI

Naples, a coastal Mediterranean city of almost 1 million residents, has been a center of architecture, music, religion and art for thousands of years. But we have one more thing that makes us grateful to Naples: traditional Neapolitan pizza. Characterized by a well-fermented dough and fast cook time in a superhot wood-fired oven, with minimal toppings and a slightly charred crust, this classic style of pizza making is zealously guarded by two organizations: the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) and the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani (APN). They make the rules for Neapolitan pizza—and those rules are pretty much written in stone.

NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

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Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Chicago offers customers a great al fresco experience during warm-weather months.

Although similar in their missions, these two organizations serve slightly different purposes, as Scott Wiener of New York-based Scott’s Pizza Tours explains. “APN is more about technique and certification for technique, and VPN is about product,” he says. “If you read the VPN literature and guidelines, it’s really specific ingredients and specific procedure. APN does not have guidelines like that. APN is more about training and technique. A pizzeria can be VPNcertified and have APN-certified pizzaioli. It’s not like the two are opposed to each other; they’re just taking different angles.” EARNING CERTIFICATION

Offered in Italy and the United States, APN certification can be bestowed only by one of the 10 board members of the APN. To become certified, pizza makers must attend an APN school to learn the correct methods, which center around how to make dough, tomato sauce and cheese; what equipment is used; how the dough is stretched and cooked; how to place ingredients on the pizza; and how to operate a wood-fired oven.

“A good starting point for Neapolitan pizza in the United States is around 2000, when it kicked off into hyperdrive.” — SCOTT WIENER The VPN, meanwhile, takes into account certain specific criteria for certifying an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. These include: a wood-fired oven that heats to 900° to 1,000°F; a mixer that imitates the action of hand-forming while mixing the dough; dough that incorporates just four ingredients— flour, salt, yeast and water—and meets strict standards for proofing, cook time and stretching techniques; and fresh authentic-Italian ingredients, including tomatoes, fior di latte or bufala mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil. “What the pizzerias do is to demonstrate that they can follow the rules,” says Donato Rumi, VPN’s marketing and

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promotion director. “First, we require certain equipment. The most important is an approved mixer. They must submit some documentation, mainly videos, and we check the way they are preparing and fermenting the dough, the way they are cutting and forming the dough balls, and most importantly, the way they bake the pizza in respect with the regulations.” Following this initial process, any errors are corrected, and VPN then sends the restaurant’s application to its headquarters in Naples, where other errors may be corrected, and a formal response is formulated. Jonathan Goldsmith, padrone at Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Chicago, recalls what the certification process was like for him. “It was enjoyable,” he says. “I believe I sent VPN Americas’ president Pepe Miele a video to see if our establishment fit the guidelines, such as the wood-burning oven and the mixer, and I took a video of myself making dough in the mixer. Then we arranged for him to come visit...I remember being in the dough room together, doing a mix, and then we went upstairs, and I was extending dough, baking it, and then we ate, and that was it. He did suggest one correction, that we not hold the dough in a closed container while it rests, because too much heat would generate, which wouldn’t necessarily be in the service of proper dough development.”

“I think it’s important that we are servants to the pizza—we represent the pizza. It’s the pizza that’s important—not the pizza maker. We’re lucky to be honored to work with pizza, but we’re not more important than it.” — JONATHAN GOLDSMITH In other words, earning VPN certification takes time. And once you’ve earned it, you still have to maintain it. Periodic visits by representatives of the organization ensure that their strict regulations continue to be followed. “All over the world, we have 600 certified pizzerias,” Rumi says. “In North America, we have 120. It is a select group. You can lose the membership….We periodically check the pizzerias to be sure that everything is done in accord with the regulations. This is the only way to keep your membership.”

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Authentic Neapolitan pizza only gained mass popularity in the United States around 2000.


SERVANTS TO THE PIZZA

While some of the earliest American pizzerias made pies that were inspired by Neapolitan pizza, they wouldn’t be technically classified as true Neapolitan by today’s standards. “The pictures we have of them look close, but, in all likelihood, they were not Neapolitan,” Wiener says. “VPN today would not have certified the earliest pizzerias in America, because the VPN wants you to use Italian ingredients. The earliest American pizzerias were not using Italian ingredients, besides probably tomatoes. Beyond that, it was American flour, American dairy products and American ovens, which were coal-fired ovens in the early days. That’s a totally different bake and texture from a woodfired oven.” Although it has been around for roughly 350 years, authentic Neapolitan pizza didn’t gain mass popularity in North America until the turn of the century. “A good starting point for Neapolitan pizza in the United States is around 2000, when it kicked off into hyperdrive,” Wiener says. “The first places that I remember doing it were La Pizza Fresca and Naples 45, both in New York. Both of those were VPNcertified. Also, Pizza Napolitano, which started off in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and Kesté in New York. Kesté was a big one—not because it was the first one, but because it was a ‘training academy’ for New York with the owner, Roberto Caporuscio. He was not only the owner of the restaurant but also did training and certification under the APN organization. He had a place in Pittsburgh for seven years, and then ended up in Manhattan, where he sparked a whole bunch of other Neapolitan-style places as well.” Although not commonplace, authentic Neapolitan pizzerias can now be found around the country and have sparked a legion of hungry, loyal fans. That’s in part because Neapolitan pizza makers care passionately about their craft, and it shows in their food. “I think it’s important that we are servants to the pizza—we represent the pizza,” Goldsmith says. “It’s the pizza that’s important—not the pizza maker. We’re lucky to be honored to work with pizza, but we’re not more important than it.” Spacca Napoli Pizzeria owner Jonathan Goldsmith takes great pride in his Neapolitan pizza craft.

Bill DeJournett is PMQ’s contributing editor.

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Building

YO UR

Instagram BRA ND

Michael Fitzick, a.k.a. the Pizza Jew, shares pointers for jump-starting your Instagram fan base and engaging followers. BY CALLIE DANIELS BRYANT | PHOTOS BY MICHAEL FITZICK

Social media is a fickle format—each post can feel like a scream into the void. But with thoughtful planning, genuine engagement and appealing content, pizzeria owners can use these digital marketing platforms to brand their restaurants—and even themselves. Just ask Michael Fitzick, the self-proclaimed “Pizza Jew” of Instagram.

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Fitzick, who calls himself a “pizzapreneur,” runs a small catering company and hosts pizza pop-ups throughout New Jersey. He also works as a freelance consultant—or, as he puts it, a “pizza missionary”—for pizzerias and bakeries. On top of all that, he has become something of an Instagram celebrity, thanks in no small part to his mouthwatering pizza photos. For an audience of more than 24,800 followers, Fitzick posts pictures of his latest culinary experiments, from hemp-infused pies and pumpkin pizzas to sourdough focaccia and a spelt/rye batard with candied pecans and honey. So why does he call himself the Pizza Jew? He’s not telling. “The origins of ‘Pizza Jew’ and the creation of my name are locked in a time capsule, dated to be opened in the year 2035 on my daughter’s birthday,” he says. “Only then will the secret origin of my handle be known.” FORGING CONNECTIONS

That kind of dry humor is part of Fitzick’s Instagram schtick—most of his posts feature some delicious-looking food item, a wisecrack or two, and the occasional expletive. He launched the account in 2015 and began by simply posting pictures of his original creations, from pizzas to cooked tuna. Persistence paid off as his recipes became more wildly creative and his follower base grew. A quick glance at his Instagram page today is like looking at a menu from a James Beard Award winner, complete with mouthwatering photos and descriptions of artisanal ingredients that might include honey radicchio, brandied onions or duck confit. Yet Fitzick isn’t a classically trained pizzaiolo. “I started in the industry as a delivery guy at Manco & Manco Pizza in Ocean City, New Jersey, when I was a teenager,” he says. “During a shift, I had razzed a pizzaiolo all day about how redundant his job was. After [I kept telling him], ‘I could do this job, dude,’ and ‘That looks so easy, man,’ the pizzaiolo handed me an apron and said something along the lines of ‘Let’s do this.’” Now a freelance pizza maker living on the beach in Margate, New Jersey, Fitzick hosts pop-ups in secret locations around the state and appears in pizza making videos for U.K. oven manufacturer Gozney. But wherever he may roam, his fans can always find him on Instagram, posting pretty much every day and showing off his pies, sourdough breads and more. 34 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


