Billy Manzo’s 10 Ideas for Pizzeria Advertising and Operations

Editor’s notice: This text initially appeared within the November 2016 challenge of PMQ Pizza Journal. We republish it right this moment as a result of it’s nonetheless chockful of excellent recommendation.

By Steve Inexperienced, PMQ Writer

A former tobacconist and brewer turned dough wholesaler and pizzaiolo, William “Billy” Manzo Jr. is aware of his manner round human style buds. And the recognition of Federal Hill Pizza in Warren, Rhode Island, displays his many years of expertise learning taste profiles, artisanal strategies, and the science and artwork of dough making. I paid a go to to Federal Hill lately, placing one other merchandise off the PMQ Bucket Listing. Manzo gave me full entry to the restaurant, shared his tales and techniques, plied me with wonderful meals, and even gave me a tour of his subsequent store, positioned in an outdated movie show in Windfall. Listed below are the ten most attention-grabbing issues I realized throughout my go to with Billy:


1. How you can rating free silverware.

When restaurant staffers toss soiled linens within the laundry bin, silverware usually will get thrown into the combo. That gave Manzo an concept. “I went to my linen firm and stated, ‘So the place do you retain your entire silverware?’” he says. “They checked out me like, ‘How do you know that?’ They introduced me to a room stuffed with about 700 kilos of forks, knives and silverware. I took as a lot as I may perform to my automotive. Now, yearly, I’m going again to my linen man and by no means should pay for knives, forks and spoons. In any other case, he’d simply scrap it, so I’m doing him a favor.”


2.  Electrical ovens lower your expenses.

Manzo believes electrical ovens are cheaper and energy- environment friendly than gasoline ovens. “I’ve saved a median of $426 a month by switching from gasoline to electrical,” he says. “Electrical energy is safer. It’s contained, and it’s a cleaner burn. It’s additionally simpler to wash and saves me a number of hours of cleansing work on the weekends. That provides up. Everybody ought to take the time to check the prices of working gasoline versus electrical.”

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William “Billy” Manzo says he saves a median of $426 a month utilizing electrical energy as an alternative of gasoline at Federal Hill Pizza. Manzo additionally touts the significance of getting a strong culinary basis and “promoting reminiscences” by making a pizza store with a “lived-in” look.


3.  A “lived-in look” beats shiny and new.

Though Federal Hill Pizza opened comparatively lately, in 2005, it has the comfy feel and appear of a a lot older place. “I grew up within the flea market business,” Manzo says. “My grandfather was the unique rag man. I’ve realized that, simply since you’ve acquired half one million {dollars} to spend doesn’t imply it’s a must to spend all of that cash to make your home look actually cool. When a chair is worn and beat-up, it has a character and a historical past. It has reminiscences. When you will have a little bit nicked-up copper bar, it speaks to you. If you’re outdoors my pizzeria and take a look at the place, you’re Grandma’s home. It creates these heat reminiscences. Should you can put your model ready the place you’re promoting reminiscences, it’s priceless.”


4. A strong culinary basis is a must have.

Should you’re searching for Neapolitan-style fried squid or Cambodian hen wings, Federal Hill Pizza is the place for you. Manzo has additionally experimented with so-called “rubbish pizza” in response to buyer demand. “My loyal clients had been pushing me to strive totally different meals,” he remembers. “I didn’t even like rubbish pizza, nevertheless it was a studying expertise for me. All of it comes right down to having a robust culinary basis. It’s about figuring out flavors, candy and bitter, savory, salt and pepper, and many others. We lastly created a white pizza with shredded cheese, added some Frank’s Unique Pink Scorching Sauce, our personal rendition of an Asian peanut sauce, a candy teriyaki, a Thai, then completed it with creamy Pecorino Romano and basil. It was a fully wonderful product, and we offered a ton of it.”


