The best of NAPICS 2016

Linda Green's Picks:

The Cheese Hog

I always look for different and efficient products when I go to a trade show. At NAPICS, I found Palazzolo’s Cheese Hog. This American-made machine can take a block of cheese, weighing from 25 to 50 pounds, and grate or shred it in a minute. It’s great for pizzerias looking for the convenience of grated cheese without the waxy, prepackaged, shredded food-service options. If you like using freshly grated cheese on your pizzas but need a more efficient way to prepare it, then check out the Cheese Hog. 513-528-7016, thecheesehog.com

Churchill Container

I love a good to-go cup. It’s a walking billboard for your business and often gets used and reused until you can’t read the cup anymore.Churchill Container, a leading American manufacturer of plastic cups, drinkware and containers, has a high-quality printed plastic cup. This one-stop shop offers disposable cups, printed souvenir cups and high-end IML decoration under one roof.With Churchill’s fast lead times, low minimums and award-winning creative services, how could you lose with this promotion? 913-422-6416, churchillcontainer.com

PDQ POS

PMQ has focused this year on getting the pizza industry “Wired Up and Fired Up” foronline ordering and increased sales, so I was excited to see that PDQ has a handy e-book, 7 Essential Ingredients for the Best POS System for Your Business. It’s filled with important, helpful information such as must-have features, payment and network security and full-cost transparency. Anyone who’s looking to buy or upgrade their POS system needs to download a free copy today at pdqpos.com/pizza-pos-buyers-guide. 877-968-6430

Venezia Bread Company

I can’t visit a pizza show and not find food to talk about.Venezia offers a delicious par-baked crust that can be either crispy or chewy with a light texture.I found this crust to be very high quality. It could also be a great time-saver for your pizzeria.Have you thought about adding take-and-bakesto your grab-and-go offerings?This crust could hold up to the heartiest of toppings. 330-518-1921, mneely@veneziabread.com

Frozen Solutions

What is the “wow” that sets your pizzeria apart from others?At NAPICS, I found color-changing utensils from Frozen Solutions that might just be the “wow” you are looking for.Kids will love the Magic line of spoons, straws and cups. They change colors—from pink to purple or white to blue, for example—when exposed to cold temperatures. They’re perfect for ice cream and frozen yogurt and can be customized for your shop. 888-698-1711, frozensolutions.com

Tom Boyles'Picks:

RepeatRewards Loyalty Programs

I see a lot of marketing ideas at trade shows, but RepeatRewards stood out. They are an all-in-one marketing solution andhandle everything from getting customers in the door through keeping them coming back. Their services include loyalty programs, gift card and e-gift card programs, custom mobile apps, social media management and online ordering. Best of all, their services can be used independently or together. With their online ordering platform, customers can place orders and earn loyalty points at the same time, which results in a higher check average! 866-877-2737, RepeatRewards.com

Catering Stone Warmers and Chillers

This new product provides a hot and cold solution for delivery, catering and other uses. The Catering Stone is a block that can be frozen for use as a cold table for catering or boiled in hot water to keep dishes heated without flames. That means no messy melted ice to clean up or open-flame or heat-source smell. I really like the fact that they can be inserted into normal hot bags to keep delivered pizza hot at a fraction of the cost of high-tech thermal bags. 888-546-8786, cateringstone.com

Urban Farmer Gluten-Free Products

Like it or not, people with gluten intolerance are demanding more pizza options. If you don’t get their business, your competitor down the street will. That’s why I chose Urban Farmer as one of my best ideas from NAPICS. They offer premade gluten-free pizza crust as well as frozen dough balls and sundried tomatoes, all gluten-free. Their products have no preservatives, additives, colors, flavors, trans fats or refined sugars, and they’re kosher-certified. 815-468-7200, urbanfarmergf.com

POS Express

While it may not sound glamorous, POS supplies are important to keep your business running smoothly. If you’re out of paper, your kitchen doesn’t get orders, customers don’t get receipts, and drivers have no idea where they are going. At NAPICS, I discovered POS Express, the leading manufacturer of POS receipt rolls. They supply BPA-free thermal, bond and carbonless rolls and are compatible with most POS printers.One thing I liked was that POS Express manufactures its paper rolls and provides fulfillment services to make sure you get what you need fast. As Micros is one of the top POS systems in pizzerias, POS Express provides rolls and ribbons to support Micros equipment and is a suggested supplier on the Oracle/Micros website. Another advantage: their same-day shipping on orders received by 2:30 p.m. (ET) with Midwest and West Coast manufacturing and fulfillment centers, and all orders are tracked through delivery. All online orders receive free shipping. 877-767-4505, posexpress.com