So what’s Fitzick’s advice to pizza restaurateurs looking to build an Instagram following for their brands? “I would initially focus on using local hashtags, such as the city the pizzeria is based in, and engage with [other] local shops and personalities,” he says. “It’s a great idea to collaborate with local socialites with similar interests as well. You can usually make it a win-win for both parties, especially local chefs that don’t feature pizza on their normal menus.” Connecting with local followers—and potential customers—is essential, he notes. “You need to get people out of their house and give them a reason to come to you. I would suggest using just one [restaurant] account to reach customers, but spreading the word using your personal account can be advantageous as well.” PICTURE PERFECT

Appetizing pictures help draw in the crowds, too, of course. Snapping Instagram-worthy food pictures requires more than a simple point-and-shoot approach, but it can be done even with a cell phone. “Taking photos of pizza is actually kind of tricky,” Fitzick says. “First thing, you need naturally filtered light through a window or a lightly shaded area. Direct sunlight won’t work. The angle of the shot is important, too. If you’re taking an overhead shot of a round or square pie, you’re going to want to angle the camera— or phone, in my case—perfectly over the pizza. If your angle is off, the pizza will look distorted and confusing to the eye.” He says he typically takes multiple shots of a single pizza “so I can sort out the winners...later on. A lot of these shots aren’t [from] technically planned photo shoots, so the organic nature adds some natural validity to the way they’re shot. I take a lot of photos, too. Choosing from a large assortment of pictures is tedious but usually yields the best results.” For many YouTube pizza fans, Fitzick is a familiar face, appearing in numerous pizza making videos for Gozney. He says video is another great marketing tool for establishing authenticity and attracting crowds to your pizzeria. “But be wary,” he says. “Good videos are hard to make. I’m not into setting up a video shoot and making a huge thing about it. I prefer letting videos happen naturally in the spur of the moment. The best videos and stories should feel organic and unforced. “It’s always cool to see impromptu stories of back-of-house operations, too,” he adds. “I love seeing different equipment running and all the techniques involved in the final executions. Alternatively, there’s nothing more boring than a staged pizza procession featuring a tired pizzaiolo reading off cue cards, telling me what to like and to subscribe. Don’t do that.” NEW IS GOOD

Cultivating a social media presence is a fun challenge that can drive more traffic to your restaurant. But posting pictures of the same old cheese pizza won’t cut it. The pizzeria, like the posts, must appeal to customers with outside-the-box specialty pies to go along with the classics. “Technically, nothing is off-limits now,” Fitzick says. 36 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


“However, even with that being said, things are still getting played out. You see the same stuff all over, over and over! Pizzaioli [should be] constantly looking for the next big thing. The new recipes are what keep things interesting—not only for the consumer but for the pizzaiolo as well. We get bored. After so many Margheritas, the mind grows weary and searches for different outlets of creativity.” But creativity shouldn’t be forced, he adds. “The worst thing you could do is sit down and say, ‘I’m going to make a cool new pizza today, and it’s going to bang.’ You’ve already set yourself up for failure. The best way to come up with new ideas is to remain perceptive when you’re not around pizza. Keep an open mind when eating other foods. See what other people eat, and filter everything. Don’t be a sponge—don’t suck up everything you see and dump it on a pizza. It probably hasn’t been on a pizza before because it doesn’t work. Filter your flavors. Take a handful of this and that and then eat it together. Tastes like crap? Move on. Don’t go far for inspiration, either. Most of the time, a pizzeria is filled with [existing ingredients] just waiting to be sliced or sautéed and put on a pizza [in unexpected ways].” Callie Daniels Bryant is PMQ’s associate editor.

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SISTER ACT In the male-dominated pizza industry, these two sisters are doin’ it for themselves with V&M Bistro—and at a level many restaurateurs can only dream of. BY RICK HYNUM | PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS BY JESSIELYN PALUMBO (MAKEUP BY LIZ MARTIN AND HAIR BY LYNDA ROSS)

Vincenza and Margherita Carrieri-Russo grew up in a third-generation pizza family, but the multitalented sisters could have pursued any career, from dancing, acting and modeling to master sommelier or running a nonprofit. Amazingly, they chose all of the above— without ever leaving the restaurant business. How they find time to run V&M Bistro in Wilmington, Delaware, is Not long after founding V&M Bistro in 2014, owners Margherita (left) and Vincenza CarrieriRusso were singled out for their accomplishments in Delaware Today’s “Women in Business” list.

anyone’s guess, but judging by the statewide accolades and awards they’ve received since opening the ItalianAmerican restaurant in 2014, this is one sister act that can outperform the men on any culinary stage.

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Margherita and Vincenza credit much of their success as restaurateurs to their father, veteran pizzaiolo Vincenzo Carrieri-Russo, who also serves as executive chef at V&M Bistro.

“You could describe V&M as a trendy yet relaxed dining experience with custom cocktails and New York-style atmosphere. The chic ambience is equal to any New York or Los Angeles hotspot.” — VINCENZA CARRIERI-RUSSO, V&M BISTRO Women-owned restaurants certainly aren’t easy to find—sisterowned pizzerias are rarer still. But behind much of Vincenza and Margherita’s success is a man, and they’re the first to say so. In fact, they’d rather talk about their dad, longtime pizzaiolo Vincenzo Carrieri-Russo Sr., than themselves. “Our father is our mentor, our confidante,” Vincenza says. “He has shown us the way and guided us through it all because of his knowledge of the business...He didn’t teach us how to be pizza girls. He taught us how to be women in business, how to be business owners and be good at it and to be efficient.” Still, Vincenza and Margherita run the show now, and they’re succeeding at a level many restaurateurs—and small business owners in general—can only dream of. A DYNAMIC TEAM

Pizza fans across the East Coast have known the CarrieriRusso name for more than half a century. Italo Carrieri-Russo, grandfather to Vincenza and Margherita, opened his first pizzeria in Long Island in 1961. His wife, Enza, soon joined him in the business, and Vincenzo Sr. and his two brothers jumped on board a couple of years later. “Around 1974, they took the business to the next level,” Vincenza recalls. “They started opening pizzeria after pizzeria in malls around

Philadelphia and the tristate area. That’s where it all began.” Vincenza, Margherita and their brothers, Italo and Vincenzo Jr., practically grew up in the family’s best-known store, Zino Pizza, which thrived for more than 30 years in Newark, Delaware. “Dad was there every single day, all day long,” Vincenza says. “To see him, we had to visit him at the pizzeria. As soon as we were of age, we started working there.” Along with their mother, Giovanna, the Carrieri-Russo patriarch emphasized a strong work ethic, but he valued book smarts, too. “He felt getting your education and college degree was very, very important, and along the way we learned every part of the pizza business while we were going to school,” Vincenza says. Both sisters earned their degrees from the University of Delaware—Margherita in organizational and community leadership and Vincenza in English with a concentration in literary studies. Meanwhile, Vincenza also made her mark in the pageant world as Miss Delaware USA in 2008 and Elite Miss Earth United States in 2015, among other titles. As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, in 2002 she co-founded Success Won’t Wait, a nonprofit focused on literacy, and became the first Delawarean to win the National Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for community service in 2005.

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VMBISTRO.COM

Vincenza’s pageant success opened other doors, from runway, print and catalog modeling to acting in commercials for brands like Mercedes Benz and Fiat. But she says nothing beats collaborating with her sister, Margherita, so teaming up to open V&M Bistro five years ago was pretty much inevitable. “Even before V&M existed or was a thought, we always worked well together, whether it was school or community service projects, pageants or events,” Vincenza says. “We know how to play off our strengths and weaknesses and balance each other out. We’re a dynamic team, the perfect pair, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.” A FAMILY AFFAIR

V&M Bistro was a hit from the start and began racking up “best of ” awards as early as 2015, when the editors of Delaware Today named it the best Italian restaurant in Upstate Delaware. The eatery has continued to collect honors from Delaware Today, including Best Cocktail Selection in 2016, Best Pasta in 2017 and Best Contemporary Italian Cuisine in 2018. It has also won numerous Diner’s Choice Awards from OpenTable. The sisters are quick to spread around the credit for their restaurant’s success. Although owned by Vincenza and Margherita, V&M Bistro is entirely a Carrieri-Russo enterprise, with dad Vincenzo running the kitchen as executive chef and the brothers filling in as needed—Vincenzo Jr. in the kitchen and Italo in the front of the house. “Our mother, Giovanna, is the glue that keeps us all together,” Vincenza says. “It’s like a family affair. We are the public faces of V&M, but we always say it takes a village.” V&M is a dinner-only restaurant most of the year, although it also opens for lunch during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. “We wanted to focus on where we thrive, which is dinner,” Vincenza says. In addition to their famous 10” pizzettes (one size only), all pastas and breads for the menu are made fresh in-house daily. “It’s very labor-intensive, but that’s another thing that sets us apart from everyone else,” Vincenza adds. “This is something our father always references—cooking like Grandma. I think of Nonna cooking in the kitchen. Those are the best dinners and the best experiences.” THE COCKTAIL QUEEN VMBISTRO.COM

V&M Bistro is famous for its signature cocktails, especially the Limoncello Iced Martini.

