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Sbarro Emerges from Bankruptcy and More Industry News

Sbarro Emerges from Bankruptcy and More Industry News

A roundup of this week’s food industry financial news

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy nearly three months ago, Sbarro LLC emerged with a plan to remove about 85 percent of its outstanding debt.

This week in industry news, Sbarro LLC emerged from potential bankruptcy with a plan to remove about 85 percent of its outstanding debt, Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc. experienced a 47.4-percent increase in revenue in its first earnings report as a public company, and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. raises the stakes again on Hillshire Brands Co. with a $7.7 billion bid.

Read on for more of this week's biggest financial news in the world of food.

Earnings

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc.: The company’s profit rose 21.3 percent in the first quarter.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc.: In its first earnings report as a public company, Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc. experienced a 47.4-percent increase in revenue for the first quarter.

Leadership Change

Così, Inc.: Stephen Edwards, executive chairman of Così, Inc., is stepping down after serving two terms in the position.

Mergers/Acquisitions

Hillshire Brands Co.: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. with a $7.7 billion bid in response to Tyson Foods, Inc.’s $6.8 billion bid last week.

New Financial Programs

Panera Bread Co.: The company signed on to a new three-year share repurchase program of up to $600 million, which will replace its existing program that will expire on Aug. 23, 2015.

More Financial News

Sbarro LLC: After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy nearly three months ago, the company emerged with a plan to remove about 85 percent of its outstanding debt.

Have the inside scoop on a merger or acquisition? Know of a new advertising campaign around a new iconic product? We’re always looking to get ahead of the game, so email us your tips.

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.


Sbarro Emerges From Chapter 11 With Reduced Debt

Sbarro, along with its domestic subsidiaries, announced that its Plan of Reorganization has become effective and the Company has successfully emerged from Chapter 11 with significantly reduced debt and a new capital infusion.

“As Sbarro emerges from Chapter 11 today we are a stronger, better capitalized, and more competitive company with a solid financial foundation for future growth,” says Nicholas McGrane, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Sbarro.

“Our reorganization plan eliminates more than 70 percent of our debt, and provides access to $35 million in fresh capital from our new ownership group.”

“With the support of our investors, vendors and landlords, and the hard work of our valued employees and franchisees, we are pleased that Sbarro has successfully navigated this process in a relatively short time period while operating our business as usual and without interruption," adds McGrane.

"Our business is performing well, and as we enter our busiest period of the year, we look forward to building on our positive momentum and continuing to deliver great food and service to our customers.”


Melville's Sbarro Emerges from Bankruptcy

Sbarro, the Melville-based pizza and pasta chain, announced on Monday that its financial woes are finito. The company is clinging on another year as it recovers from its bankruptcy status.

Sbarro ended its Chapter 11 protection this week, which it filed for in April, citing high ingredient costs and shrinking sales.

A Manhattan court approved the company's reorganization plan on Nov. 17, with the company stating that its financial struggles had come to a close. The chain reduced its debt by 70 percent and infused $35 million in capital, the company stated in a release.

"As Sbarro emerges from Chapter 11 today we are a stronger, better capitalized, and more competitive company with a solid financial foundation for future growth," Nicholas McGrane, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Sbarro said. "…Our business is performing well, and as we enter our busiest period of the year, we look forward to building on our positive momentum and continuing to deliver great food and service to our customers."

While customers can continue to enjoy Sbarro pizza, the company did not emerge from bankruptcy without a few scratches. To reduce its debt, the chain closed 25 locations since April.


The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Sbarro

Sbarro will use new pizza recipe and fast-casual rebranding to fight back from bankruptcy.

One hundred days. That’s how long Jim Greco gave himself to right the sinking ship that was Sbarro when he took over as president and CEO in February.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2011 and emerged from it in November, having shed $200 million in debt and 25 underperforming sites. But jiggering liabilities on a balance sheet had not addressed the limitations—which ranged from a subpar pizza recipe to an overreliance on mall traffic—that had caused Sbarro to drown.

