Food & Drink International - Spring 2017 Volume 1 - 46
Mazzio's continues to satisfy its loyal customers by sticking to its
founder's values. By Chris Kelsch
Headquarters: Tulsa, Okla.
Employees: Nearly 2,000 across
Specialty: Family-friendly restaurants
Sheri Miksa, CEO: "Everyone has a
>> Mazzio's pizza is known for its crispy thin crust and spicy sauce, but the company also adds to its menu to stay competitive.
t was a relatively easy decision
for Sheri Miksa to make when
she joined Mazzio's LLC in 2014
as CEO. "It was a legacy name,
a heritage name, with tremendous
people and a loyal following," recalls Miksa, who has held a number
of CEO positions, including with
Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grills (then
NASDAQ:RUBO), Robeks Juice,
Boneheads Grilled Fish and Piri Piri
Chicken. "It has maintained its strong
family values, as well as its roots in
the Tulsa community."
Indeed, the company is still owned
by the family of its late founder, Ken
Selby. He was a public school teacher who enjoyed making pizzas in his
spare time, and that passion led to
the opening of "Ken's Pizza Parlor"
in Tulsa, Okla., in 1961. He eventually quit teaching to build Ken's into a
strong regional chain of restaurants.
The chain grew to 126 restaurants
in nine states and ultimately became
"Mazzio's Italian Eatery" as the company began converting a majority of
the original Ken's Pizza sites in the
1980s. The company also created
another concept in 2008, and has two
"Oliveto Italian Bistro" restaurants in
Oklahoma and another one in Texas.
Mazzio's has remained a favorite
throughout Oklahoma and the sur-
food & drink international * spring 2017 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com
rounding states, even in a fiercely
competitive field that has only gotten
more crowded in recent years. For
Miksa, the driving philosophy behind
that success remains simple, and it
was as Ken Selby used to say, "If you
make every pizza perfect, you will be
successful." Miksa agrees.
That is of course easier said than
done, but then again, Miksa is the rare
CEO who practices what she preaches. "When I came aboard, I thought
it was imperative to go through the
exact training that all of the employees went through, as well as visiting
all the locations and meeting/speaking with all the general managers and
franchisees. I love to sit and eat in our
restaurants," Miksa recalls. "I always
try to visit with a few of the guests and
ask them how their experience was."
And yes, her training did include going on pizza deliveries with
Mazzio's drivers. For Miksa, the experience was informative, to say the
least. "I learned what Mazzio's means
to people in the community," she recalls. "As when I am out in the restaurants, people say, 'You have no idea
how much we love Mazzio's; we went
there on our first date or worked here