There’s no shortage of restaurants out there that serve pizza. So for one to really thrive in this crowded market, it has to stand out. 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza is one such restaurant that does so by offering a unique style and ingredients.
You can read more about the restaurant and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Runs a chain of fast casual pizza franchise restaurants.
Founder Brian Petruzzi told Small Business Trends, “At 1000 Degrees, we serve personalized, made-to-order authentic Neapolitan pizza. The menu is filled with fresh, high-quality ingredients including artisan-made cheeses and imported meats.”
Unique ingredients and cooking process.
Petruzzi says, “I think there are three main things that make 1000 Degrees stand out in the crowded fast casual pizza industry:
1. Dough — Our authentic Neapolitan dough recipe dates back more than 100 years from the Campania region of Italy (Naples). Our authentic Neapolitan dough is made fresh daily and hand tossed using authentic Neapolitan flour and is mixed using an authentic fork-style mixer. We don’t use the dough hook style traditional mixer used in most pizzerias across the country. Our fork-style mixer is what creates the crispy, airy thin crust.
2. Sauce – Our San-Marzano and Cherry tomato-based sauces are delicious and the best sauces customers have ever tasted.
3. Oven – We use a hand-made, proprietary oven that cooks pizzas to perfection in about two minutes. Our hand tossed pizzas cook for about 120 seconds and are back to the customer just minutes after placing their order.”
How the Business Got Started
After multiple entrepreneurial ventures.
Petruzzi says, “I’ve always been an entrepreneur, even when I was young. At the age of 11, I ran a 300-house newspaper route and also started one of the first bulletin board phone systems in the neighborhood with my brother. At 19, I bought into a tanning salon franchise, which I grew into seven stores. Shortly after that, I started a movie rental chain and then a frozen yogurt franchise. All of this led me to the fast casual pizza space, which was always the plan. Growing up in an Italian family, I dreamt of opening a pizza restaurant just like my grandparents had.”
Breaking into an international market.
Petruzzi explains, “The biggest win we’ve had was the signing of the Malaysia contract. We’d been looking to potentially do an international deal in an emerging market so we could both set the tone within the market and introduce a legitimate and more authentic alternative to the few that had penetrated. I think that we’ve done that effectively.”
Petruzzi says, “The biggest risk we’ve taken so far was choosing the franchise model over either private equity or internal growth. The reason this is risky is because you give up the day-to-day operations to the individual owners, and they may not share the passion we have, and ultimately run their store in a way that is either inefficient, or improper. So far, the positives have outweighed the negatives. While we have had a few partners who were not as committed as they should have been, many understand now the type of work it takes to be successful in this business. Going forward we have honed our screening process to weed out the ones who we don’t think will be a good fit for the concept.”
Gathering at the community table.
Petruzzi says, “Everyone who works for our company has their own office, but we naturally congregate around the back community table. It makes it easier for all of us to stay connected, and we’re friends both inside and outside of these walls which makes the working relationship very unique. We even share a love of animals and have several animals in our offices.”
Favorite Office Food
Petruzzi says, “It’s an open canvas, so whatever you’re in the mood for can be satisfied with a pizza. Even within our concept we have a wide variety — you can get a classic Margherita or a Bacon Mac & Cheese pizza.”
‘Those who say it can’t be done shouldn’t get in the way of those doing it.’ – Unknown
* * * * *
Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program
Images: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza; Top Image: Founder Brian Petruzzi