“I recognize that Sbarro had, over the last several years, lost its lead in the space it operates,” Greco says. “Sbarro is an iconic brand with name recognition. And that is something that’s really hard to create and is very valuable. So I thought that it was a great place to start to build something back.”

On February 1, Greco stepped into Sbarro headquarters to recast the brand as a fast-casual contender. He concocted a formula called the 100 Day Plan, detailing how the Italian quick serve would leverage people, place, product, and positioning to enact its resurrection.

The changes debuted in June, when Sbarro rolled out 10 test units showcasing an updated pizza recipe, open-flame ovens, and a made-to-order pasta station, all rolled into the brand’s new motto, “Hands On Italian.” Team members now undergo cultural hospitality training, and an outside firm holds the blueprints for a next-generation design to be unveiled in November.

Five months into his reign as CEO, Greco says everything is going according to plan.

“We wanted to settle on a vision, we wanted to design a strategy to realize that vision, and we wanted to create the 100 Day Plan that called for a number of initiatives to be accomplished,” Greco says. “And everything that we sought to accomplish in the 100 Day Plan has, in fact, been accomplished.”

In 1967, seven years before the first successful mall food court was built, Sbarro engineered a mall location in Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn, New York. The idea was simple: cook fresh, Italian food in an open kitchen and serve it quickly. Consumers ate it up, and the modern Sbarro concept was born. The brand became a staple as food courts boomed throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

But the quick serve that once offered “tastes to fit every palate” fell into troubled waters in the ’00s as rivals rose to challenge Sbarro’s offerings. Pizza Hut began peddling calzones in 2003 and pasta in 2008, and Domino’s stepped up to bat with a flashy new pizza recipe in 2011.

Consumers, meanwhile, were slowly slinking away from Sbarro in favor of a rising restaurant sector: fast casual.

“Fast casual was getting a really good grip on the consumer,” says Anthony Missano, president of business development for Sbarro. “It had done a great job of educating the consumer about quality and what to expect for a reasonable price, so the value equation was very strong, and I think at Sbarro we just were not consistent with that trend.”

Part of the trouble was the brand relied heavily on locations in malls, and as the recession hit around 2008, consumer confidence dropped and once-vibrant malls became ghost towns.

“If you look at what real estate costs were and construction costs in that 2005–2008 time period, they were extremely inflated,” says Dave Bagley. Bagley is a principal at MorrisAnderson, an operational and financial turnaround firm that has led bankruptcy recoveries for Sonic and Popeyes, among others.

“These malls that Sbarro was placed in were in geographic areas where there was a lot of continued growth during that period of time,” he says. “They were based on continued growth, and as we know now, some of those things didn’t come to fruition.”

Coupled with real estate costs were rising commodity costs. While corn and protein prices skyrocketed, inflation drove up price tags on cheese and flour. Gas prices grew faster than sales of the Apple iPad, and suddenly every input entering the store was costing exponentially more.

Coming in, Greco says, he noticed Sbarro was purchasing costly ingredients but charging low prices.

“I saw a company that was using costly ingredients to produce food that’s much better for you than typical fast food,” he says. “And, as a result, to cover the cost of materials we need to charge prices that are above fast food. But we weren’t delivering the whole fast-casual experience that we could.”

In 2007, private equity firm MidOcean Partners bought Sbarro for $417 million. In 2010, it installed a new management team and appointed one of its managing partners, Nicholas McGrane, as CEO.

The changes were not enough. By 2011, Sbarro had accumulated more than $350 million in debt.

“The biggest enemy of a company that’s in financial trouble is time,” Bagley says. “If they have cash, they have time. But they need to generate some liquidity to give themselves time to turn around their operations.”

Sbarro, submerged in debt, had no choice but to file for Chapter 11 on April 4, 2011, and attempt to reduce its debt by half.

Bagley says a turnaround involves three steps: assessing the situation, identifying the biggest risks to the business short-term, and making changes so the company arrives at a stability point.