And V&M is all about creating a dining experience rather than just serving a meal and quickly turning tables. Along with its gourmet dishes, like the lasagna-style Timballo, the Gnocchi Bolognese and the Nodino di Maiale, the bistro has earned statewide fame for its stunningly appointed and beautifully lit bar, wine wall and drink menu. While Vincenza focuses largely on front-of-the-house operations and marketing, Margherita reigns

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“We just hosted a wedding rehearsal dinner with a beach theme. [The client] gave me the colors they wanted, and I customized table cards and a menu to fit the theme, with all these special little touches, and the bride and groom had no idea it was coming.”

VIA FA CE BOOK

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— MARGHERITA CARRIERI-RUSSO as V&M’s cocktail queen and presides over its popular happy hours and Wine Flight Wednesdays. “We have signature cocktails that change throughout the year,” Margherita says. “I have to be prepared for each new season and stay on top of what’s new and hot.” Pairing your pizzette or entrée with the right wine is essential to the V&M experience, and Margherita is there to help. “The best choice is not always an Italian wine,” Margherita points out. “It’s also beautiful to have a French wine or an Argentinian or South African wine.” Meanwhile, her team of trained mixologists pour signature drinks like the Limoncello Ice Martini, featuring housemade limoncello, two scoops of housemade lemon ice and a lemon wheel garnish. And that’s just one of the many options that makes martini connoisseurs covet a seat at the V&M bar; customers can also chill out with a Cherry-cello Ice Martini, a Caramel Apple Martini or, just in time for fall weather, a Pumpkin Spice Martini. “Delaware is saturated with pizzerias, so it was very important that we evolve with the changing times to set ourselves apart from everyone else,” Vincenza says. “It was important to introduce the bar and the signature cocktails...and to provide our customers with a different dining experience. You could describe V&M as a trendy yet relaxed dining experience with custom cocktails and New York-style atmosphere. The chic ambience is equal to any New York or Los Angeles hotspot.”

Vincenza Carrieri-Russo co-founded the literacy nonprofit Success Can’t Wait when she was still in high school.

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TAILORING THE GUEST EXPERIENCE

It’s also the kind of date-night hotspot where couples fall in love, so it frequently plays host to wedding rehearsal dinners and other catered events. Margherita, an accomplished baker, even designs signature cakes and helps lovebirds plan their special nights down to the most exacting details. “Right now, I’m working with a young man who’s celebrating his oneyear anniversary with his girlfriend,” she says. “He made the reservation two months ago because he wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I’m working on a customized label for a bottle of wine for them, flowers on the table, and a special menu just for them. It’s all being customized just for his girlfriend—without letting her know so that it’s a beautiful surprise. I love these moments and delivering that one-of-a-kind dinner or luncheon experience.” “We just hosted a wedding rehearsal dinner with a beach theme,” Margherita adds. “[The client] gave me the colors they wanted, and I customized table cards and a menu to fit the theme, with all these special little touches, and the bride and

“It’s not easy being a female leader, especially in this male-dominated industry. We’ve gotta fight. We’ve gotta work a lot harder. But we’re breaking down those barriers, and we’re doing it together.” — VINCENZA CARRIERI-RUSSO

MARKETING THE V&M EXPERIENCE

Vincenza and Margherita Carrieri-Russo, owners of V&M Bistro in Wilmington, Delaware, grew up in pizza kitchens and know all the culinary ins and outs. But they also shine as restaurant and event marketers. Here are some of their top strategies for building the V&M brand: • Wine Flight Wednesdays—Guests can discover new wines and enjoy half-priced pizzettes every Wednesday night. “We provide information on cards about each wine, the region, vintage, type of grapes and pairing suggestions,” Margherita says. “It gives me the opportunity to select wines from the menu that we don’t serve by the glass. And it gives customers a chance to try something they’ve never had before, beyond the standard Chianti, Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir.” • Create a customer newsletter—“Everybody has a device in their hand now, whether it’s a smartphone, an iPad or a laptop,” Vincenza says. “It’s very important to connect with them through email and keep them up to date on our seasonal cocktails, new dishes, specials and upcoming events.” • Stay active on social media—Vincenza works closely with her social media manager and emphasizes consistency and authenticity. She personally shoots most photos of the bistro’s dishes and avoids excessive editing and manipulation of the images. “A balance between realistic and professional images is important,” she says. “It’s OK if the photo has a little glare in it because it’s authentic and real.” Restaurateurs who work with social media managers should keep one thing in mind, she adds. “I’m the expert in the restaurant industry, not my social media manager.” • Remember the hashtags—Before V&M opened, Vincenza claimed the #VMBistro hashtag. “It’s on the menu, on every post, every picture, every T-shirt, every pen,” she says. “It’s easy to remember a hashtag. Click that hashtag, and you’ll see thousands of posts from the past five years—not just by us but by our patrons, even people from out of town. It’s really important to establish that from the beginning.”

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groom had no idea it was coming. I love dealing with these details—that’s the last thing [the customer] should have to worry about. You are entrusting me with that, and I will gladly do it for you.” In fact, a major advantage of offering 10” pizzettes is that they can be easily customized for the individual guest, Vincenza observes. “We created a vegan pizza just for one customer—all veggies, no cheese—and it was out of this world. This was a regular who didn’t even realize we could do that for them. Out of all the daily operations of this restaurant, changing the toppings on a pizza is probably the easiest thing we do, and to customize a pizza for an individual makes their dining experience so much better.” That kind of personalized service is a hallmark feature of V&M Bistro, which is why Vincenza— who handles most of the staff recruitment and training responsibilities—looks for a specific type of employee. “We always hire based on personality and attitude, not experience,” she says. “You can teach someone how to make pizza, but you can’t teach personality, attitude and work ethic. If they have a great resume and pizza knowledge, that’s good, but how will this person work in a team setting?”

Vincenza Carrieri-Russo focuses primarily on front-of-house operations and employee recruitment and training. (Below) V&M Bistro’s bar is beautifully lit, adding to the restaurant’s elegant ambience.

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BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS

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Of course, it’s not easy to gauge a potential employee’s work ethic, but Vincenza has figured that out, too. “Whenever I interview for a new hire, I always ask them if they volunteer,” she says. As lifelong high-performers, Vincenza and Margherita have been giving back to their community since they were youngsters. Vincenza, who struggled with reading comprehension as a child, was 18 when she co-founded Success Won’t Wait, which encourages reading and collects and distributes books for children who otherwise might not have access to them. It’s another project that involves the entire Carrieri-Russo clan plus a host of volunteers. They organize used book drives throughout the Mid-Atlantic region


Margherita Carrieri-Russo oversees V&M Bistro’s bar operations and special events.

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and manage a network of book-drop locations at businesses, retailers, churches, schools and civic associations. Baskets of donated books are then redistributed to locations where children frequently have to sit and bide their time, such as waiting rooms and lobbies. The nonprofit has also created small independent libraries at a facility for pregnant teens, a learning center for kids with special needs, and a children’s hospice. Additionally, V&M Bistro raises funds for the Lupus Foundation of America (Vincenza has lupus) and holds an annual Christmas event that honors the city’s first responders. “Around the holidays, the fire department makes a guest appearance in a fire truck decorated with lights and brings Santa to the restaurant,” Vincenza says. “They hand out safety materials and take pictures with guests. The customers love it.” And Vincenza and Margherita love their customers. They’ve always got stories to tell about their guests. “I truly love meeting them,” Margherita says. “I recently had a conversation about a customer’s niece who just got her dream job. I remember when she turned 21 at our bar, and now she’s in L.A., learning all these new things. Our patrons and their families become a part of our family, and I truly enjoy learning all about them.” But ask Vincenza and Margherita what they love most about their jobs, and they point to each other. “What I love most is that I get to work with my sister—as well as my father and my whole family—every day,” Vincenza says. “My sister is the best business partner I could ever have. It’s so rewarding. We click when we work together.” “I would have to say ditto because there’s nothing I can add to that,” Margherita says, with a laugh. “It’s not easy being a female leader, especially in this male-dominated industry,” Vincenza continues. “We’ve gotta fight. We’ve gotta work a lot harder. But we’re breaking down those barriers, and we’re doing it together. And we’re both very proud of that.” Rick Hynum is PMQ’s editor-in-chief.

