• Authenticity, employee motivation drives success for Oregano's pizzeria owner

Arizona Republic: SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Mark S. Russell is not kidding around when it comes to the bottom line at his mini-empire of pizza bistros.

In February, the chief operating officer of Oregano's opened the sixth Arizona location of his popular eatery and within hours, hungry diners were waiting in line for tables.

How did a former flight attendant with no formal training in the restaurant business go on to open not one but six successful restaurants within 10 years, all in a very competitive environment?

"Our keyword is authenticity," Russell said. "We don't compete, we excel."

The key to a great service operation, Russell said, is employee enthusiasm. He spends "an inordinate amount" of time training, motivating and mentoring 350 employees. As a result, a majority of his restaurant managers are promoted from within.

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