Today we’d like to introduce you to Domenick Montanile.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Venezia’s was started right after I graduated college in May 1998. By July, we were open for business. We moved into a location on Southern and Mill that was previously Paradise Pizza. We ended up purchasing the equipment from the previous owner, and opening a few months later after we remodeled the location. My wife, Jaime, and I had only been married for one month, but we dove right in! It was a constant struggle since we did not have any name recognition.
We originally opened under Peppino’s Pizza and while in business for three years and owning the AZ State Trademark, we found out a company from California held the National Trademark. Hence, why we are now called Venezia’s Pizzeria. This happened in 2001, around the same time our first child was born. You can imagine how stressful it was with a new born, working seven days a week, barely making our mortgage payment. I am not sure how my wife stayed with me!!!
After some thought and realizing that we weren’t succeeding in the pizza business, I decided to look for a full-time job. I worked at Insight Enterprises in Tempe. I would leave my day job and go to the pizza place at night. As the next year went by, we started to slowly gain more loyal customers and sales were finally increasing. While I was at Insight, I was able to work on bonus programs for Venezia’s during my lunch break. My goal was to motivate my employees during the times I couldn’t be at the pizza shop because of my full-time job.
Amazingly enough, it started to finally turn around between the incentives from the bonus program, and five years of gaining a larger customer base. I was finally making a small profit, and was able to save enough money to open a second location in Chandler and quit Insight in 2003. Our first day at the Chandler location, we actually made more in sales than any single day in the Tempe location’s entire first year. I attribute this success to the fact that many of our Tempe customers worked in Tempe, but lived in Chandler, so we already had recognition with many Chandler residents, which helped us increase sales more quickly. In 2005, I opened a third location in East Mesa. By this time, we were starting to create a name for ourselves throughout the community because of our reasonable prices and top quality, authentic Italian food.
There were many other struggles along the way, and at one point my mom helped make the Marinara sauce at her house, bringing it to the store since we could not afford a sauce kettle for our sauce to cook. As the years went on, we added fryers and a few more ovens to our restaurant which helped grow our business.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Venezia’s New York Style Pizzeria – what should we know?
We have a unique concept and are best known for our eight slice specials for dine-in and takeout. All eight deals come with a drink and you can mix and match a slice of pizza, small garden salad and wings for an unbeatable price. These meals are usually served to the customer within five minutes so it’s a great option for customers in a hurry for lunch or dinner.
Another unique Venezia’s menu item is our giant 24” Party Pizza. These Party Pizzas are equal to three Large 14” pizzas and only cost the price of two. This pizza is a huge hit for anyone having a big gathering that wants to feed more people for less. We deliver these Party Pizzas to many well-known companies in the Phoenix area for large company events. We also have a Party Pizza Challenge, where you and a partner can attempt to eat an entire Party Pizza in under an hour. Winners receive a Venezia’s t-shirt and their face on our wall of fame.
I am most proud that Venezia’s is able to compensate our management staff and employees above industry standards. Best of all, we also offer great medical plans and even have a 401k company match program up to 4 percent, which is rare for restaurant owners to give as benefits. Venezia’s could not do it without the great passion we have from our staff. You must have a great product to be successful, but also great employees, and we definitely have both.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The success of Venezia’s is our constant persistence to achieve the best results possible. We are always looking for ways to better serve our customers and keep costs down. We have great buying power now that we have five busy locations and try to negotiate terms to pass the savings on to the customer. Our company is very big on constant communication and tracking results. I am a big believer that numbers don’t lie, so if you can utilize the tools given to you, it can help you make a more educated decision on any facet of your company, from marketing to customer service and efficiency.
- Website: www.venezias.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veneziaspizza/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VeneziasPizzeria
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/veneziaspizza