“In a turnaround, there are things you can do that don’t affect the customer, right?” Bagley says. “If I renegotiate a lease, if I cut a deal like Sbarro did with its lenders, that doesn’t affect the customer experience at all. That enables the company to be on more solid financial footing, which over a period of time, will improve the customer experience.”

Sbarro’s stability point arrived seven months later, at the end of November, when the brand emerged with reduced debt and an infusion of $35 million in capital from its lenders.

Greco enjoys puzzles. But we’re not talking about 100-piece jigsaw puzzles. His puzzles of choice are closer to $500 million on a balance sheet, and his quest is to arrange the pieces so they stop bleeding red.

Greco has led four previous financial turnarounds, most recently at Bruegger’s. His plan at Sbarro focuses on four areas: product, place, people, and positioning.

In terms of product, Sbarro reformulated its pizza recipe using all-natural ingredients, from whole milk mozzarella cheese to whole peeled tomatoes. It is working with manufacturers on original sauce recipes and styles, and it installed open-flame ovens that “give us a lot more theater than we had before,” Greco says.

The new pasta station, meanwhile, allows guests to build personal noodle dishes within 45 seconds.

The new positioning, “Hands On Italian,” is reflected in the food, PR, and point-of-sale materials. Greco also implemented a cultural hospitality program that teaches management in how to hire for attitude, train for skill, and empower for teamwork.

Executives are closely monitoring the aforementioned changes at 10 nationwide test units unveiled in June. All 10 were converted overnight in a “Mission: Impossible”–style adventure, with teams moving in at 9:30 p.m., dropping in the 6-foot-long pasta station, muscling the 5,000-pound woodstone pizza oven over the counter, and fashioning murals and menuboards so the stores could open the next morning.

While they reflect an updated design, the test units are not representative of the ultimate blueprint. Those will come in November, when Sbarro unwraps five units renovated in the next-generation design.

Greco’s team will analyze sales and conduct customer intercepts to gauge opinions at the test units. Customers, meanwhile, can look forward to the nationwide rollout of the new pizza recipe at the beginning of September.

Missano says Sbarro’s changes are not a one-shot process, but will continue to evolve over time. Next, the brand will take a closer look at its salad, dessert, and handheld offerings, and Greco hopes improvements will be made to them by the time the five next-gen units arrive in November.

As Sbarro plans for its future, Bagley warns against changing too much or too swiftly.

“In a turnaround situation, you’ve got to really convince everyone that while you’re doing things better, it doesn’t mean you were doing them poorly before, because maybe they liked the formulation of the coffee or the formulation of the pizza,” he says.

Rebranding as a fast-casual concept also requires a different management style, experts say.

“When you start talking about fast-casual types of concepts, that’s almost a whole different process [than a quick serve],” Bagley says. “There are multiple more touch points, which makes managing those locations a little bit different, and that’s one area where we see some of our clients in the past who try to change their concepts really struggle with that.”

“[The changes] will, once again, establish Sbarro as a leader in this space,” he says. “The things that are coming will be so far and above what others here in our space do, and for that matter, it will be so compelling that it will make us a strong competition for folks in other types of fast-casual spaces.”


Sbarro Again Files for Bankruptcy

Pizza chain Sbarro announced Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the second time in just three years. The business has struggled to turn its business around amid a decrease in traffic at shopping mall food courts.

NEW YORK (AP) — Sbarro has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the second time in just three years as the pizza chain struggles to turn its business around amid a drop in traffic at shopping mall food courts.

The bankruptcy filing on Monday comes after the company shuttered 155 of its U.S. locations last month. The Melville, N.Y., company still has about 800 locations globally, half of those in North America.

The pizza chain isn't alone in hurting from the decline in traffic at shopping malls. Earlier this year, the owner of Hot Dot on a Stick also filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the negative impact from the trend.

