It’s about quality
Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach opened its doors at our first location in 1990, but a lot of lessons about quality vs price we’re learned before we decided to open our own Little restaurant. I’m sure anyone reading this has noticed how the national chain restaurants have recently focused on advertising price. Don’t misunderstand the point trying to be made here,Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach always intends to keep our prices competitive with other restaurants but never will do so by sacrificing quality.
I recently was watching TV and noticed that the “big chain” pizza stores had all these ads running about their latest breakthrough apps that you can track the delivery driver. They’ll tell you exactly where he is and what time he or she will be at your door. I thought to myself that’s really cool but how much did they spend on that system when they could have produced a better product.
I’m not trying to insult the “big” guys here, they have stores all over the world so maybe they’re on the right track and Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach will remain just a neighborhood restaurant forever. That’s fine with me, I kinda like it like that.
Early in my restaurant career I noticed several places that have made changes to their menus and the way they make their products all in the name of better profits and better bottom lines I guess. Here’s the problem I have with that, at Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach we take feeding your family seriously. That is to say that we still live in this community and we still work in our store. Hell we eat here 7 days a week so I can honestly say that at Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach we will never serve anything we wouldn’t serve our own families because 7 days a week we are feeding our families.
Every year more and more restaurants add more bells and whistles to the decor and the experience of dining out but they forget about what we are all in this business for in the first place. Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach makes food, plain and simple. We may have nice new furniture and prettied up our dining room, we hung TVs all over the restaurant and now we have a covered patio that looks out to the ocean. We even added full liquor bar to serve our loyal guests that may just want an adult beverage.
There have been many changes over the years at Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach. Since we moved to this location in 2018 we have gone from 10 employees to 45. The dining room used to seat 68 now we seat 150 inside and outside on the patio. Beer and wine offerings have given way to a full service liquor bar.
All of these changes have provided more than their share of challenges. I’ll always be the first to admit we’ve had our share of growing pains. Thankfully business is doing well and it’s a bitter sweet realization that with all of these changes and with all the new folks that have discovered Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach as the place they call their favorite spot. The one thing that we refuse to compromise or change in any way (except to improve on) is our food.
Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach sees more than our share of sunrises. Not because we’re overly sentimental but because you have to get up early to have fresh baked bread ready for the lunch crowd. The 100% whole milk mozzarella we use for our pizza is best if it’s grated daily and not pre-shredded with added chemicals to keep it from clumping up. Hand rolled fried cheese in 3 varieties is a labor of love that literally takes hours to produce for each batch, but we’ve been to other places and been disappointed by the frozen pre-made version of one of our favorite appetizers. Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach thinks the effort is worth the work. Honestly where else can you choose from 3 different types of fried cheese.
Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach also insists on making all of our calzones and Stromboli to order. Again as restaurant patrons ourselves we have notice that you don’t get what you want when ordering calzones or Stromboli you tend to get what’s made not what you want. Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach doesn’t think that’s the way to do things, at least not for us.
Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach also doesn’t offer pizza by the slice. When you walk into a place that offers ”by the slice” you really have no idea how long it’s been sitting on the shelf.
Years ago Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach had the opportunity to attend the national pizza convention held in Las Vegas every year. It’s a really big expo and you get to meet and swap ideas with other restaurant owners from all over the country. I found myself at a particular seminar that detailed how to control inventory and control costs to maximize profits. What business owner wouldn’t be interested in that? I had the pleasure and very eye opening chance to talk to a lady that owned 15 chain pizza stores in the Dallas Texas area.
As we sat at the seminar swapping stories it became very apparent that we didn’t speak the same language. She was an extremely successful owner and really was a nice person but the more we talked I began to wonder if we were even in the same business. I’ll call her “Sally” for this story because I really don’t remember her name and I’m not trying to insult her or how she did business. Anyway as Sally and I talked she told me how her store counts every item, every night before closing. I mean every item down to the lids for the to-go cups. This idea seemed crazy to me and it wasn’t until years later that I realized that she owned 15 stores (7 of which she had never set foot in) and I owned and operated 1.
Sally and I talked for a few minutes and while I couldn’t comprehend not working in your own store she was even more baffled by the idea that we actually made our own dough and freaky baked bread from scratch “in store” everyday all day. Sally asked me at least 3 times,”so wait you mean a truck comes in daily and delivers you dough and bread right?” I replied “no Sally I mean a truck brings us bags of flour and other ingredients to mix our own dough,“ “so how do you roll dough into dough balls for pizza what kind of machine to you use?” I chuckled a bit to myself and answered “my mom named me Dave, dough rolling is what I do.” I was young back then and really thought Sally was in the wrong business, but in actuality Sally and I weren’t in the same business.
Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach is a family run restaurant that serves our local community that we live in. Sally ran 15 restaurants that could serve any community without her ever visiting the individual store or town she was operating in. I applaud the business model but not the idea of it. Pappagallo’s Satellite Beach is my home, has been since 1990. Someday maybe there will be more than one but there will never be any that I don’t spend time in, Working in the kitchen spinning a few pies and meeting the folks who support us. I take pride in the fact that people come here to enjoy a meal when they have so many other choices out there.
This is why I believe so strongly in quality over price, you can count all the to go lids you want and open 100 stores but if you aren’t proud of the food you make, all day every day, then I believe you shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry.
I’m sure Sally went on to open more stores probably doesn’t even remember meeting that kid from Florida that was crazy enough to watch countless sunrises while enjoying being able to serve the freshest bread in town.
On the outside chance that Sally might read this story someday, I still don’t know how many to-go lids we have.