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BRIN Today’s hot bags feature better construction and extra touches to keep food warm (or cold) from pizzeria to doorstep.

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NG HEAT t h e

BY TRACY MORIN

Hot bags have come a long way from their homemade early days, with improvements big and small over the decades. Here, we share some key features to keep in mind when purchasing or upgrading your bag collection and explain how to ensure they’re performing at peak level over the long haul.

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HOT BAG • • • • • • • •

Fabrics that keep moisture out Insulation (on all six sides) that keeps heat in Stain-resistant fabric Sturdy handles Sizes that accurately fit your pizzas and sides Durability Cost and value Branding and customization options

GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME

For both catering and delivery, many of today’s bags feature better insulation to meet demand for piping-hot, nonsoggy pies from pizzeria owners and customers alike. The exteriors are breathable, allowing moisture to escape, while layers of insulation make sure the bag retains heat. White- or silverlined, leak-proof bags are also available for sauces or anything that might spill, and silver-lined bags can be used for cold items, such as salads, as well. Additionally, hot bags’ handles, stitching and closures have improved over the years, making them more durable. But proper insulation is a must to keep foods hot for up to 45 minutes or more. Some manufacturers offer bags with 5”-thick compressed insulation, which keeps the bags from puffing up. Nylon interior lining lets steam escape while retaining heat so pizzas don’t get soggy. HEATING UP

Some bags include a heating element that’s charged beforehand to maintain hot food temperatures during the drive—technology that has also improved over the years. Though heated options are pricier, operators can rely on them to maintain temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, depending

on bag size and outdoor conditions. More durable heating elements promise better longevity, allowing for longer warranties (up to two years), while wiring harnesses are sturdier to prevent cords from kinking or breaking. Some manufacturers utilize PTC technology—chips or wafers that, upon receiving an electric current, will reach a certain temperature and stay there, without the need for fuses to control the temperature. Aluminum heaters also help spread the heat. QUALITY ASSURANCE

Experts recommend asking manufacturers for commercialgrade bags to suss out higher quality and better performance. Check out the thickness of the insulation to gauge the quality. Other useful features include outside pockets, although these will be more expensive. If you want a high-quality bag, expect to spend $50 to $60 per bag, and look for ½” thickness, with a semi-rigid foam to improve longevity and hold shape better over time. Also ensure that your bags offer flexibility to hold the various items you deliver. Bags can be purchased in standard and custom sizes. Standard sizes include 2-16”, 3-16”, 3-18” and 2-20”. However, these bags should be flexible and able

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HOT BAG MANUFACTURERS DIRECTORY ÷ Bag Solutions 866-224-8646, pizzajacket.com ÷ Delivery Bags USA 888-501-2247, deliverybagsusa.com ÷ Incredible Bag 844-545-9675, incrediblebag.com ÷ National Marketing, Inc. 734-266-2222, nminc.com ÷ Perfect Crust 800-783-5343, perfectcrust.com ÷ RediHeat 888-556-2024, rediheat.com ÷ Versaflex 440-327-2333, www.versa-flex.com

to hold other sizes. Though wings and pizzas can be placed in the same bag, you’ll want to separate hot items from cold items, stocking dedicated bags for each. And to help prevent loss and promote your brand, you can consider personalizing your bags via heat transfer (a less expensive method) or traditional embroidery.

and more. Whatever you choose, start small and determine which sizes are right for your operation. Even your style of pizza can determine what bags will fit best in your operation. A thick Chicago-style pizza might not require a self-heated bag, while a crackercrust pie probably will.

KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

With regular cleaning and proper care, you can keep using your hot bags for years. Experts recommend wiping your hot bags down each night or at the end of a shift. If grease seeps through the box to the interior of the bag, make sure to wipe the spill within two hours—the longer the spilled grease remains, the harder it will be to clean. Some bags do come with replaceable liners, but for those that don’t, experts

Each pizzeria will have different needs when it comes to hot bags, but a good rule of thumb is to begin with two bags for each delivery driver, plus a couple of high-quantity bags that can hold six to 10 boxes. You may also need different bags for events—for example, 10-pie bags for large catering orders or school lunches. Fortunately, catering bags are often versatile, ideal for wings, pasta, entrees

KEEPING IT CLEAN

recommend simply washing them with soap and water at least once every six months, if not more often. Just fill the sink with warm water and a mild disinfectant/detergent and scrub each bag down inside and out, then hang overnight to dry. Machine-washable bags are also available; these will typically air-dry in 30 to 60 minutes, so no dryer is required. One final thought: If you don’t currently offer delivery at all, you might want to reconsider. Forbes notes that the online food delivery business is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2025. Many believe delivery is the future of the pizza industry. Make sure your bags—and therefore the food you deliver to customers’ doorsteps—aren’t leaving you behind! Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor.

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Art Antipasto the

of

Titillate your customers’ appetites with the flavors and hues of this traditional Italian first course. FROM THE CAMERA OF DAVID FISCHER

Antipasto (“before the meal” in Italian) is a wide-open category that lets the imagination run wild. Featuring rolled or layered meats, sliced veggies, wedges of cheese, fruits and fresh herbs, antipasto could be a meal in itself, but its real function is to whet the customer’s appetite without filling up the belly. With possibilities ranging from roasted peppers, marinated anchovies and sautéed zucchini to mini-meatballs, spinach and cheese fritters and Parmesan-stuffed mushrooms, you’re free to stick with tradition, get wildly experimental or do a little bit of both. Here, we share tips for creating your own antipasto masterpieces along with beautiful photos by renowned pizza industry photographer David Fischer. Mangia!

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TIP! Offer a variety of cheeses, both firm and soft. Think Pecorino, sharp blue, goat cheese, Havarti, mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Gruyère, Gouda, feta and Dutch Edam.

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TIP! High-quality extra-virgin olive oil is a must-have. Brush it on breads before toasting, use it to marinate or preserve veggies, or drizzle it on pretty much anything and everything. For bruschetta with maximum flavor, rub toasted bread with halved garlic cloves after baking.

IDEA: RECIPE ith s in a pan w e v li o n e re g Heat ic, chopped garl ly e n fi y, le rs pa da d pepper an e a pinch of re or white win d re f o n o o p tables s e vinegar ha th l ti n u r a g vine olives Remove the . d te ra o p a v e the adcrumbs to and add bre ss venly, then to pan. Toast e bs. e breadcrum th h it w s e v oli

Antipasto is at least 50% presentation. Color, design and plating are all essential elements of an antipasto course that opens the senses and rouses the palate for the main course to come. TIP! Slice meats thinly. You want to stimulate your customers’ appetites, not encourage them to gorge before the pizza arrives. Possibilities include salami, prosciutto, mortadella, soppressata and capicola.

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TIP! Combine savory cheeses and meats with melons, such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit in ball shapes.

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RECIPE IDEA: Fry quartered baby artichokes in hot olive oil until browned and crisp. Drain, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley.

TIP! For a more avant-garde approach to antipasto, create a salad with nectarine slices, tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil.

Pair a white wine (such as a sauvignon blanc or Pinot Grigio) with artichoke hearts to tone down the latter’s sweetness. A Cabernet Franc pairs nicely with green olives, while a Pinot Noir makes a delicious match with Kalamata olives.

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RECIPE IDEA: Heat garlic cloves in extravirgin oil. Let cool, then add to diced tomatoes, sliced basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. Toss and let marinate for 30 minutes. Spoon on toasted baguette.

Melon and prosciutto form a classic sweet-and-salty combo. Try pairing prosciutto with honeydew, pineapple, pears or peaches as well.

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Pasta Mania! Pizzaiolo/pasta master Massimo Mannino shares pointers for boosting your bottom line by incorporating pasta—both fresh and dry—into your menu. BY BRIAN HERNANDEZ

If there’s one type of food that’s synonymous with Italian cuisine, it’s pasta. From spaghetti to fettuccine to cheese-stuffed ravioli, pasta is as old-world as you can get. The types and shapes number in the hundreds, and it can be served with a dizzyingly vast array of sauces and regional variations.


Fresh, handmade pasta is always on the menu at Nino’s Cucina Italiana in Greenville, North Carolina.