Sbarro is working to balance out its portfolio of mall-based stores with a new concept called "Pizza Cucinova" that lets people build their own pizzas, company spokesman Jonathan Dedmon said in an email. There are two locations of the new restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and a third planned for Cincinnati in the summer, Dedmon said.

Sbarro is also trying to update its image for serving re-heated pizza at a time when people are increasingly reaching for foods they feel are fresh and wholesome. Dedmon said the chain has been "emphasizing freshness and quality" of its pizza.

Sbarro first filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011 and emerged a few months later, saying that it significantly cut its debt and received a capital infusion. A new CEO then led a push to revitalize the chain's image by touting new recipes and ovens. But the efforts apparently didn't take hold.

The company says its latest strategy of store closings and balance sheet restructuring will slash debt by more than 80 percent and improve its profitability. It said its filing is designed to "allow for a quick exit from bankruptcy" as it executes a broader plan developed by the new management team.


Sbarro emerges from Chapter 11
Pizza operator to move headquarters from New York to Ohio
Jun 2, 2014 – Mark Brandau

Sbarro LLC emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, nearly three months after filing on March 10 a prepackaged plan to cut about 85 percent of the company’s outstanding debt, a company spokesman said.

“We want to thank our stakeholders for their steadfast support,” the company said in a statement. “The company now can move forward with its plans to invest in and grow the business. We will be announcing progress and further plans for the business in the near future.”

The company disclosed that it would move its headquarters from Melville, N.Y., to Columbus, Ohio, which would ultimately reduce costs and general and administrative expenses, as well as place the brand’s seat of operations closer to its fast-casual Pizza Cucinova concept, which has a handful of locations in Columbus.

Did they get paid to move here by Jobs Ohio? I only ask because IIRC we were going to pay Sears some ridiculous amount of money to move here after their bankruptcy.

I thought Sbarro was great when I was 13 years old and would go to places like City Center Mall. Had it recently as an adult…. not great.

Did they get paid to move here by Jobs Ohio? I only ask because IIRC we were going to pay Sears some ridiculous amount of money to move here after their bankruptcy.

I doubt it. Sbarro corporate has 40 jobs they’re bringing here. That’s a long way from the thousands that Sears would have brought.

I thought Sbarro was great when I was 13 years old and would go to places like City Center Mall. Had it recently as an adult…. not great.

Sometime around the mid 90s Sbarro changed their business model and changed the food, too. I remember when they first opened the food was better, when you picked out your portions and weighed them on a scale to pay.

From everything I’ve heard, though, Pizza Cucinova is an improvement. I haven’t actually tried it yet but I know people who have .

(As for Jobs Ohio, there is no real way to know, since they don’t really have to disclose all of their spending.)

<div wrote:</div>
Did they get paid to move here by Jobs Ohio? I only ask because IIRC we were going to pay Sears some ridiculous amount of money to move here after their bankruptcy.

I doubt it. Sbarro corporate has 40 jobs they’re bringing here. That’s a long way from the thousands that Sears would have brought.

Guarantee Kasich shows up anyway.

Maybe this will help them stay out of bankruptcy protection for a 3rd time. Any word on where the HQ will be located? Don’t they have some space around a Sawmill office building already?

Maybe this will help them stay out of bankruptcy protection for a 3rd time. Any word on where the HQ will be located? Don’t they have some space around a Sawmill office building already?

Supposedly they will be on Dublin Road near Marble Cliff.

They should have to move into Bob Evans old building (but they probably don’t have enough people).

or some other already built building.

They’re moving into a modest 1970’s office building at 1328 Dublin Rd.

Best to direct those New Yorkers to the thread below so they know what to expect when they relocate to Columbus.

Best to direct those New Yorkers to the thread below so they know what to expect when they relocate to Columbus.

https://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/columbus-90s-promo-video

This doesn’t surprise me. David Karam is the CEO of Sbarro and was formerly the President of The Wendy’s Company. He is also the owner of one of the larger Wendy’s franchises, which is also based out of Columbus. I’m sure he was the main influence behind the move.


