“Personality is a big part of Benny’s success. It’s what makes people proud to bring their friends in and gives them a real connection to our restaurant. It’s not just the size of our 28-inch pies or the speed of our slices, but our simple and honest presentation that gets people saying “I want a slice of Benny’s,” not just a slice of pizza.
What’s The Virginia Slice? We combined thin New York style with the Jumbo Slice concept of DC to create arguably the most perfect sized slice. Our custom five-cheese blend has enough flavor to let one cheese slice stand up as a solid meal $4. The best slice for the best state.
Empowering pizza makers — Simplicity is part of it, but allowing our staff to be proud of the pizza they are making is how you get a perfect slice. Of course, our customers are quick to let us know if a slice isn’t up to Benny’s standards, haha. It’s rare that the person making pizza gets to interact with the customer — see them smile or gasp or take pizza selfies. Seeing that joy really makes every slice feel more like an accomplishment than just a product of the job.
Students are always on the move... and they’re relatively broke. A quick $5 meal is perfect for them. But honestly this goes for any given downtown with foot traffic, not just college towns. However, college kids do drink more and no better way to end a night than with pizza.
On growth — 20 stores now, with three more currently under construction. We recently completed our franchising package and are starting to explore that path, but we still enjoy opening our own shops and have a few more towns that we would love to be in before we start really trying to sell the Benny’s brand.
After we updated our Web site, we started getting e-mails every other day about towns that needed a Benny’s. People with our same values were reaching out telling their story of why their hometown needed our pizza. It wasn’t just people looking to make a quick dollar. $75k and 1,000 e-mails from lawyers later, and we are finally ready to start franchising.
On location names — We change the last name with every new location to relate to the town we are in. Benny Pennello’s is in reference to NoDa, the art neighborhood of Charlotte. Pennello means paintbrush in Italian. In Pittsburgh, Fierro means iron, which is natural to the Steel City. Although each location is Benny’s, the last name makes it clear that we are a unique part of that town and not a cookie-cutter chain with no regard to our surroundings.”