Restaurant Case Study: Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh
When you’re the third-generation keeper of a cherished family-business flame, you make every choice as if the matriarch is looking over your shoulder. Such is the world of Julian and Ernie Vallozzi and the myriad choices they faced when opening the newest and most costly and ambitious outpost of his family’s Western Pennsylvania restaurant legacy.
Sixty years ago, back in 1955, Helen Vallozzi of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, began making pasta and ravioli in her basement kitchen to sell to local restaurants. In the midst of working alongside a staff of seven women to support her growing business, Helen had an idea – why not just do it for herself and also sell directly to the public? She opened a small take-out place in nearby Latrobe to augment her business.
At a Glance:
Years in Business: 51
Staff size: 44 PT/FT
36 years ago, her oldest son, Ernie, made the fateful decision to open a sit-down restaurant and chose a location on Greensburg’s heavily-trafficked Route 30. To finance the operation, Ernie sold his beloved ’67 Jaguar Mark 3. (“It was the only asset that I had,” relates the loquacious and grey-haired charmer.)
From those humble beginnings a Western Pennsylvania dining powerhouse emerged, growing to a beloved 200-seat destination with a robust catering business and, beginning in 2010, the search to expand into Downtown Pittsburgh, where Father and Son landed upon a 4,000 square-foot vacant space, the former G.C. Murphy’s five and ten cent store adjacent to the city’s bustling Market Square.
Hence began a two year journey – the build out of a derelict space, the hiring of Chef Josiah Henry, and among the thousands of choices to be made was which POS system would best serve the needs of this large and hoped-for destination establishment.
“We did our due diligence and looked at three companies – Future POS had the other two larger competitors beat on service package and, quite frankly, price. The fact they are locally based, to be honest with you, had nothing at all to do with our decision,” relates the junior Vallozzi.
“In respect to Front of House, it’s easy to use in terms of lunch, dinner, wine, cocktails—the orders always go to the right stations be it bar or kitchen.,” he says.
“When it comes to Back of House -- inventory control, cost control, purchasing, and labor cost are all well covered. And there are so many features we’ve yet to take advantage of, from managing our customer loyalty program, to tracking, to its integration with email promotions. Well, we’ve barely scratched the surface,” Vallozzi continues.
The third-generation restaurateur gives high marks to Future POS from everything from ease of implementation to the company’s deft handling of customer service.
“It was a turnkey operation—they gave us a complete guideline/toolkit which clearly outlined the type of monitors, cables, and printers would be required to optimize it use – they made everything easy, including pre-loading all of our menu options,” says Vallozzi. “I find them [Future POS] to be the least obtrusive, the least pushy, and I felt a real comfort level with how they conducted themselves.”
Vallozzi maintains that the company’s tech support is outstanding. For a monthly maintenance fee they are available at all hours and “couldn’t be better.”
“Believe me, we’ve had our 8 p.m. ‘Friday Meltdowns’ due to Internet issues and they were on the spot to provide a solution – we may have been in quite a state Back of House staring at a full restaurant, but thanks to their help none of our customers ever expected anything was amiss,” he says.
From Helen Vallozzi’s Greensburg basement to a prime location at the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, this 60-year legacy of success continues with the determination, talents, and smart choice of strategic vendors to enable 21st century success.
About Future POS
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