ANGEL ITA MANNINO

For some pointers to get you on the path to serving delicious, cost-effective pasta dishes that will raise your bottom line, we turned to Massimo Mannino of Nino’s Cucina Italiana in Greenville, North Carolina. With his practiced hand and years of experience, Mannino has won numerous awards, including the Pasta Challenge at the 2018 Northeast Pizza & Pasta Expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He makes his own dry and fresh pastas in-house for dishes such as Pappardelle Primavera and Spaghetti Pescatore. We asked Mannino to share some

PMQ: Would you recommend adding pasta to a pizzeria menu? Mannino: I would definitely recommend that. When people buy pizza, they usually will buy pasta. I listened to the customers and what they were looking for. I remember working in New York. A customer called and said, “You got fettuccine Alfredo?” Then others would call asking for the same. Now we have it [on the menu]. From there, it was the same for other styles. It partially depended on customer demand and on what we wanted to add.

“The time and labor involved with making fresh pasta every day can be too much for an operation that is not solely focused on pasta. I would recommend offering one fresh pasta and getting a high-quality dried pasta from your distributor.” — MASSIMO MANNINO, NINO’S CUCINA ITALIANA of his recipes, impart his knowledge of pasta—including the question of fresh vs. dry pasta—and offer tips on incorporating it into a pizzeria menu. PMQ: How did you get started in the restaurant industry and with pasta in particular? Massimo Mannino: I started in the industry at Marabella’s in Sunnyside, Queens, New York, working for my father-in-law. It opened in 1984. I began making fresh pasta about 10 years ago. We started making it little by little in the restaurant, and people started liking it. Eventually, it got so popular I couldn’t keep up making it by hand, so I had to get a little machine. When we opened Nino’s, we made sure to have pasta on the menu right away.

PMQ: If someone does add pasta to their menu, should they make it in-house or purchase it from a distributor? Mannino: Obviously, fresh pasta’s flavor is amazing. But do I recommend a beginner doing an entirely fresh-pasta menu? Not really. Maybe one or two fresh items. The time and labor involved with making fresh pasta every day can be too much for an operation that is not solely focused on pasta. I would recommend offering one fresh pasta and getting a high-quality dried pasta from your distributor. But it definitely pays to do at least one freshly made pasta for your menu. You can even change the style of pasta day to day or week to week. It helps to create a buzz around your operation.

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“I recommend getting a pasta machine if you want to do multiple pastas. You don’t want the dough to dry out too much, and the machine will help you flatten and cut the pastas quicker.” — MASSIMO MANNINO, NINO’S CUCINA ITALIANA PMQ: Obviously, I couldn’t take a pizza dough ball from my shop and use it to make fresh linguine, right? Mannino: No. I use an 80-20 blend of fancy durum and semolina flours for my spaghetti or dried pastas. I use a 50-50 blend of semolina and “00” flour and eggs for my fresh pasta. Pasta is definitely a different recipe than bread or pizza dough. Pasta can’t be made with just your everyday pizza dough. It takes a lot of mixing, rolling and care to make a good pasta dough. I recommend getting a pasta machine if you want to do multiple pastas. You don’t want the dough to dry out too much, and the machine will help you flatten and cut the pastas quicker. But I still start [the process] by hand; it just imparts that old-world touch.

PMQ: What is the shelf life of a housemade pasta, and how do you store it? Mannino: I would say the shelf life is at least two weeks refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag. [Making a large batch] helps with costs, but after that first day, you are obviously moving further away from fresh and closer to dried. PMQ: What are the best toppings, garnishes or finishers for pasta? Mannino: I like Parmigiano to finish it off. No matter what the dish, that always brings the flavor. I also love basil, but that depends on the sauce. I am moving more and more into using microgreens as well.

DRY PASTA DOUGH (SPAGHETTI) Courtesy of Massimo Mannino Ingredients: 2 c. fancy durum or “00” flour ½ c. semolina flour 1¼ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1¼ tsp. salt 2-3 c. water (add as needed)

Directions: Make a well in the center of the flour, and add 1 c. of water, olive oil and salt to the middle. Begin to mix by gradually adding the flour to the water in the middle and whisking with a fork. Keep adding flour, and eventually a dough will form. Knead the pasta dough until it’s elastic. Add a little water if it’s too dry or sprinkle more flour if it’s too sticky. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes. You’re looking for a smooth and elastic consistency, which will develop the longer you knead the dough. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rest for around 30 minutes. After the dough has rested, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is very thin and in a rectangular shape. You can cut the dough in half and work in batches. Once you’re done and the dough is very thin, run through your pasta cutter for spaghetti. Sprinkle with some flour to prevent sticking together. Let the noodles dry on a rack for 20 minutes for best performance. Store unwrapped in a sealed plastic container pierced with a few holes; elevate humidity with a damp paper towel on the bottom of the container. ANGELITA MANNINO

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PMQ: Is there a good profit margin in pasta? Mannino: There is. It’s harder to make that margin if you make all your own pasta because of labor costs and time spent making it, cleaning your equipment, and packaging or storing the pasta, but it can be done. You can purchase good-quality dried pastas and turn a good profit. But when I make my fresh pasta and the customer comes back for more—that’s why I do it, and that turns into profit, too. You must do it well, but nothing beats the flavor of fresh. PMQ: Just for the beginner, what are the three best pasta dishes to start with? Mannino: Alfredo pasta is the highest in demand. I would also put a lasagna on there—you can make a large tray of it and portion into individual servings as ordered. The last one would be an eggplant Parmesan. In my experience, these are the top three dishes that customers ask for. PMQ: What types of pasta making tools do you recommend for those who are just starting out? Mannino: Two hands, a table and a rolling pin! Start it by hand. Eventually, if the sales pick up, definitely get a pasta machine,

If demand for fresh pasta is high enough in your restaurant, you might want to look into buying a pasta machine with attachments.

which is basically a dough press. You can also get attachments for that machine to cut your different pasta types—some crimpers for bowtie or stamps to make ravioli. For ravioli, make a big sheet of thinned pasta dough. Put your stuffing on, then add another thin sheet on top. Then you get a ravioli stamp and cut the stuffed raviolis out. PMQ: Sauce is typically the star of the dish. What do you recommend for a beginner? Mannino: Again, Alfredo is No. 1. Second is a good red sauce— from scratch is always best, in my heart, but whatever works in your budget. After that, you can start trying out vodka sauces and others. PMQ: When marketing a pasta dish that’s new on your menu, do you recommend offering deals? Mannino: I think pasta will sell itself. If it has its own section on your menu above the pizzas and below the salads, people will see it and order it. You could offer a pasta dish with a large pizza at the beginning, but I don’t recommend that. Just see how it works putting it on the menu first.


PMQ: Speaking of marketing, tell me about your Parmesan Bowl. That sounds like something that markets itself! Mannino: We do that at Nino’s. Basically, it’s a 50-pound wheel of Parmesan, cut in half and hollowed out in the center [into two bowls made of cheese]. We toss the fettuccine in the bowl with some grated Parmesan and olive oil, and it creates its own Alfredo sauce. This is the original Italian Alfredo sauce. We serve [individual portions of] the pasta from the cheese bowl—the customer never actually touches the bowl. You can clean the bowl with water and scrape it to make it fresh a few times before it’s used up. You’ll probably get about a week’s use

out of it, but it can be used several times a night and pays for itself. It can be priced as a table dish or appetizer for everyone to try. It sells itself when people see it being wheeled to a table, tossed and served! To learn more about pasta styles and infusions of flavors such as pumpkin and spinach, watch Brian’s full interview with Massimo Mannino at PMQ.com/mannino or catch the podcast at PizzaRadio on iTunes. Brian Hernandez is PMQ’s test chef and coordinator of the U.S. Pizza Team.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA Courtesy of Massimo Mannino

Ingredients: 1 lb. dry or fresh spaghetti 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 4 oz. pancetta or guanciale, cubed or cut into strips 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 large egg yolks 1 egg, sunny-side up (optional, for garnish) 1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish Freshly ground black pepper Sea salt 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. (Start cooking the spaghetti before you make the sauce so the pasta will be hot when you add the egg/cheese mixture. The hot pasta will cook the raw eggs in the sauce.) Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the pancetta and sauté until it’s crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the garlic into the fat and sauté until light-golden in color. Meanwhile, beat two eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano together in a bowl and set aside. Drain the pasta and reserve ½ c. of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the deep skillet and toss to coat the pasta with the pancetta fat. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta. Mix quickly until the eggs thicken. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce until you get the consistency you like. Season the carbonara with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Serve with chopped parsley and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can also garnish with the fried sunnyside up egg. ANGELITA MANNINO

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WARM UP YOUR RESTAURANT PATIO WITH PREMIUM QUALITY


SOFO FOODS SIGNATURE SHOWCASE

BEST SHOW O

The annual events drew more than 2,000 restaurant industry professionals and spotlighted some of the region’s oldest pizzerias and restaurants. More than 2,000 industry professionals, from large restaurateurs to small chain owners, turned out for this year’s Sofo Foods Signature Showcase event, held at the Renaissance Hotel on Sunday, April 28, in Toledo, Ohio. Two hundred vendors, including national and international brands, displayed the latest and greatest equipment, online ordering systems and food products the industry has to offer. Family-owned and operated for more than 70 years, Sofo is one of the largest distributors of ethnic foods in the United States. The company delivers to restaurants and pizzerias in more than 22 states and has 500-plus dedicated team members. At this year’s Signature Showcase event, Sofo’s Innovation Stage spotlighted five-time world pizza champion Brittany Saxton of Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio; Steffano Zengar of Lena’s Kitchen in Blissfield, Michigan; world-renowned chef Pasquale Cozzolino, author of The Pizza Diet; and Michael Shepherd, founder of PerfectingPizza.com, a pizzeria consulting company.

