• Pizzeria Uno, the birthplace of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, wants to become the preferred pizza brand within the lodging industry.
  • A Chicago-area hotel is the first to convert its restaurant into a Pizzeria Uno location, with its grand opening scheduled for August 26.

Related: Jonathan Porter: Chicago-style pizza and where to eat it

Pizzeria Uno, the neighborhood pizzeria franchise known worldwide as the birthplace of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, has set its sights on a new industry: hospitality.

The brand has celebrated several successful hotel conversions this year, according to a press release. It has since launched a strategic plan to find additional qualified hotel owners across the country looking to revamp their food and beverage program by bringing a well-known brand into their establishment.

The first of these hotel conversions to open is a Chicago-area hotel that held its soft launch earlier this year and is now gearing up for its grand opening on August 26th. This new Pizzeria Uno location, previously an unbranded restaurant, is located in Schiller Park, serving the Rosemont and O’Hare areas as part of a soon-to-be-converted Delta hotel. This marks the first time Pizzeria Uno has expanded its original Chicago deep-dish recipe outside its iconic Downtown location, which opened nearly 80 years ago.

“To bring the iconic Pizzeria Uno brand to our hotel has been an amazing opportunity,” said Victor Ravago, who is part of Bravo Hospitality Group, the franchisee behind the opening. “We have seen revenue increases from day one. We are not only seeing increased hotel guest traffic, but we are also seeing customers from the local community frequent the restaurant, which hadn’t happened previously. The well-respected Pizzeria Uno name is a draw for sure. And we proudly serve our guests with a top-notch guest experience.”

Pizzeria Uno’s business model offers hotel owners like Ravago and the Bravo Hospitality Group a chance to make more from their food and beverage program, the chain says, thanks to five lucrative revenue streams: increased revenue from dine-in for hotel guests; take-out for hotel guests; take-out and/or delivery sales from the local community; dine-in revenue from people in the surrounding area who typically would not dine at a hotel restaurant; and the potential addition of group sales driven by an experienced group sales team and system.

“As the first restaurant to open as part of our hotel conversion strategy, this is really our proof-of-concept and is a big moment for the Pizzeria Uno brand overall,“ said Erik Frederick, CEO of Pizzeria Uno. “Even before their official grand opening, the Bravo Hospitality Group and their hotel are already seeing nearly double the food and beverage sales that they saw pre-conversion.”

Related: Why Chicago is more than a deep-dish kind of town

But the increased business isn’t the only benefit of partnering with Pizzeria Uno, according to the company. Franchisees also receive in-depth support in all aspects of the business, from planning to build-out, operations to supply chain, and marketing and finance.

Additionally, since hotel operators already have most of the equipment and kitchen in place, conversion costs are minimized, and owners can be confident they will have all the support they need to run the restaurant more efficiently than they typically would as an independent entity.

“The support provided by the Pizzeria Uno franchise has been tremendous,” Ravago said. “We feel like we have a true partner in all aspects of the business, and the experience in the company is quite extraordinary. The franchise touches every aspect of the business, so we can focus on running the restaurant and the hotel. To cap it off, all of the employees have a deep passion for the Pizzeria Uno brand. We feel that same passion for providing a quality product and a superior dining experience at our restaurant.”

Since the Chicago-area hotel held its soft launch in March, two additional Pizzeria Uno hotel conversions have already opened across the country, including one outside Detroit and one in Northern Indiana. Others are currently being built out, the company says, and even more are in the pipeline.

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