Nick Fallucca is passionate about pizza and people. He’s the Chief Product and Innovation Officer at Palermo’s Pizza, a company that’s been an Italian frozen food staple in the Midwest and beyond for over 50 years.
In this episode of Manufacturing Happy Hour, we sit down with Nick to talk about all things pizza and what goes on behind-the-scenes in food manufacturing. He takes us through the challenges of packaging, experimenting with new ideas, and competing for shelf space. Nick also shares why building relationships with customers is so important and why you need to be passionate about what you do. We round off our talk on the importance of community and the ultimate debate of whether pineapple belongs on pizza.
3 Quick Things from this Episode
- One of the biggest challenges in food manufacturing is balancing the need for unique, innovative products with popularity and sales. You might have a great pizza that just doesn’t sell well enough to justify the shelf space.
- The key to selling to any kind of customer is to ask, “why would someone want your product? What’s in it for them?”
- To succeed in a highly competitive market, you need to be passionate. You need to see the business as not just a job but your life as well.
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- “You either innovate or you die.”
- “A business is just a person behind a desk. It’s not like you’re selling to some robot. There’s still a person making those decisions.”
- “You’ve got to be so passionate about it that it’s not just your job. It’s kind of your life.”
- “When you open a pizza…there’s nothing hidden. All the ingredients are front and center. So, making a great pizza every time is not easy.”
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What We Discuss with Nick
- What it’s like growing up in a family business
- The challenges of pizza manufacturing
- How to create a great product that sells
- Why it’s important to build relationships in sales
- What it takes to be successful and competitive in manufacturing
- The importance of community and charity
- Palermo’s Pizza, Nick’s family business and award-winning pizza brand
- Only the Paranoid Survive, Andrew S. Grove’s book on overcoming challenges as a business leader
- Start With Why, Simon Sinek’s popular book for leaders
- Hosed On Brady, one of Chris’ go-to Brady Street bars
- The Roman Coin, a craft beer bar in Milwaukee that Nick recommends
- Arizmendi Bakery, a bakery and pizzeria in Emeryville, California
- Liguria Bakery, a San Francisco bakery famous for its fresh focaccia