Sofo also honored its customers that have been in business for 25 or 50 years, some of which will be inducted into PMQ’s Pizza Hall of Fame. Additionally, the event featured the U.S. Pizza Team’s Spring Acrobatic Trials competition, which was aired live on ESPN3. Claiming first place was Tara Hattan of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She dazzled the audience with her three-minute routine that included a big finish in which she leapt on top of the prep table to spin her doughs. The performance earned Hattan a chance to compete on the international stage at the European Pizza & Pasta Show this month in London. Hattan wasn’t the only big winner at the Sofo event. Todd Rose of Rose Bros. Pizza, located in Hamilton, Indiana, won a shiny new Vespa scooter in a raffle for the event! “The Sofo Foods Signature Showcase has evolved into a can’t-miss event for the pizza restaurant industry,” says PMQ publisher Steve Green. “We are excited to be a part of it each year and look forward to watching it grow in the years to come.”

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Tara Hattan (above) won the U.S. Pizza Team’s Spring Acrobatic Trials at the Sofo event, while Jamie Culliton and Daniel Lee Perea (right) called the action during ESPN3’s live airing of the competition.

LINDA’S PICKS

STAFF PICKS

—Linda Green, Co-Publisher LA NOVA WINGS

Joe Todaro III, founder of La Nova Wings, has been exhibiting at this event from the start. “Sofo Foods was one of the first distributors that La Nova Wings had back in 1994,” he says. “I remember getting a phone call from Dennis Summerford on a Tuesday asking to be in the show on that Sunday. So, I packed up my ovens and wings and haven’t missed one since!” We still love La Nova’s line of chicken wings and sauces. From the barbeque and oven-roasted flavors to the Italian-style and Hot-n-Spicy, they’ve got something for everyone. lanova.com BELLISSIMO

Delicious and convenient, Bellissimo’s frozen dough balls have a truly authentic flavor, thanks to their excellent ingredients, and are available in a variety of unique flavors. The dough balls are made to order, ensuring freshness and allowing the product to last longer on the pizzeria owners’ shelves. They use a secret combination of time and temperature to create the perfect frozen dough ball that’s perfect for any bread, pizza, calzone and more. 734-946-7878, customerservice@mamalarosa.com MINUTEMAN PRESS

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with the folks at Minuteman Press International, which was the official printer of Sofo Foods. “We really loved attending the annual show and getting to meet everyone in person,” they told me. “The more time we spend getting to know our foodservice clients, the more we learn what we can do to help them.” Everyone has been raving about their new designer, who has been creating some amazing menus for restaurant clients. minutemanpress.com

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CHRIS’S PICKS

STAFF PICKS

—Chris Green, PizzaTV Reporter

PACKAGING & PADS-R-US

I was very impressed with how long Packaging & Pads-R-US has been saving pizzas. For almost 30 years, they’ve retained the integrity of pizza. The pizza you make in your pizza shop is usually not the same pizza when it gets to the customer’s house. For about a nickel a pie, you can keep your pie warmer, crust crisper and moisture out of the box with Packaging & Pads-R-US. pandprus.com

STELLA’S GOURMET

After sampling some of Stella’s Gourmet’s products, it was apparent they had developed a few tried-and-true simple classics that not only taste great but that are commercially viable for the pizza industry. Quickly heat and serve the chocolate chip pizza cookie, pizza brownie and s’mores pizza cookie, and you’ve got a fresh-out-of-the oven taste in a matter of seconds. If you haven’t had a dessert option for your pizzeria, you do now! stellasgourmet.com

S&D COFFEE & TEA

It’s not uncommon for show attendees to flock to the coffee booth. Like most, I made my way to S&D Coffee and Tea’s booth, and I was happy I did. S&D has been behind most of the coffee you’ve had in your favorite restaurant for years, partnering with more than 110,000 customers. Their single-serve private-label solutions could be the answer for getting customized coffee into the hands of your pizza customers. sdcoffeetea.com

PIERINO FROZEN FOODS

I was intrigued to find out about the rich history that Pierino Frozen Foods has sustained over 50 years. From humble beginnings in the 1960s, they were the early pioneers of precooked ravioli, cutting the prep time in half, and have since gone on to create 100 SKUs from their 30,000-square-foot facility. Happy 50 years to Pierino Frozen Foods! pierinofrozenfoods.com

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SPONSORED CONTENT

IDEA ZONE

EccoX: A Revolutionary New Pizza Tray Insert Developed after more than three years of research, EccoX offers a solution to your soggy crust problems. This revolutionary new, eco-friendly pizza carton insert sits under the pie and isolates it from its oils and juices while preventing the pizza carton base from capturing all its heat. This means your takeout pizza arrives on your customer’s plate oven-fresh, earning loyal repeat customers and differentiating your store from the competition. Manufactured in North America, EccoX is made from food-grade cup stock paperboard and is coated with a food-grade oil and moisture barrier. Here are the main questions to consider: 1. How does EccoX solve the issue of soggy crusts in a take-out pizza box? EccoX elevates the pizza off of the bottom of the carton, separating the crust from the base and allowing air to flow underneath. This keeps the pizza hotter longer and reduces the effect of trapped steam within the carton. 2. How does an eco- friendly product like EccoX still hold its form under weight and moisture? EccoX is made with expanded cup stock paperboard coated with an FDA-approved oil and moisture barrier. The expanding process adds additional loft to the paper, helping to elevate the pizza crust from the oil and grease.

3. How does EccoX differentiate itself from the competition? In an ever more crowded marketplace, quality differentiation is becoming more and more important to stay ahead of the competition. EccoX’s expansion process elevates the pizza away from the carton, unlike its competitors, whose trays allow the pizza to remain in contact with the entire tray surface. This revolutionary new-to-market product has three main marketing targets. Firstly, a fast-growing, progressive pizza chain that wants to differentiate its quality in an increasingly competitive market. As everyone knows, there is a strong trend in the pizza industry industry to get away from major chains and move towards higher quality and innovation. Secondly, enterprising pizza carton manufacturers could use this product as a quality upsell with their core carton business. The two products could be delivered at the same time, increasing revenue and making for an efficient delivery system. Thirdly, a large pizza food distributor could add these trays to its paper product offering within its whole assortment. To learn more about EccoX, visit the company’s website at www.eccox.net.

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UNLOCK NEW GROWTH WITH UBER EATS SMART MARKET

SPONSORED CONTENT

Are you ready to upgrade your delivery program? Uber Eats can take you to the next level, offering flexible delivery solutions that work with your restaurant, not against it, and potentially expanding your brand’s reach to thousands of new customers in your area. The demand for delivery is rising among all age groups. Thirty-nine percent of consumers ages 25 to 40 say they plan to order more delivery meals, while 37% of the 41 to 52 age group say the same. Eighty-six percent of all consumers use offpremise food services at least once a month, and restaurant-specific food delivery is projected to rise 77% between 2017 and 2022.* So why partner with Uber Eats for your pizza delivery? Uber surpassed 100 million monthly active platform consumers, and now those customers use Uber Eats to get the food they want, when they want it. Uber Eats has more than 320,000 restaurant partners in 500-plus cities globally. And partnering with Uber Eats exposes your pizzeria to thousands of users who are searching for pizza in your area, many of whom have never eaten your pizza before. Uber Eats also gives any restaurant the flexibility to use its own delivery staff instead of Uber Eats delivery partners. This means a lower marketplace fee, which can boost your bottom line. It also lets you control the delivery equipment, branding, drop-off experience and the customer’s delivery fee, all while enjoying the same exposure through Uber and Uber Eats platforms. Uber Eats’ Restaurant Manager software lets you create your own measurable marketing campaigns with customized offers. It also provides delivery analytics, sales insights and customer feedback so you can track your success. And Uber Eats offers flexible POS solutions to ensure efficient workflow within your existing system. For a limited time only, restaurants can join Uber Eats and pay $0 activation fee** for the tools they need to start taking orders. Sign up now and start reaching more customers through delivery. Uber Eats invests in its restaurant partners, because they know they can succeed if you succeed. Sign up today to become a partner at ubereats.com/restaurant/signup.  *Source: Restaurant Business Online **For a limited time only, subject to change. Expires 12/31/19.

