|Founded||Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Headquarters||Columbus, Ohio, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro (founders)
Steve Udovic CEO and President
|Products||Italian-American cuisine, pizza, pasta, salads|
Sbarro, LLC is a chain of pizzeria that specializes in New York style pizza by the slice and other Italian-American cuisine. In 2011, the company was ranked 15th in foreign systemwide sales among U.S. based quick-serve and fast-casual companies by QSR Magazine. In 2008, Sbarro was rated the #1 Quick Service Restaurant in the Italian segment by Entrepreneur magazine. It has held this title multiple times over the years. Not all reports are positive, as the food quality has been criticized, with a suggestion that this was the major factor that led to two bankruptcies. Sbarro has over 800 locations in 33 countries. Sbarro stores are located in shopping malls, airports, service areas, and college campuses. Sbarro has locations in The Pentagon, American naval bases and casinos.
Sbarro was founded in 1956 by Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro. The couple and their three sons, Joseph, Mario, and Anthony immigrated to America from Naples, Italy. The same year, the Sbarro family opened their first salumeria (an Italian grocery store) at 1701 65th Street and 17th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, which became popular for its fresh food and Italian fare. Its original location closed down in 2004.
The success of the Sbarro Salumeria led to the opening of additional locations in the New York City metropolitan area. In 1970, Sbarro opened its first mall-based restaurant in Brooklyn's Kings Plaza Shopping Center. One of their busiest outlets was located in the World Trade Center mall.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 4, 2011. At the time it was ranked by Pizza Today as the country's fifth largest pizza chain. It was the third largest pizza chain to declare bankruptcy in less than a year. Earlier Round Table Pizza (ranked #10) and Uno Chicago Grill (ranked #11) through its parent Uno Restaurant Holdings filed bankruptcy. Uno has reemerged. In November 2011, Sbarro was granted court approval to emerge from bankruptcy under a plan requiring restructuring and ceding ownership to lenders; 25 sites were closed.
In January 2012, James J. Greco was brought in as CEO and President of Sbarro to implement a turnaround plan as the company emerged from bankruptcy. Sbarro underwent a rebranding that included updating its pizza recipe, food offerings, and branding, as well as bringing high quality, fresh ingredients back to the forefront of the menu. Sbarro's rebranding initiative featured handmade daily hand-stretched dough, 100% whole milk mozzarella and San Marino region tomato sauce on their New York-style pizzas.
On March 15, 2012, Sbarro announced a franchise agreement with Upper Crust Foods Pvt. Ltd. to open restaurants in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The franchisee will develop and operate the restaurants. The first outlet opened in Chembur, Mumbai. In July 2015 Sbarro announced that they planned to expand to 50 outlets in two years, from the 17 they had then.
In 2014, the Fiscal Times listed Sbarro as the worst fast food restaurant chain in America. In May 2015, Yahoo! Food featured Sbarro as the second-best pizza chain in America, among competitors Dominos, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut.
Sbarro announced on June 3, 2014 that they had exited from bankruptcy protection on June 2 based on a reorganization plan as approved by the court on May 19. 182 sites were closed and the company announced plans to move its headquarters from New York to Columbus, Ohio.
In January 2015, Sbarro's logo changed from a design resembling the Italian national flag, to an outline of a pizza in red and green, with the words “NYC.1956” to recollect the establishment’s Brooklyn origins. The company is also remodeling many of its eateries, including locations at Orlando's Mall at Millenia, Grapevine Mills in Dallas, and Dolphin Mall in Miami. In May 2015, Sbarro remade their company website to update their brand image with an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly format to make the site readable across all devices.
Cucinova Urban Italian
In October 2013, Sbarro opened the first location of their fast-casual concept called Cucinova. The restaurants feature artisan Neapolitan-style pizzas made to order with fresh, high-end ingredients and baked in woodstone ovens in under three minutes. The concepts also offer customizable pasta bowls and made-to-order salads. Cucinova has two locations in Columbus and one in Cincinnati, which opened on October 9, 2014.
In the media
In the 1985 film, Krush Groove features the Fat Boys at an all-you-can-eat Sbarro buffet, where they perform the rap, "All You Can Eat". The film was shot at the Sbarro location on 49th Street and Broadway in New York City.
In the seventh season of satirical-sitcom show 30 Rock, the episode Stride of Pride features a minor fictional character named Pizzarina Sbarro, the heiress to the Sbarro company, who is seeing Jack Donaghy.
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- Peter Debruge. "‘The Bronze’ Film Review: Melissa Raunch Is World’s Grouchiest Gymnast - Variety". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
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