Say it ain’t dough: Even pizza isn’t immune from
the crusty economy. “The downturn is definitely affecting us,” admits
Peter Cooperstein, a Pizza Expo regular whose 11 Amici’s East Coast
Pizzerias in Northern California have suffered same-store sales
declines in part because corporate pizza parties are getting sliced.
Pizza Expo EVP Bill Oakley acknowledges the concern among the 10,000
operators expected this year, but still believes the “drop-down effect”
— diners opting for a nice pizzeria rather than a fancier Italian
restaurant — will cushion the industry. A stretch? Maybe, but it can’t
compare to Bruno Di Fabio, whose 39.9-inch dough stretch last year won
the World Pizza Games, an annual highlight of the Expo. — DL
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