As part of its turnaround initiatives, Sbarro today introduced a new Neapolitan-style pizza. The Italian-inspired pizza will replace the chain's longstanding recipe and will be available at all 500-plus U.S. locations.
The new pizza features all-natural ingredients, including dough made from scratch daily, vine-ripened, whole-peeled tomatoes and freshly shredded whole milk mozzarella.
Sbarro conducted shut-downs across all U.S. locations on Oct. 7, to train team members on how to prepare the new pizza as well as to offer a re-certification in Sbarro's heritage, values and its culture of hospitality.
"By going back to our roots, we're improving what set us apart from the very beginning, great pizza made from quality ingredients and served in a warm and welcoming environment," said James Greco, CEO of Sbarro, who will talk about the idea behind the transformation at this year's Fast Casual Executive Summit in San Diego. "These values and priorities helped grow Sbarro from a single Italian Salumeria to a global restaurant company. And now, technology has enabled us to offer pizza of the same quality as our original recipe on a national scale."
Innovations in farming and technology have enabled Sbarro to find year-round sources for the product needed to serve the new Neapolitan-style pizza recipe across all of its locations, while ensuring consistency.
"I started working at Sbarro close to 40 years ago and I know that Mama Sbarro would be proud of our new authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. We've taken all of our ingredients to the next level, from our handmade dough to our vine ripened tomatoes to the mozzarella we shred daily," said Tony Missano, president of Sbarro. "Additionally, through the shut-down and re-certification, we've energized our staff while shining a focus on the values that make Sbarro great."
Sbarro is offering free "first tastes" in cities across the country with its "Slice of Italy Tour." Throughout October, during National Pizza Month, two antique 1940's pizza trucks will travel to 25 cities, serving thousands of Americans the new recipe.
"We're so sure the country is going to love our new pizza that in many places, the first taste will be on us," Greco said. "As part of Sbarro's long-standing commitment to giving back to the communities where we do business, we will also leverage the tour as a platform to support food banks throughout the country."
At every tour stop, donations will be accepted for the free slices, and the funds raised will be given to local area food banks.
The dual-coast tour kicks off in New York City and Los Angeles with stops in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta; Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Fla.; Irvine, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego, Calif.; Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz.; and Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, Texas.
Following the U.S. launch, the new Sbarro pizza recipe will be introduced at international locations.
Since coming on board as CEO in February, Greco has been working to turn the Sbarro brand around after it filed for Chapter 11 protection last year. Initiatives have included new pasta recipes, as well, in addition to a remodeled restaurant atmosphere. Greco said his goal was to turn Sbarro into the "preeminent Italian fast casual brand worldwide."
Read more about food and beverage introductions.