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Pizzeria Uno’s lodge conversion program brings in lodge friends, localsPizza Market

Chicago-based Pizzeria Uno has begun a lodge conversion program that brings in each lodge friends and locals. It offers Uno extra recognition and brings that sturdy branding to lodges. Three models are open so far.

| by Mandy Wolf Detwiler — Managing Editor, Networld Media Group

This yr, Pizzeria Uno created a restaurant conversion technique by which the model turns present eating places in lodges into pizzerias. The result’s two-fold: Uno provides one other restaurant to their rely and will get the title recognition, and lodges get a widely known restaurant with signature pizzas that brings in additional than lodge friends. It brings in locals as properly.

Thus far, three lodge eating places have been transformed to Pizzeria Unos, in Schiller Park, Illinois, Indiana Dunes, Indiana, and Farmington Hills, Michigan. Each has seen a 100% to 200% improve in pre-conversion gross sales.

The model expects to have 10 extra open or beneath settlement by the tip of the yr. In all, Pizzeria Uno at present sits at 80 eating places, with 32 of these being company owned.

Pizza Market talked to Eric Frederick, CEO of Pizzeria Uno, and Chris Dellamarggio, head of selling for the Chicago-based model, in a telephone interview to study extra concerning the lodge conversion program and what Pizzeria Uno is bringing to the desk in lodges.

Q. What is the impetus behind the brand new restaurant conversion program?

Frederick: We needed to develop. The corporate hasn’t added a brand new home franchisee in over 10 years. Finally, the perfect technique entails fixing an issue for any individual else and doing one thing somewhat bit completely different than what the remaining is. We began to look and mentioned: “The excellent news is that everyone loves pizza. The unhealthy information is that nearly everybody has a pizza place they go to. … We began to consider lodges. They’re in hospitality. And if you consider a lodge, they watch all these takeout pizzas come throughout their door. Somebody has a lacrosse event they usually deliver all their children there they usually’re getting a ton of pizza from any individual else. Now (the lodges) get the income. As a result of Pizzeria Uno is a full-service restaurant, they have a full-service menu. It isn’t simply pizza. Lots of people know us for deep-dish however we have got skinny crust and Detroit-style, too. We promote hen, fish, steak, superb pasta dishes and appetizers, so we slot in properly with their clientele.


With Doordash and GrubHub, we have got a nationwide model, so we go up on these and now persons are getting takeout and supply (from lodge conversion eating places). With the primary three that (have been constructed), we have been pleasantly stunned — we have been getting lots of people from the local people coming in to eat. It is actually only a phenomenal income improve.

Q. Why lodges? What do they create to the pizza market in a section that is not at present stuffed?

Dellamarggio: For lodges that need to convert (their eating places), it is a number of income streams that they did not have beforehand.

Frederick: I might take a look at it as what do lodges deliver to their friends. It is a actually well-known pizza model. If you need pizza and also you’re out on the highway, you take a suggestion possibly from the individual on the entrance desk. Even then you definitely is likely to be in the course of nowhere. They’re bringing their friends not simply nice pizza however frankly our complete menu, which is extraordinarily sturdy. … You are giving your local people a special possibility, and an excellent possibility, for pizza.

Q. Pizzeria Uno is a nationwide model with places everywhere in the nation. How does this lodge conversion program strengthen the model’s shopper consciousness?

Frederick: With this, what’s nice for us is we have got a variety of white house as a result of we have got 80 eating places. Now, we’re predominantly up and down the East Coast, in addition to our Orlando eating places and clearly downtown Chicago … with that mentioned, individuals everywhere in the nation appear to know who we’re due to our heritage.

Q. What sort of lodge areas are you in search of?

Frederick: Ideally, what we’re in search of is it is received to be a lodge with a full-service restaurant, to allow them to supply all the menu in addition to make the pizza. Our candy spot is lodges which might be going beneath some form of a refresh or conversion, though it would not need to be that means. If you consider it, the conversion prices are pretty minimal. They’re utilizing our colour scheme, however they’ve already received their kitchen tools already set. … We’re not a lot targeted on the the place as we’re targeted on the who. As a result of we’re a small model and we’re rising, we’re frankly solely taking people who find themselves very enthusiastic about Uno they usually’re very enthusiastic about hospitality.

Another excuse why we’re pursuing hoteliers is though they’re hoteliers first and restaurateurs second, they essentially get hospitality. The excellent news for us is that you would be able to take a look at a lodge’s rankings, you may go to them and see how they deal with their friends, and in the event that they’re doing that proper they’re most likely going to serve our meals proper as properly. … Having good meals will solely get you to this point on this enterprise. Having the visitor half is equally vital.


Q. What are a number of the profitable income streams that come out of this restaurant conversion program?

Dellamarggio: If they’ve a earlier restaurant at their lodge that’s form of a generic themed restaurant, they’re just about solely going to see site visitors from people which might be on the lodge they usually haven’t got an choice to exit. They go down and sit on the restaurant. While you deliver within the Pizzeria Uno title, you herald an entire new set of friends. So for instance, you are going to have your lodge friends coming in and now they’ve a trusted model title that they’ll dine with. They will not be in search of options to exit of the lodge and eat.

You are additionally going to have a takeout pizza enterprise throughout the lodge you would not have had earlier than. Individuals are going to be ordering pizza and it’ll be coming within the entrance door and as much as their rooms. Now you’ve an opportunity to seize that pizza takeout enterprise, however from throughout the lodge.

You are additionally going to get the neighborhood supply enterprise which goes to be working a variety of occasions by way of the third-party supply apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. Now you’ve the model title of Pizzeria Uno on these platforms and individuals who dwell within the native neighborhoods and communities are going to have the ability to order by way of third events and get deep-dish pizza or our common pizza and now our Detroit-style pizza, doubtlessly.

On high of that, which has been a very huge a part of what we have seen with the couple conversions we have had already, is we’re getting people from the local people eating in on the restaurant the place they might by no means even take into consideration getting in to their native lodge restaurant on a Friday night time. Now we have develop into a vacation spot for them to go and dine out.

Moreover, now we have a longtime group gross sales program by way of Uno the place we work with tour teams who’re touring across the nation and we’re tapped in to these. They’re in search of dinner choices, so we’ll herald busloads of oldsters.

Mandy Wolf Detwiler is the managing editor at Networld Media Group and the positioning editor for and She has greater than 20 years’ expertise protecting meals, individuals and locations.
An award-winning print journalist, Mandy brings greater than 20 years’ expertise to Networld Media Group. She has spent practically 20 years protecting the pizza business, from unbiased pizzerias to multi-unit chains and each dimension enterprise in between. Mandy has been featured on the Meals Community and has received quite a few awards for her protection of the restaurant business. She has an insatiable urge for food for studying, and may inform you the place to seek out the perfect slices within the nation after spending 15 years touring and consuming pizza for a residing. 


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