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Join Uber Eats today, pay $0 Limited-time offer: Waive the $350 activation fee when you sign up today! Sign up at ubereats.com/restaurants.

Offer expires 12/31/19 and subject to change pursuant to the terms of the Uber Eats restaurant agreement.


ITALFORNI HELPS REINVENT C-STORE PIZZA SMART MARKET

SPONSORED CONTENT

Pizza isn’t hard to find in a convenience store—high-quality pizza is a different matter altogether. But Dave Carpenter, president/CEO of J.D. Carpenter Companies, is working to change that with help from oven manufacturer Italforni USA. Carpenter’s company has partnered with 7-Eleven, Inc., to create a new type of convenience store—called 7 Eats—that makes its pizzas in-house and serves both whole pies and slices, along with other food items such as empanadas and soups. Located in Denver, the 7 Eats store uses Italforni’s TS Series stone-deck conveyor ovens to quickly produce delicious whole pies in under 2½ minutes or reheat slices in 45 seconds. Carpenter has been working in the C-store business for decades, but the industry is changing in response to consumer demands. “Millennials and younger generations are definitely eating on the go,” Carpenter says. “They’re much more about multi-daypart snacking and eating. But they want it quickly, they want it to be super-high-quality, and they care about ingredients.” When he first explored the idea of a C-store with its own pizza oven, he knew he would need a stone-deck oven to achieve a high-quality bake. But he worried that C-store employees would struggle to master the baking process, and high turnover in the industry meant new employees would constantly have to be trained. So his discovery of Italforni’s stone-deck conveyor oven was a game-changer. “It’s a big deal for our industry,” Carpenter says. “From a consistency standpoint, it has been phenomenal for us. It moves the slices through in the amount of time and at the temperature we needed, and the stone deck gives it that great crispy bottom.” The 7 Eats concept, Carpenter says, is “about taking our stores to a whole new level. It starts with a phenomenal product. I want our pizza to be as good as—if not better than—the pizzeria’s down the street. We’ve never been able to do that before, due partly to the difficulty of execution. Using Italforni ovens in our stores makes a huge difference. “As far as the quality of our pizza, the response from our customers has been really, really positive,” Carpenter adds. “It’s not unusual for them to order a slice and then come back an hour later and buy a whole pie. They’re surprised that we can provide such a high-quality pizza at a 7-Eleven store.” To learn more about Italforni’s TS Series, visit italforniusa.com.

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HOW TO WIN AT ONLINE ORDERING AND DELIVERY SMART MARKET

SPONSORED CONTENT

Third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub and others are taking the market by storm. But using them comes at a cost, to the tune of 20% to 30% in fees and commissions, which cuts into restaurants’ margins, says Larry Fiel, director of marketing for PDQ POS, an all-in-one, all-in-house point-of-sale technology solutions provider in Warminster, Pennsylvania. “It’s no surprise that restaurants have gravitated to the delivery revenue stream,” Fiel says. “The problem is that the stream flows more toward the delivery providers.” PDQ POS circumvents that margin loss with its PDQ OO, a native, built-in online ordering platform that can be used standalone or with any third-party service. “We’ve been ‘trained’ to think of online ordering/delivery as our primary method of obtaining food,” Fiel says. “Accordingly, restaurants have been ‘promised’ new growth via an expanded customer base. But are they really obtaining a breadth of new customers—or is their existing base simply shifting to online vs. in-store? Either way, restaurants need to play in this space in order to remain relevant.” Fiel recommends using the PDQ Online Ordering platform right from the restaurant’s website. “When a customer orders from an online delivery platform, reach out and ask them to order directly from your website the next time and entice them with loyalty program incentives,” he says. “You’ll still get the eyeballs and traffic from the third-party site, but you’ll train customers to reorder from your PDQ OO platform, where your cost is measured in a few dollars a day total rather than 20% to 30% of each order.” SEAMLESS INTEGRATION PDQ POS provides built-in, seamless integration and interfaces with all toptier platforms, including online ordering, loyalty, labor/scheduling, inventory and payroll. It also provides the project management necessary to make it all work. This minimizes cost, time and effort, as PDQ POS does all the “heavy lifting.” And PDQ POS assumes all the accountability for the restaurateur if a problem arises in any one technology component. EXPERIENCE COUNTS PDQ POS has been perfecting its innovative ordering and delivery software for over 32 years. “We began operations in the most demanding restaurant concept, namely pizza,” Fiel says. “There’s every possible way to order, including phone-in, delivery, at-counter, at-table and online, and myriad ways to have your pizza prepared. If you can master the art of ordering and delivering pizza, you can tackle any restaurant concept and delivery nuance.” To learn more, visit PDQpos.com and PDQoo.com today.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

PATRA’S ECO-DINNERWARE

No trees are cut to make Patra’s Eco-Dinnerware. The products are made from fallen leaves, and Patra uses 100% renewable resources. The dinnerware will naturally biodegrade within three to six weeks and can be composted in your backyard. Patra’s products come from the earth and go back to the earth, giving pizzeria owners an edge when promoting their sustainability efforts to consumers who care about the environment. PATRALIVING.COM

THE UHLMANN COMPANY

For more than three generations, the Uhlmann Company has been producing Heckers and Ceresota unbleached flours for the finest pizza restaurants in Chicago and New York City. Now they’ve introduced Ceresota Napoli “00” flour. Milled in Italy from the finest European and Italian soft wheat, it’s authentically Italian and designed to meet the needs of the most seasoned pizzaiolos. HECKERSCERESOTA.COM

NATIONAL MARKETING, INC.

National Marketing, Inc.’s Security Driver Drop Boxes can be used for delivery drivers’ cash and receipts or as security boxes for their personal belongings. Five doors can be locked individually or all secured at one time with a locking bar. Constructed of 22-gauge steel, these boxes can sit on a table or hang from a wall, and multiple units can be combined. Locks are sold separately. 800-994-4664, NMINC.COM

LAHMAR OLIVE OIL

Lahmar extra-virgin olive oil is cultivated from Lahmar’s own fields in Tunisia, North Africa. Lahmar Olive Oil provides traceability and consistency for its high-quality olive oils. With the American dollar trading at 1.33% CAD, the company notes, American pizzeria owners have 33% more buying power, reducing your costs and maximizing your profit margins. LAHMAROLIVEOIL.COM 

MENUWORKS

MenuWorks provides restaurant operators with menus that are innovative, creative in design and unique in construction. Their experts will guide your team through the creative process to ensure that your menu is a reflection of your brand while utilizing menu optimization to increase your sales. Let the MenuWorks team build your restaurant a better menu! MENUWORKS.COM

KLEENPAK

Kleenpak’s dispensing system for eating utensils is simple, reliable and ecologically friendly. The system provides a single clean, hygienic knife, fork or spoon to each customer when the white lever is pressed. The utensil doesn’t drop to a tray or fall to the counter; rather, it remains in place with the handle extended until the diner takes it in hand. Kleenpak offers both polystyrene and bio-compostable cutlery. KLEENPAK.COM

82 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY BULLETIN BOARD

NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

83


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

Now available, from the creator of the

THE BEST HAND for your business Increase Upselling Reduce Hang-Ups

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• Allows you to handle pizza with ease. • Eliminates the cardboard taste. • Absorbs grease and allows moisture to escape. • Ensures a crisper crust every time. • Keeps pizza 12-15 degrees warmer upon delivery.