Sbarro files for bankruptcy protection again

FILE - In this April 4, 2011, file photo, a customer looks at pizzas at Sbarro restaurant in San Jose, Calif. Sbarro said Monday, March 10, 2014, that it is filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, the struggling pizza chain's second trip through bankruptcy court in less than three years.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sbarro has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the second time in just three years as the pizza chain struggles to turn its business around amid a drop in traffic at shopping mall food courts.

The bankruptcy filing on Monday comes after the company shuttered 155 of its U.S. locations last month. The Melville, N.Y., company still has about 800 locations globally, half of those in North America.

The pizza chain isn't alone in hurting from the decline in traffic at shopping malls. Earlier this year, the owner of Hot Dot on a Stick also filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the negative impact from the trend.

Sbarro is working to balance out its portfolio of mall-based stores with a new concept called "Pizza Cucinova" that lets people build their own pizzas, company spokesman Jonathan Dedmon said in an email. There are two locations of the new restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and a third planned for Cincinnati in the summer, Dedmon said.

Sbarro is also trying to update its image for serving re-heated pizza at a time when people are increasingly reaching for foods they feel are fresh and wholesome. Dedmon said the chain has been "emphasizing freshness and quality" of its pizza.

Sbarro first filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011 and emerged a few months later, saying that it significantly cut its debt and received a capital infusion. A new CEO then led a push to revitalize the chain's image by touting new recipes and ovens. But the efforts apparently didn't take hold.

The company says its latest strategy of store closings and balance sheet restructuring will slash debt by more than 80 percent and improve its profitability. It said its filing is designed to "allow for a quick exit from bankruptcy" as it executes a broader plan developed by the new management team.

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Western Europe was the second largest region accounting for 34% of the global bars and cafes market. Africa was the smallest region in the global bars and cafes market.Technological advances are enabling beverage serving companies to deliver customized, convenient, fast and adaptable services. Cafes around the world are investing in WiFi-enabled coffee makers that can brew coffee according to the user's specific individual taste. Selfiii International, a Malaysian company, developed a printer that can print selfies of customers onto their coffee, making the coffee experience more personal, thereby increasing sales. Bars, taverns and nightclubs are also increasingly offering technology-driven solutions and services. They are innovating the way customers order and pay for food and drinks by introducing self-ordering touchscreen kiosks, mobile apps for customizable orders and quick payment, digital entertainment.Steps by national governments to contain the transmission of COVID-19 have resulted in a decline in economic activity with countries entering a state of 'lock down' and the outbreak is expected to continue to have a negative impact on businesses throughout 2020 and into 2021. However, it is expected that the bars and cafes market will recover from the shock across the forecast period as it is a ɻlack swan' event and not related to ongoing or fundamental weaknesses in the market or the global economy.As the bars and cafes market is largely driven by the spending power of its consumers, steady gains in disposable personal income are expected to boost the industry in the forecast period. Many developed and developing countries across the world are forecasted to register a steady economic growth resulting in higher disposable incomes and subsequently higher spending for services such as bars and cafes.Key Topics Covered: 1. Executive Summary2. Report Structure3. Bars And Cafes Market Characteristics3.1. Market Definition3.2. Key Segmentations4. Bars And Cafes Market Product Analysis4.1. Leading Products/ Services4.2. Key Features and Differentiators4.3. Development Products5. Bars And Cafes Market Supply Chain5.1. Supply Chain5.2. Distribution5.3. End Customers6. Bars And Cafes Market Customer Information6.1. Customer Preferences6.2. End Use Market Size and Growth7. Bars And Cafes Market Trends And Strategies8. Impact Of COVID-19 On Bars And Cafes9. Bars And Cafes Market Size And Growth9.1. Market Size9.2. Historic Market Growth, Value ($ Billion)9.2.1. Drivers Of The Market9.2.2. Restraints On The Market9.3. Forecast Market Growth, Value ($ Billion)9.3.1. Drivers Of The Market9.3.2. Restraints On The Market10. Bars And Cafes Market Regional Analysis10.1. Global Bars And Cafes Market, 2020, By Region, Value ($ Billion)10.2. Global Bars And Cafes Market, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F, Historic And Forecast, By Region10.3. Global Bars And Cafes Market, Growth And Market Share Comparison, By Region11. Bars And Cafes Market Segmentation11.1. Global Bars And Cafes Market, Segmentation By Type, Historic and Forecast, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F, $ Billion Snack And Nonalcoholic Beverage BarsDrinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 11.2. Global Bars And Cafes Market, Segmentation By Ownership, Historic and Forecast, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F, $ Billion Chain MarketStandalone Market 11.3. Global Bars And Cafes Market, Segmentation By Pricing, Historic and Forecast, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F, $ Billion High-EndEconomy 12. Bars And Cafes Market Metrics12.1. Bars And Cafes Market Size, Percentage Of GDP, 2015-2025, Global12.2. Per Capita Average Bars And Cafes Market Expenditure, 2015-2025, Global Companies Mentioned StarbucksWhitbread PLCLavazzaBuffallo Wild WingsDunkin' Brands For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/j0r9qx CONTACT: CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager [email protected] For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

