Local, independent pizza-shop owner calls out diners, chain restaurants — and his sales surge

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Spinoza??€™s Pizza

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Glen Brailey has decades of experience as a local, independent restaurant owner and has spent his career competing against chain restaurants, starting when he was in his 20s as co-founder of Dayton's Original Pizza Factory and moving through an extended tenure as founder and owner of Pacchia in the Oregon District, and more recently the founding of Spinoza's Pizza & Salads in the Mall at Fairfield Commons.

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But even Brailey hasn’t seen a market as competitive as today’s, an observation he shared last fall with his customers via a call-to-action email in which he decried  the "oversaturation" of eateries, many of them chains.

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“Will diners reward locally-owned operators with continued visits and referrals? Or will they flock to the newest chain restaurant to ‘check it out?’ Unfortunately, frequent (lines) observed at ... area chain restaurants seem to indicate the latter.”

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Customer response to that message has been quite positive, Brailey told this news outlet.

“I received a 35 percent ‘open rate’ for this email, the highest rate I have ever enjoyed .... Sales were up considerably since I sent it out, and numerous guests commented on reading it.”

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Brailey’s restaurant is one of a handful of locally owned eateries in and around the Mall at Fairfield Commons, which has attracted several new-to-the-Dayton-market chains in recent years. The mall itself also recently added the locally owned and independent Flyboy’s Deli and will soon add a locally owned barbecue restaurant, Flyby BBQ.

Here is the full text of Brailey’s email:

"Is Beavercreek Overstaturated with Restaurants?

by Glen Brailey, Proprietor of Spinoza's Pizza

A recent article in Restaurant Business Magazine concludes that the restaurant industry is way oversaturated on a national basis. Beavercreek seems to be no execption to this phenomenon. While 2018 has seen a number of restaurant closings in the Beavercreek area, new ones keep popping up faster than weeds. This year we have seen, or will see, the opening of numerous new restaurant operations, most of which are located in the Fairfield Commons Mall area. Scheduled to open are Black Rock Bar & Grill, Giordano's Chicago Pizza, Rusty Taco, Flyby BBQ, Jason's Deli, and Another Broken Egg. This comes on the heels of the recently opened MacKenzie River Pizza, BJ's, Bravo's, Flyboys Deli, Fusian, Melt Bar & Grill, MOD Pizza, Primanti Bros., and Chuy's Mexican Eatery.

Black Rock, a cook-your-own on lava rock concept, will open this fall in the former site of Don Pablo's, a Mexican eatery that closed permanently in 2016. The company was granted approval to demolish the Don Pablo's building and construct the new, 8,000-square-foot restaurant, which will be able to accommodate about 290 people.

Giordano's, opening in early 2019, will add another 160 or so seats for guests willing to wait the hour or so for the chain's famous super-duper thick crust pizza pie monstrosity.

Spinoza's Pizza & Salads at the Mall at Fairfield Commons. 2009 file photo
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Spinoza's Pizza & Salads at the Mall at Fairfield Commons. 2009 file photo

"For years the restaurant industry has earned much of its growth from consumers increasing the number of times per week that they dine out. This increase in dining frequency, partially spurred by the growth of numerous chain operations, also helped launch new quick serve resturant (QSRs) concepts like Blaze, MOD Pizza, and others. But as consumers discover a renewed joy in cooking at home, and as home delivery from grocery stores and other non-traditional outlets expand, the simple truth becomes obvious…Beavercreek (and the rest of the nation) is at a saturation point. Who will be hurt the most? Much of that depends on how consumers choose to spend their dining-out dollars. Will diners reward locally-owned operators with continued visits and referrals? Or will they flock to the newest chain restaurant to "check it out"? Unfortunately, frequent queues observed at Mac River, BJs, and other area chain restaurants seem indicate the later.

Competition for diners is not the only challenge facing local restaurant owners. Restaurants have hired so many people that the industry is now in the midst of one of the worst labor shortages in its history. To make matters worse, the deep-pocketed chain restaurants drive up local labor rates by offering above market wages and by initial over-staffing.

Thank you for supporting locally owned and operated restaurants, especially those with homegrown pizza and live music!"