Back to Neapolitan basics for national pizza chain

November 21, 2012 by  

October was National Pizza Month, and Melville-based Sbarro took that designation to heart, giving away more than 35,000 slices of pie to promote its new Neapolitan recipe. To promote the roll-out, the company used a pair of vintage 1940s pizza trucks to deliver the complimentary pizza.

Before rolling out the new pizza, the company shut down all of its outlets for training in the procedures prescribed by the new recipe, which includes dough made freshly every day. The training also provided an opportunity for “re-certification” of employees in the company’s “heritage, values and culture of hospitality.”

In conjunction with the introductory tour, Sbarro raised funds for food banks in the various cities visited by its pizza ambassadors. The company was able to raise more than $6,000, all of which was turned over to the local food banks. Corporate representatives emphasized in a press release that Sbarro has historically taken its connection to the local community as an important part of its ethos.

Pizza originated in Naples, and the traditional Neapolitan style is a crispy crust topped with Mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. Though local variations are accepted, the simple, rustic formula of Naples is revered by denizens of the region. Nonetheless, the style is rarely showcased on American menus. Sbarro’s initiative and the publicity supporting it mark an effort to differentiate the company from its competitors. The launch may be a boon to the printing companies that cater to producing coupon flyers.

Sbarro opened its doors in 1956 in Brooklyn as an Italian grocery store, and has since grown to become a shopping mall staple at more than 1,000 locations worldwide.