Building a solid team of trainers who could pass their skills on to employees was of great importance to Michael Dene and his management team at Michael’s on Naples and Michael’s Pizzeria. This propensity for preparation placed both brands among the lucky few who didn’t suffer any major upsets during an opening.
Dene’s first project, Michael’s on Naples, began serving up fine Italian in 2007. In 2010, Dene decided to make his desire for a restaurant that served true blue, paper-thin Italian pizza a reality. From this came three Michael’s Pizzerias: Naples Island, Rancho Mirage and downtown Long Beach. The downtown Long Beach location is the newest addition to the green, white and red team, opening just recently in 2013.
To build their brand in cohesion with the preferences of their customers, management hosted suggestion boxes that allowed customers to give input on elements such as decor, facilities and the menu. “The most responses received were that we needed an outdoor patio,” says Massimo Aronne, general manager.
“We prefer to build from scratch because the model for each of our locations is unique,” explains Aronne. The need to conduct research varied for each location and was, in some cases, unnecessary. “Michael Dene has owned a house in Rancho Mirage for more than 30 years and saw the amazing potential at The River at Rancho Mirage,” Aronne adds, “For the downtown Long Beach location, we established a great relationship with Gabe (Gabriel Gordon) from Beachwood BBQ and he was the insider on the promenade expansion and the ambassador with the landlord.”
To ensure an optimum potential for customer satisfaction, the menu at Michael’s Pizzeria was expanded with each successive opening. They pledge to serve pizza that tastes as if straight from the streets of Naples. With sauces, dough, and cheeses made from scratch daily, patrons can’t expect anything less than authenticity.
To learn more, please visit Michael’s on Naples.
Michael’s is part of our series highlighting restaurant groups and chains founded and flourishing in Orange County that were featured in our May June 2013 print issue of Great Taste Magazine. Click here for the entire article.