5.  Rethink youngsters menus.

“They usually have horrible meals—premade hen fingers, mac and cheese, filler meals simply to maintain the youngsters completely satisfied,” Manzo says. He prefers to supply smaller variations of some current menu objects at a cheaper price level. “Youngsters actually love meals, however it’s a must to current it in a manner that they are going to take pleasure in. They’re very visible, so give them one thing they are going to take pleasure in .” Federal Hill clients rave about Manzo’s rice balls, “however they’re big. You’ll be able to’t choose them up. They’re not cool for a child,” he notes. “So I made a decision to make them concerning the measurement of a golf ball. They’re two ounces, softly deep-fried with risotto, prosciutto and pancetta. The children get them organized as a result of they will choose them up and maintain them of their palms. Now we have dad and mom get them organized the evening earlier than, and children take them to highschool and eat them chilly. Not one child has ever stated he didn’t like them.”

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“Should you can put your model ready the place you’re promoting reminiscences, it’s priceless.”

—William Manzo, Federal Hill Pizza

6.  Let your character shine.

Manzo makes novel use of an outdoor chalkboard to seize the eye of passersby. “We’ve acquired 150,000 automobiles per week flying by my place,” he says. “You don’t should fill your chalkboard with totally different photographs to catch their eye. Psychologically, folks already anticipate that relating to advertising and promoting. I do the alternative. I’ll put a smiley face or only one phrase, like ‘politics’ or ‘rain’ with a frown. Individuals will name in or go on Fb and ask, ‘Why did you employ that phrase?’ Or they arrive in and say, ‘I needed to are available as a result of I noticed that smiley face.’ It will get folks speaking and exhibits them there’s a character behind the door.”


7.  Make your clients really feel validated.

“Being 52, I grew up within the period when house owners would stroll across the eating room of their fits, shaking palms with clients, figuring out everyone by title,” Manzo explains. “I realized within the cigar business {that a} hand on the shoulder, a little bit eye contact, figuring out any person’s drink—these little particulars make clients completely satisfied. After I’m within the restaurant, I’m going round and thank everybody within the eating room for coming in. Many occasions, I’ll seize my head pizza chef and say, ‘Get a clear apron on and let’s go into the eating room.’ There’s a plethora of knowledge coming out of your clients, and after they heat as much as you, they are going to train you. They’ll provide you with all of that analytical data. Every individual is a dictionary of likes and dislikes.”

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Manzo makes it a degree to stroll from desk to desk and speak to his clients about their likes and dislikes.


8.  Don’t be afraid to go underground.

McDonald’s U.Okay. final 12 months was so troubled by rumors it had a “secret menu” that the corporate went on Twitter to bust the parable. However Manzo has a secret menu that’s not so secret. “Shoppers who come right here on a regular basis know we’ve got a non-public menu and order off it,” he says. “It’s acquired 5 objects, together with an Italian eggplant egg roll, spicy rubbish wings, and a fried meatball with a chunk of smoked mozzarella within the center. When clients discover out concerning the menu, they really feel particular. They really feel cool. And so they unfold it round on Fb and different social media and assist us create a buzz.”

Common clients at Federal Hill Pizza know that Manzo presents an “underground menu” with 5 objects that don’t seem on the common menu.


9.  Flip down your TVs and activate closed-captions.

Rising up, Manzo knew many individuals with studying disabilities and different disadvantages. “I simply discovered it pure to decrease the quantity on our TVs and to all the time activate the closed captions. There are lots of folks with listening to issues on this space, and they’re so glad I do that. Quite a lot of dad and mom prefer it, too, as a result of they will use it to assist their youngsters study to learn whereas they’re within the restaurant. I get a whole lot of compliments about it. Individuals dig it.”


10. It’s all about chemistry.

Manzo has an analytical thoughts and likes to experiment, tinker and make new discoveries. He can speak to you about attaining the best pH steadiness and the way varied points of your water can have an effect on your remaining product. “I’m continuously adjusting my system,” he says. “Pizza is a residing organism. Should you don’t continuously watch your residing organism, you’re dropping out. Pizza is the simplest factor to make, nevertheless it’s one of many hardest issues on the earth to excellent.”

Steve Inexperienced is PMQ’s proprietor and writer.