LOUISVILLE, Ky. — PizzaMarketplace.com will present Pizza Shuttle its Independent Operator of the Year Award for 2007, Feb. 25 at the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show in Columbus, Ohio.
 
Single-unit Pizza Shuttle grossed more than $5.5 million in sales in 2006, making it one of the world's busiest pizzerias. Since opening in 1985, the dine-in, carryout and delivery operation has served more than 1 million pizzas and become a Milwaukee legend in the upper U.S. Midwest.
 
"We're really flattered to get this," said Mark Gold, who co-owns Pizza Shuttle with Louie Siecinski. "You don't think much about winning awards when you're just so busy all the time, you just serve customers. So this recognizes what everyone who has been a part of Pizza Shuttle has done over the past two decades."
 
Best friends since growing up in Detroit, Gold and Siecinski moved to Milwaukee when they were 21, hoping to franchise a chain pizza store. When the deal fell through, they opened Pizza Shuttle, and 19 months later they had three units.
 
None of those units, however, was a star performer, so they closed two to focus on one. Believing that broadening the menu beyond pizza would boost sales, Siecinski talked Gold into adding fried fish and chicken and fresh custard to the lineup in 1995. That year, Pizza Shuttle's sales eclipsed the $1 million mark, and in 1996, sales doubled.
 
Siecinski and Gold attribute their success to a lot of hard work, endless reinvestment into their company and a well-trained, heavily staffed operation. Pizza Shuttle's 29 percent labor cost is well above average, Siecinski said, but the extra help allows the business to handle its extreme volume and makes the pressured work environment pleasant. "When they're relaxed, they do the best job," he said.
 
Following the Feb. 25 presentation, Gold and Siecinski will participate in a question-and-answer session with operators who want to learn more about Pizza Shuttle's tremendous success. The event is free to all paid attendees.
 
The North America Pizza and Ice Cream Show will be held Feb. 25-26. For more information and online registration, click here.

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