Ideas: Tell Your Company’s Story

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “Handle with CARE — Motivating and Retaining Employees” (McGraw-Hill 2002). To order this book, go to the Products section of Barbara’s website.


Tomaso’s Pizza in a small town in Iowa has an insert in each of its pizzas that tells the customer “The Tomaso Story:”

Dear Friend:

My story begins with the first pizza I ate in 1965. I remember eating at Naso’s in the 1500 block of 1st Avenue NE. My drum teacher, R.L.Smith (yes, that Smitty) took a few of us from the small band at St. Matthews School. I ate a plain cheese pizza and was not impressed.

In high school my family ordered many pizzas, mostly from Naso’s and Tony’s. By the time senior year (1969) came around, I was a weekend fixture at Tony’s. Life was good. Tony’s was action central and that was there I wanted to be.

For college I went to Mankato State in Mankato, Minnesota. I wanted to get away from home and 250 miles seemed like a good distance. My favorite pizza in college was Pagliai’s. Since I discovered Pagliai’s in Minnesota, I often ate at the home base Pagliai’s in Iowa City.

What Happened?

The world became “modern.” Chain pizza stores were located in each quadrant. Now we could all drive a short way and get the same pizza. Dough was shipped in frozen and thawed at the store. Precooked sausage (little uniform pellets) showed up on uniform circles of dough. Vegetables were minced in a meat grinder. Consistency was in, but something terrible had happened!

We Forgot About Quality

I say “we” because my family and I ate a lot of those pizzas. As I perceived the quality slipping, I said, “That’s it. I can’t take this any more. I want a real pizza.” (I can be irrational at times!) Real pizza is hard to find, so I decided to…

Make My Own at Home

My first efforts were a bit of a trial. My kids, Nick and Abbey, wouldn’t eat them, my wife Kathy ate some but offered a lot of suggestions, and our dog Amy loved every bite! I had to refrigerate the leftovers for Amy since my production outpaced her consumption!

When Nick and Abbey started eating my pizzas, I knew I was improving. When they asked me to make them for their friends, I really knew I was on the right track! Six years of trying different recipes gave me an understanding of Tony Naso’s words to me at age 88, 23 years after he retired. Tony said, “This is a complex thing. The combination of the right dough, the importance of a good sauce, and high quality toppings give you a lot of variables to get screwed up,”

This is the reason average pizza is easy to find and real pizza is an adventure to seek out. I didn’t start flour flying six years ago so I could go public and serve you today. It just happened.

If Tomaso’s has a place in the pizza world, it is because God has put enough good thoughts in my heart and enough good people in my life to help me.


P.S. Please come back and visit. (Go to the kitchen door on the right side of the bar.)

Note: Handwritten on the inside top of the pizza box is a note from Tomaso: Marshalls, Thanks for ordering this pizza. If you have any comments, please call my home phone and tell my tape (phone number).


Have you ever written your organization’s story? Do you use this to motivate both customers and employees?

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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