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Visit the Tom Lehmann Dough Information Center for the answers to all your dough formulation questions. From baker’s percentages to water content to flavor-infused doughs, the Dough Doctor provides the info that will have you raking in the dough!

www.pmq.com/doughinformationcenter 84 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY BULLETIN BOARD

The “Original Steel” Detroit Style Pizza Pan is Back! 10” X 14”

8” X 10”

14” Round Teflon Coated Pan $12.00

Plastic Lids Available for Steel Pans

CALL FOR PRICE QUOTE ON OTHER STYLE PANS

P.A. PRODUCTS, Inc. BAKEWARE SPECIALISTS

(734) 421-1060 • tim@paprod.com

NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

85


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

ACCOUNTING

CHEESE SHAKER LIDS

BAKING STONES

COMPUTER SYSTEMS: POINT OF SALE

CHEESE

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Choosing a POS: right the first time speedlinesolutions.com/PizzaPOS

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Custom App $99 Monthly + 0% Commission imenutogo.com Online Mobile Ordering Solution (718) 554-0524 86 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE

COMPUTER SYSTEMS: POINT OF SALE

DESSERTS

Be Inspired. Be Creative. Be Original.

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Breakfast Pizza with Nutella®

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For more exciting recipes and tips about Nutella®, visit www.ferrerofoodservice.com or call (800) 408-1505 for more information.

DOUGH

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To locate a distributor near you, call 734-946-7878. DOUGH DIVIDERS/ROUNDERS, PRESSES/ROLLERS

DESSERTS

NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

87


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

DOUGH TRAYS/PROOFING TRAYS

FLOUR

The Original Dough Box

Traditional Flours, Pizza Mixes & Grain Innovations

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For more information or samples, contact us at ArdentMills.com or call 888-685-2534.

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FURNITURE/FIXTURES

A revolutionary ingredient changing the way people enjoy Italian cuisine

Heat your Restaurant with SUNPAK® Outdoor Patio Heaters

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88 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA

pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/


PIZZA INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE

GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCTS

INSURANCE

MAGNETS

W H O L E S O M E

&

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Ovens Mixers Prep Tables Walk-ins Parts Smallwares

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ALWAYS WITH YOU.

Come follow us, like us, and engage with us on these social media platforms!

NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

89


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

MARKETING IDEAS

MEAT TOPPINGS

MIXERS

Precision HD-60 Pizza Mixer 7-Year Unconditional Parts Warranty on all gears and shafts in the planetary and transmission!

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MEAT TOPPINGS

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90 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE

MOISTURE-ABSORBENT TOPPINGS CONDITIONER/SUPPLIES

ONLINE ORDERING

Grow Your Business with the power of online ordering More Orders. Starting Now.

SliceLife.com/JoinNow or (844) 880-2346 ON HOLD MARKETING/PHONE SERVICES

GET GOOGLE REVIEWS EASY AS A SLICE OF PIZZA

digitalgator.com

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PIZZA BOX LINERS

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Custom App $99 Monthly + 0% Commission imenutogo.com Online Mobile Ordering Solution (718) 554-0524 NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

91


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE PIZZA OVENS

PIZZA BOX LINERS

CONTROL THE

BEAST marraforni.com

inquiries@marraforni.com

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PIZZA DELIVERY THERMAL BAGS

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PIZZA OVENS

Stone Deck, Pizza Dome, and Bakery

www.univexcorp.com Tel. 800-258-6358 Fax. 603-893-1249

92 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE

PIZZA OVENS

PIZZA SUPPLIES

• Pizza Preparation and Delivery Products •

National Marketing, Inc.

www.nminc.com 800-994-4664

734-266-2222

Fax: 734-266-2121

Manufacturers’ Direct Pricing • Call or order online • We export

Increase food quality score & decrease food cost 1-855-278-3385 • info@hotrocksoven.com • www.hotrocksoven.com

WOOD STONE CORPORATION.........Stone Hearth & Specialty Commercial Cooking Equipment.................1801 W. Bakerview Rd......................Bellingham, WA 98226 TOLL Free 800-988-8103. HOTROCKS_PUB_3.5x2_E03.indd 1 Fax: 360-650-1166.....................woodstone-corp.com 2019-04-12

14:39

PIZZA PEELS

Know a pizzeria that’s over 50 years old and a pillar of the community?

Nominate them for inclusion into the Pizza Hall of Fame! Visit

www.PizzaHallofFame.com for more information.

pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/ NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

93


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

PIZZA DELIVERY THERMAL BAGS

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Order Manufacturer Direct Toll Free: 1-844-545-9675 or Online: www.incrediblebag.com SAUCE

Since 1915, The Neil Jones Food Company has been producing premium quality tomato and custom blend sauces. A family owned and operated corporation, we only pack from the freshest and finest vine-ripened California tomatoes. So whether you prefer classic #10 cans or new shelf-stable pouches, you will always get the very best in fresh packed tomato products from Neil Jones Food.

SCALES Commercial weighing scales for restaurants, catering, delis, and other retail markets.

Pizza@YamatoCorp.com 262-236-0000 94 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE

TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES/SERVICE

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pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/

Call 610-463-0508 or Visit themailshark.com/PMQ20 for FREE samples NOVEMBER 2019 | PMQ.COM

95


THE PIZZA EXCHANGE

TABLECLOTHS

Updating your dining room is easy with our easy-care vinyl table covers … always made to your specs. Fabrics are also available by the roll.

You Top the Pizza, We’ll Top the Tables!

• • • •

372 colors and 65 mix-and-match patterns Covers are custom made within 2-3 weeks Available with velcro, umbrella holes or elastic for a perfect fit. No minimums required

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96 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


PIZZA HALL OF FAME

(Clockwise from left) The original restaurant, opened in 1935, was named Lupo’s; Tommaso’s has been named as a legacy business by the city of San Francisco; an artist renders the pizzeria in the 1970s; a 1950s menu pictures founder Eduardo Cantalupo; the first wood-fired brick oven on the West Coast remains in operation today.

Has your pizzeria been in business for 50 years or longer? If so, contact us at tracy@pmq.com.

TOMMASO’S RISTORANTE ITALIANO Sporting an old-school work ethic and menu in tech-obsessed San Francisco, this North Beach institution seals its modern-day longevity by transporting diners to the past. By Tracy Morin Tommaso’s, a bona fide San Francisco legend, brought the West Coast its first wood-fired brick oven in 1935. And, nearly 85 years later, not much has changed. Some things, of course, have: The original owners, the Cantalupo family from Naples, called their enterprise Lupo’s—the first Italian spot in North Beach. Only when their Chinese longtime chef, Tommy Chin, bought the business in 1971 did it become Tommaso’s, after the Italian version of his name. But Chin realized he was more at home in the kitchen than running a business, and by 1973 he sought to sell. Enter Maria and “Gigi” Crotti, Italian immigrants who’d just arrived Stateside in 1970. “In Italy, my grandfather’s family made cheese, and here he worked as a janitor, as my grandmother raised children at home—but they had savings,” recounts Margi Ochoa, the couple’s granddaughter and manager of Tommaso’s. “It was the American dream: They saw an opportunity, and they worked hard. Very hard.” That dream has supported three generations: The Crottis’ kids, Agostino and Carmen, now own the restaurant, with Margi and her cousin, Giorgio, on board and ready to take the reins (though Margi knows they’ll “do it until they can’t anymore”). Agostino’s wife, Anna, has worked for years at the restaurant; the young fourth generation is poised for a life in Tommaso’s; and the company keeps employees for decades, with

shockingly low turnover. “We all chip in and do what we have to—we all wait tables here,” Margi says of the family. “We work very hard, and our employees work hard, so there’s a lot of respect between us.” Margi also marvels at the humble restaurant’s bevy of multigenerational regulars—one-time kids who now bring their kids and grandkids. “Being true to who we are keeps our customers coming back,” Margi explains. “Maybe we’re not innovating all the time, but this is our life. It’s a lot of responsibility, so make sure you love it! The times we’re tired or overworked, we remember one saying: ‘for the good of the family.’” Indeed, though Tomasso’s has made some small changes in recent years—finally accepting credit cards and dabbling in social media—it’s not only the original oven (which still fires every last pizza and entree) that remains intact; it’s an unflagging work ethic. And, for regulars and tourists alike that flock to the 60-capacity restaurant, that old-school, family-values flair hits a welcome nostalgic note. As historic mom-andpop businesses struggle to stay afloat amid the Bay Area’s evolution-inhyperdrive, Tommaso’s offers “an oasis,” Margi says, transporting guests to “what San Francisco used to be. People tell us how nice it is to come to a place where nothing has changed, when everything else has.” Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor.

98 PMQ PIZZA MAGAZINE | THE WORLD’S AUTHORITY ON PIZZA


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PMQ Pizza Magazine November 2019  

PMQ Pizza Magazine November 2019