Monday, December 29, 2008

Gidget Goes Straw Hat Pizza- Cool Calendar

What a great way to kick off the new year, with a trip down memory lane and the good old days of Gidget, Moondoggie and "The Twist."

Thanks to the just-published Straw Hat Pizza Calendar, Californians who grew up riding the surf - and all of the rest of us Midwesterners, Easterners and Southerners who aspired to lead the California lifestyle, can "remember when," each month we flip the calendar pages.

The calendar tracks some of the highlights from the time Straw Hat Pizza opened its doors in 1959 in San Leandro, CA

Guess what the price of gas was at the time?

25 cents.

A bottle of Coca-Cola was just 1o cents; a pound of coffee was just 77 cents... And you could buy a house for $30,000.

And, Barbie made her debut as an American icon, right about the time Straw Hat opened its doors. Other highlights: "The Twist" became the newest dance craze.

As Straw Hat approaches it's 50th birthday, the chain is growing and plans to continue to support and embrace the communities that made it what it is - an awesome place to grab a pizza and make new memories with friends, family, colleagues and teammates!

Now, folks can join the Straw Hat eClub at


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

California’s Favorite Pizza Meets America’s Favorite Candy Dispenser

Straw Hat Restaurants Launches Sweet PEZ Holiday Deal for Diners

Ho, ho, ho…Santa’s got an extra gift this holiday season for Straw Hat diners. Despite tough economic times, Santa and his team are turning Straw Hat’s 58 stores into a “Candy Land” thanks to a special promotion where children, young and old, will receive a legendary PEZ holiday dispenser with every purchase of a kid’s meal.

In the spirit of holiday gift traditions, beginning this week, Straw Hat fans of the iconic PEZ candy will find a Santa, Reindeer, Snowman or Polar Beer in their Straw Hat Kid’s meal. And, for an extra $1.99, they can purchase one of the collectible cartoon dispensers – from Disney characters to Marvel comic heroes, currently the rage on E-Bay where millions of PEZ fans tout themselves as PEZ –Heads.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to bring an American icon into our restaurants at a time when we’re also celebrating five decades of popularity among our loyal pizza customers,” says Jonathan Fornaci, president of Straw Hat Restaurants. “We’re trying to offer value and quality to our customers, especially at a difficult economic time when the ‘special’ things are being pulled away. Americans love PEZ candy and we’re excited to bring this gift to our customers this holiday season.”

Indeed, the promotion unites two American culture and culinary icons: In 2009, Straw Hat is celebrating its 50th anniversary. At the same time, this premiere pizza and restaurant chain is planning a robust expansion across the western and southern states.

Similarly, for more than 80 years, PEZ Candy has been an integral part of American popular culture and continues to be enjoyed by generations of people. Known for its cartoon-head dispensers, PEZ has become a mega collectible item popular among kids and adults alike.

With the addition of chocolate last summer, PEZ now offers 13 flavors of its familiarly shaped candy tablets. Popular flavors include: grape, cherry, raspberry, lemon and orange. THE most popular character: Santa Claus, the premier character for the Straw Hat promotion. The character is PEZ best-seller of all time. “We’re excited to bring PEZ to Straw Hat because their customers are exactly the audience who appreciates the fun that can be found in these novelty candy and toys in one,” said Keith Whitaker, marketing director for PEZ. “It’s fun to partner with another American favorite – pizza.”

In coming months, PEZ plans to introduce several new assortments, which Whitaker says they plan to promote at Straw Hat as well. They include: The Wizard of Oz, Toy Story characters for the re-release of the movie; a Hello Kitty collection and Star Wars.

Enter zip and hit... 1/21/2011 California’s Favorite Pizza Meets Ameri… About Straw Hat Restaurants Founded in 1959, Straw Hat Pizza is the originator of "Genuine California Pizza," comprised of 58 locations in the Western United States. The franchise recently was awarded the prestigious seal of Fair Franchising by the American Association Franchisees & Dealers (AAFD) and awarded “hottest franchise” by America’s Hottest Franchise.

About PEZ Candy, Inc.
An integral part of the American scene for approximately 50 years, PEZ Candy continues to be enjoyed by generations of Americans. PEZ was first marketed as a compressed peppermint candy over 80 years ago in Vienna, Austria. The name PEZ was derived from the German word for peppermint...PfeffErminZ. Today, over 3 billion PEZ Candies are consumed annually in the U.S.alone.PEZ Candy is manufactured in Orange, Connecticut by PEZ CANDY, INC. and marketed through supermarkets, mass merchandisers, variety stores, drug stores, convenience stores, toy chains and gift stores throughout the U.S. and in more than 60 countries across the globe.

For more information please visit: and please follow us on Facebook & Twitter @StrawHatPizza.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ten Reasons a Restaurant Franchise is a Good Investment in this Economy.

Franchise Promises Success in Shaky Economic Times

With the labor market now the worst it’s been since the two prior recessions in 2000 and the early 1990s, and record numbers of people being laid off, a California-based pizza franchise offers a path for entrepreneurs to rise above the financial slowdown.

Straw Hat Pizza and Restaurants is building a road-map of success for aspiring business owners, despite these shaky economic times. Poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary next July, the chain plans to nearly double in size to more than 100 restaurants by the end of 2009 expanding nationally to Arkansas, Arizona, Nevada and beyond.

“For the recently unemployed and others hoping to escape the financial meltdown and push through without missing a beat, our kind of franchise offers a potential course of success,” says Jonathan Fornaci, president of Straw Hat Cooperative Corporation. “It also is empowering to be taking part in business growth and knowing you are doing what you can to ease the unemployment crunch.”

Here are ten reasons a restaurant franchise is a good investment in this economy:
1.    Franchises typically do better tough times. Franchise businesses historically fare pretty well in good economic times, but also in slower economic times. Franchises have learned how to survive in tough markets and even profit during times of recession.

2.    Takes ownership of your future. Best part: as your own boss, you won’t get laid off.

3.     Boosts your income.  Starting a franchise turns owners into an entrepreneurial change maker. Because a franchise comes with a fully-developed business model that has already proven successful in a number of different places and under a number of different circumstances, there’s a good deal more security than any other kind of entrepreneurial endeavor.

4.    Invests in a recession-proof American staple.  Most franchises have a fully-developed track record that instills instant faith and is one of the kinds of businesses that many professionals consider recession-proof.  Restaurant franchises especially are favorable during tough times, because Americans still spend on affordable dining.

5.    Leverages big business marketing. When a business is associated with a franchisor they get help in corporate marketing.

6.    Focuses your hard work on businesses with solid infrastructures. In bad economic times, it’s a good idea to focus on a tried-and-true brand and not a good idea to hop onto anything that looks like a fad.

7.    Greens your business by investing in your local community. Prospective owners can look at the value local franchise restaurants can be, as typically they are community-based hubs that provide an inexpensive meal and a respite for families in hard economic times.

8.    Offers job and career opportunities. Recessions intensify corporate lay-offs, making franchise ownership an attractive opportunity for those seeking new jobs and income.

9.    Provides training and start up support.  A major advantage is that franchises provide training and management services for the property. Because a franchise has a vested interested in the success of each operation, the corporation provides all the necessary training and helps with day-to-day decision making.

10.    Offers competitive advantages and helps secure funding.  Franchises typically offer lower royalty and advertising fees over their traditional restaurants. And, they help prospective owners secure funding for the purchase.

For more information please visit: and please follow us on Facebook & Twitter @StrawHatPizza.