I didn’t want to hijack a thread so I will start a new one. Houston Pizza make a real good point about NAPO.

What exactly is it that they do anyways? The only time we hear from them is when we get our renewal notice
I am a member and have been for a couple years, I pulled the following from the website. To me it looks like the best services are for the corporate vendors, they get all our contact info, our direct mail, but whats in it for the pizza operator? We seriously need some sort of REAL place that we can pay the 100 or 200 dollars to and receive some sort of benefit, If we had some sort of united front we could get better rates on heath care, we could have an advocate that looks into things like the pizza out of schools, we could set up an in-house printing company and mail house. If NAPO is successfully selling or bartering our info than there has to be some demand for it. I feel there would be a lot we could do for our industry, unfortunately most operators like myself have very little time in the day to put forth an endeavor.
The primary goal of the National Association of Pizzeria Operators is to create a “community” of pizzeria operators and their suppliers, where working with one another becomes a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Member Benefits -
Your membership packet will include a complimentary registration for the International Pizza Expo in the Las Vegas Convention Center. You will also receive a free subscription to Pizza Today magazine and free check recovery service through checXchange.
Corporate Vendors
*Email blast of your marketing message to over 20,000 pizza professionals…four times a year

*Direct- mail database of the entire NAPO membership list…six times a year

*$250 Pizza Expo booth discount coupon for International Pizza Expo

*Your company will be listed in both the Pizza Today buyers’ guide and the Pizza Expo aisle guide

  • Your company contact information and a direct link to your Web site listed under every category of product you provide to the industry.

We had been members for awhile and then dropped it because the services they were “offering” us as discounted services – was nothing that we needed or interested in. We only recently started membership again three years ago because our non-hired insurance company told us that we could only get their discounted insurance rates if we belonged to NAPO. So we signed up once again. If it were not for that reason, we probably wouldn’t even spend the money.

I agree with Rockstar – it seems the greater benefit for this paying membership seems to be for the corporate sponsors and not the members. I believe that as a professional organization of and for pizza operators they should be doing more than just sending us advertising a couple of times a year.

Maybe I’ll send them an e-mail today.

I signed up this year to get the “free” registration for pizza expo. I don’t even get the benefit of the magazine subscription because they will not send it to Canada.

If they are going to present themselves as an “association of pizza operators” they should be working on issues that benefit the membership, not just those who want to sell to the membership.

  1. Go after regulatory issues of interest to the membership like this pizza lunch thing that presents pizza as a junk food.
  2. Get to work on rational pricing for cheese. How about a cheese pricing contract for the membership with a national food vendor like Sysco? It could have a sliding scale for volume, but let’s get away from this broken CME pricing model and roller coaster on prices! The big chains have contract pricing and taken together, the indi shops are bigger than any one of them.
  3. Get to work on the insurance thing. The existing NAPO program is a good start, but it is a cookie cutter program, and if your business model does not fit, there is no benefit. For example, the program does not accomodate stores that own their own cars.

I sent an e-mail this morning asking what they were doing for us (if anything) and why we should join. I also pointed out some of the issues that Rockstar and Bodega posted regarding what kind of professional organization we need as independent owners. We’ll see what they say. After looking around their website, it appears that it’s nothing more than a group that the “other” pizza magazine has put together under the guise of a professional organization – we’ll see if I’m wrong. I can only find “discounted services” available. We’ll see what they say. Maybe it IS time to really have a professional organization formed.

I recieved this email today.

Your suggestion of creating a buyers’ cooperative for ingredients and equipment is a fantastic idea …for a company who’s business doesn’t directly rely on advertising and exhibition budgets. You can imaging how unpopular Pizza Today and Pizza Expo would be if we created a buyers’ group for the sole purpose of driving down the prices of tomato sauce and cheese.

while everything seems nice it does seem they have a monetary interest in the company’s that seem to hold us hostage on a lot of pricing, making it impossible to have our best interest at heart.

The unfortunate message I got was that the Vendors and suppliers have more value in this “association” than do the pizzeria operators. I definitely understand why, given the need for advertising to make profitability. The other side is that the operators are just not as valuable to the overall picture, except as circulation numbers for selling advertising and attendance dollars for their expo.

The line in their response, “Hopefully, through our encouragement, the two will work closely with one another for mutual benefits” (that’s independent operators and suppliers), leaves me with the same belief that the NAPO focus is on the suppliers with a hope that the indies get something out of it. The suppliers are more the customers, with operators being the product sold. I have no ill will at all toward those folks. . . . thye gotta survive as well. If their model is successful for them, then “game on”. It would just feel more honest if they came right out and said it more directly. I mean, they spend more and more print space on the big corporate operations than the smaller indies, so it is not at all a surprise how it all shakes out.

I take their magazine, read their articles, get some value from their print materials and website, and move on. Since I can’t attend the Expo and their insurance doesn’t do much for tiny places like mine, the membership has no real value at all for my business, so I don’t do it. I recommend it to those going to the Expo . . . for those who are large enough to get any attention from the suppliers. Most small operators, not so much.