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Bite into a slice of Sbarro

In Photo: This is the  rst of Sbarro’s new store designs, applied to its US branches.

Pizza talk with Sbarro’s top executives

IF there is one comfort food Filipinos seem to love apart from nanay’s adobo, it would most likely be that staple of Italian cuisine—pizza. There’s just something about that mélange of pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese, peppers, tomatoes and virtually a whole range of meats and vegetables, all nestled on a bed of delectable sauce, and topped with even more cheese. Served piping hot, it’s like biting into a pillow of scrumptious sunshine. And, when enjoyed in the company of family and friends, pizza becomes the great equalizer, as diners can’t help but stay silent, while busily chewing on each slice.

Frederick Salvador and David Karam pose with friends from the media during their successful PR event, where the two shared the history and future of Sbarro.

Now, when it comes to pizza, discriminating Pinoys can be seen braving the long lines just to sink their teeth into a slice of Sbarro. And why not? After all, Sbarro serves authentic New York-style Italian pizza, deep-dished and loaded with flavorful ingredients.

The restaurant was actually a spin-off of the salumeria, an Italian delicatessen, that Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro opened in Brooklyn in 1956 with their three sons Joseph, Mario and Anthony. Immigrants from Naples, the Sbarro couple naturally shared their Italian culinary heritage with their newly adopted community in the US.

A t the heels of this successful enterprise, Carmela “Mama” Sbarro opened the restaurant in 1967, highlighting pizza-making in an area where customers can enjoy watching its preparation.

Pa mpanga native Jaime “Jimmy” Salvador joined Sbarro in 1972, working alongside the original owners, imbibing their work ethic and business principles. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became Sbarro’s first area manager. In 1989 Salvador returned to the Philippines to establish the Sbarro brand, opening the first branch at the Annex in SM North Edsa by 1990.

Sbarro is known for serving authentic New York style pizza, like this very tasty pepperoni pie and The Chicago Deep Dish with White Sauce is a signature product of Sbarro Philippines.

Today Sbarro delights pizza-crav ing Pinoys through their 45 bran ches nationwide. The Salvador family continues to be at the helm, making sure that Sbarro Philippines remains true to Mama Sbarro’s legacy: “The commitment to good food, fresh ingredients, e xcellent ser vice and great value for money.”

Jimmy Salvador’s son, Fred, president of Supersalute Foods Corp., Master Franchise of Sbarro Philippines, knows why the restaurant is such a big hit in the country. “I think it’s because it’s authentic,” he declares. “Some people claim to be from New York, some people claim to be Italian-based, but they’re not.”

