Pizza Today - September 2017 - 59

Rome's Pizza hard with some products
rising as much as 200 percent. It was a
cost that Nassar could not pass to the
consumer. "So instead of the four to six
percent (price) increase you (normally)
do, you do six to eight percent, but it's not
enough, so your margin kept shrinking.
We stabilized around 2011 or 2012.
"Really, it's just being patient," Nassar
continues. The gourmet pizzeria also
introduced more traditional pizzas and
added wings to the menu to help broaden
its customer base.
In the middle of Rome's rebound from
the economic collapse, Nassar found
himself in a bad lease deal in a newly
opened commercial center that went
bankrupt and remained in limbo until
Nassar closed the location.
That perhaps sparked his next venture.
He partnered with his brother-in-law to
build a commercial center and opened a
Rome's in the complex in 2015.
With a mix of four company-owned
and franchised locations, Rome's
stays relevant in a changing restaurant
landscape by forecasting and investing in
digital marketing. "Most of it is trial and
error in a lot of ways in terms of making
observations about what is fashionable
(and) what is exciting in the food world
and trying to apply that in a way that
your customer base will still enjoy and
knowing who your customers are. I think
those are important," says Robinson, who
has been with Rome's since 1997.
Nassar and Robinson see growth
opportunity tapping into the Millennial
and youth markets. A major component
is adapting to technology advancements
that are naturally ingrained in the
Millennial market. "If you don't get
on with the game, you're going to be
a dinosaur," he says. "For most of the
Millennials, location doesn't really matter
with UberEats and all of these guys. The

appeal now is electronically. It's not on TV.
It's not radio. It's not the paper, It's not the
coupon.
"Before, it was easier. You just had to
come up with a great menu item or a
great pizza and you got success. Now it's
a science. You have to know how to target
it. In the older days, we did position
ourselves very well. We differentiated
ourselves very well. But now that's not
enough. You have to almost multitask
positioning. You have to know where you
are at with the Millennials and with the
seniors and with my age group - the
50 year olds. It's a completely different
market."
Offering online delivery and embracing
third-party delivery has introduced
the concept to Millennials, as well as
provided a bump in sales.
"Anything and everything we can do
to get ourselves out there. That's what we
have to do to stay relevant," Robinson
says, adding that she sees positives with
online ordering and third-party delivery.
"We can't just rely on people walking
through the door."
Nassar also views third-party as a winwin for name recognition and direct sales.
With nearly 28 percent of Rome's
sales generated from delivery, Nassar
negotiated with his contracting thirdparty services to have Rome's deliver
its products, which capitalizes on its
established delivery program and helps
control pizza quality.
As Rome's works to establish a
foothold in a new market, there is one
thing that Nassar and Robinson say
they are not tampering with - Rome's
product. "No, no, no, we stay right here
because that is our product," Nassar
says. "Cheese and flour, no, that's not
changing." n
DENISE GREER is associate editor at

Pizza Today.

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / 5 9


http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - September 2017

Pizza Today - September 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Exposed Ceilings
Calzones
Baked Ziti
Chicken Florentine
Shrimp Scampi
Coupons
Celebrating Anniversaries
Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: Two Action- packed Days
Pizza Today on the Road: Rome’s Pizza, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today on the Road: Pizza Italia, San Antonio, Texas
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - September 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today - September 2017
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - September 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Exposed Ceilings
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Calzones
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Baked Ziti
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 38
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Chicken Florentine
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 42
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Shrimp Scampi
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Coupons
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 48
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Celebrating Anniversaries
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 52
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: Two Action- packed Days
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Rome’s Pizza, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Pizza Italia, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 61
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 64
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 72
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - September 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 81
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 82
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 83
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 84
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 85
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 86
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 87
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 88
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover4
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