Anthony's Pizza and Pasta: Make Every Slice Count : Liguria Foods

Have you ever noticed how running a restaurant is a lot like running a political campaign? There’s the intricate preparation, the development of a knowledgeable, well-trained staff, the community outreach and marketing and, most importantly, the development of a great product and menu.

So, it makes sense that John Le Bel, who worked with lobbyists, political fundraisers and elected officials inWashington D.C., would end up becoming the President & CEO of a successful and rapidly growing pizza chain called Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta based in Denver, CO.

I love politics, love the idea of it and the fast-paced nature of it,” says Le Bel. “Running a restaurant is just like running a campaign. You gear up for something, whether a speech or a dinner or an event; then you produce it and then it ends and you do the dishes and go home, only to start anew the next day.” After heading west a few years ago, Le Bel met Henry Mann, who had founded Anthony’s in 1984. Le Bel began working for Mann and eventually purchased the intellectual rights to Anthony’s. Today, there are 25 locations with plans to open more in throughout Colorado and Utah. One of his initial challenges was to rebrand the chain in order to stay relevant in the competitive Denver market, where, he says, Anthony’s is not just competing against pizza places but against all quick service restaurants in the area.

“This is the home of Chipotle so you can imagine how competitive it is,” he says. “I have a $6 lunch and Chipotle has a $6 lunch. People ask themselves where to eat and we have to provide a value and a great product for them as well as a comfortable environment.”

In some ways as much as things have changed, they have stayed the same. Anthony’s was doing “farm to table” before it was trendy. “We buy our vegetables and sustainable products locally and always have. It makes us chuckle to listen to others who are just now getting onboard with that idea.” What makes Anthony’s standout is this attention to what the customer wants. “People expect more from their dining experience, more from their food, more for their families.”

That is why Anthony’s is incorporating the all-natural pepperoni from Liguria Foods. “There is no need to have nitrates in your food and our customers expect us to provide them with the cleanest ingredients. Working with Liguria which takes enormous pride in everything they do, from selecting pork to processing, is right in line with how we want to treat our customers,” notes Le Bel.

On their website, Anthony’s lists 30 Lessons from 30 Years in Business. Among the many things they have learned are:

Always assign the laziest person the most difficult project because they will find the easiest way to complete the task; It’s easy to do something well one time. The hard part is doing it well every time; and Everyone has a bad day now and again. It happens. (We have them too, unfortunately!) Although not an excuse, we are all human. But, No. 1 on the list is a tried and true credo for any successful pizzeria: Make Every Slice Count! If you substitute the word “idea” for “slice”, you could also have a pretty good political slogan.