The man from New York knows whereof he speaks. He remembers how his father worked directly for the Sbarro family. In fact, their families were so close that Mr. and Mrs. Sbarro even wanted him to call them grandpa and grandma. Salvador adds: “And I would be ashamed if we let them down in this market, if we served a bad product. I’d really be disappointed. I think my dad will come back and haunt me if we don’t try our best here.”

On his recent visit to the Philippines, Sbarro’s CEO and President J. David Karam spoke about the company’s pizza supremacy. He says: “Sbarro is the sixth largest pizza chain in the world, and so our focus is increasingly selling and communicating the superior quality of pizza to consumers in all of our members.”

Pizza picks

SBARRO’S signature New York-style pizza features the Sbarro family recipe for hand-stretched dough made fresh daily this is generously topped with imported mozzarella, and Mama Sbarro’s own pizza sauce with fresh basil, olive oil and spices.

Karam interjects: “At every one of our restaurants, we make the dough fresh every morning. We’re one of the only national restaurants with global pizza that uses 100-percent mozzarella cheese, the best cheese you can get, and shredded fresh every day. Nobody does that.”

Diners are also spoiled for choice considering Sbarro’s pizza flavors: Hawaiian, Mushroom, Pepperoni, Sausage, Supreme Pizza (with mozzarella, Italian sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and pepperoni), White Pizza (with garlic, ricotta and mozzarella), and Four-Cheese Pizza (with mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta and parmesan). There are also Gourmet Pan pizzas, and Italian-style stuffed pizzas, like Calzone.

Sbarro, likewise, serves pasta dishes in the Italian tradition, like spaghe tti, lasagna and Baked Ziti. Practical diners can also take advantage of the Combo Treats, choosing among White Pizza, Half spaghetti with meat sauce, Half-Baked Ziti and Super Slice with Toppings. These treats come with a complementary beverage.

Karam continues: “The beautiful thing about pizza is it’s a carrier and we can put different toppings on it that are responsive to the taste of the people that we are serving in various markets. That said, there are some fundamentals. Seventy percent of the menu is pretty well fixed and then you’ve got some flexibility that can be tailored to the local market.”

Well, the local Pinoy market has embraced Sbarro’s pizzas with open arms, so much so that the Philippine franchise team was recognized as Franchise Partner of the Year at the recently concluded Sbarro franchise conference in the US. This award was earned based upon “superior operational execution and a commitment to developing the brand with new stores and really penetrating the markets that they serve in.”

But, not one to rest on his laurels, Salvador reveals: “So far this year, we’ve opened a record number of stores. We’ve opened 10 stores, and we plan to open five more before the end of the year. One of these will be a self-contained delivery unit, which will be at the Sea Residences in Pasay [Mall of Asia].”

Rounding the bend

AFTER experiencing a brief period beset by tough challenges, Sbarro emerges with a revitalized vision, a direction that hinges on passion and creative innovation. Looking at the glass half full, this short chapter in the company’s history paved the way for positive changes.

Karam details the progress that Sbarro is now experiencing after that momentary hiccup: “First, it has improved the balance sheet. The company has a very sound balance sheet and a very strong future, as it is now almost debt-free. Second, we increased the profitability dramatically by eliminating nonprofitable stores. And, third, by relocating our headquarters to Columbus, Ohio, which is rather a central hub for restaurant and retail companies, but with operational costs lower than the previous offices in New York, it allowed me to build a management team that has a lot of industry experience. And they can start to really put in place the strategies that will really position the brand for significant growth in the future.”

While this was happening in the US, Sbarro’s Filipino market was naturally concerned. But, as the head office explained the situation properly, Salvador was able to address the issue. “A lot of guests would call the office,” he recalls. “But we assured them that this had nothing to do with us and that this will be over in a few months.”

“It was a tough chapter but we are glad we got through it quickly,” Karam reflects. “It was a very well-planned filing and we are very fortunate that we have the support of our ownership, our franchise partners, as well as our vendors and landlords.”

Pizza with a passion

“PIZZA is a very big category, nearly a $50-billion category globally and the second biggest serving category in the industry,” Karam observes. “Sbarro has great credentials on pizza. We would like to tighten the focus a little bit and bring it to life. Think authentic New York-style pizza and more.”

To accomplish this purpose and attract new generations of pizza lovers, Sbarro has developed a new logo d esign that is cleaner and more modern. The stores have also been reworked to be more open, allowing diners to watch how their pizza is made, and streamlining the flow of service. And of course, new products and flavors ar e in the pipeline, like the authentic Sicilian pizz a, which is now available in the US, as well as the Philippines.

Karam reiterates: “We have a very broad menu, and it will not be reduced dramatically but, over time, you will expect to see us continually emphasizing pizza. We also have great credibility in pasta and salad. In the US, we are not leaving the malls but we don’t want to be bound by the malls, so we’re developing off-mall stores and also delivery and carry-out business.”

The business o f pizza is not just about cooking and serving. Success is anchored not only on food excellence, but also on the innate qualities of its people. Salvador emphasizes that, in this regard, Sbarro is about “developing people.” He says, “We hire them because we believe in them, we want them to succeed.”

Karam describes t he Sbarro brand in three words: passionate, quality and pizza-focused. He elaborates: “Passionate because people who are part of this brand, no matter how long we’ve been there, we know that we have enormous satisfaction when we see customers lined up to eat our food. There is a sense of pride we are all part of a team.”

Salvador agrees: “You have to find people who are passionate about what they’re doing. We try to instill in our managers that this is not a job, but a career.”

More pizza for all

BUT Sbarro does not stop there. Not only does this restaurant serve a mean true-blue pizza the company also offers business opportunities through franchising. A franchisee himself, Karam says: “That’s one of the great things about the restaurant industry. It’s the opportunity for people to become entrepreneurs, [those] who might never had the opportunity to own their own business. But that happened through the opportunity of franchising, which is a great business model. And your franchise partners really look at the business long term.”

“Because that is where I grew up, I want to partner with our franchisees in Sbarro in a way that they’ve never been partnered with,” Karam adds. “Because I know, that over time, like 10 or 20 years, we will make this brand one of the truly great global brands. My vision is 2,500 restaurants. That’s what makes us so passionate, not just about Sbarro, but that business model of franchising. And do you know that’ s the fastest business model globally?”

Spreading the Sbarro pizza brand throughout the country, Salvador is enthusiastic about developments in the future: “We’re very excited about where we’re taking the brand, about rebranding with our new colors, with the new store design, so you’ll be seeing that when we open the new stores for the rest of the year.”

Get your slice of the tasty Sbarro pizza pie, a nd more, with your own Sbarro franchise! For details and franchise inquiries, e-mail: [email protected].


Sbarro's social media game is weak

In spite of the best efforts of some poor young underpaid intern somewhere in a cubicle in Columbus, Ohio (where Sbarro is headquartered), Sbarro's social media presence just hasn't be able to capture the imaginations of customers the way their competitors have.

Sbarro's 300k Facebook followers may seem like plenty, until you punch up the pages of competing pizza chains. Pizza Hut's got 31 million followers. Domino's Pizza has 20 million. Even those sad sacks over at Papa John's are clocking 6 million fans.

So what's the deal with Sbarro's social media following, or lack thereof? The company posts the right mix of lifestyle photography, "edgy" memes that seem to be pleading for virality, contests, and all of the other junk straight out of the "social media marketing" playbook, which makes their relatively small following something of a puzzle. The answer may be very simple: Most of the people who unceremoniously cram a triangular box of pizza down their gullets aren't looking to memorialize the experience with a Facebook follow.

Fast food companies have some of the highest engagement rates on social media, so for Sbarro to not even have a seat at that table is a detriment, for sure.


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Sbarro The Italian Eatery
1328 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH


Watch the video: Remembering the Sbarro bombing (October 2021).