As the holidays are coming, many people are making a list and checking it twice. For those loved ones who have moved away from their hometown, they often would like a “taste of home” as a gift. We have researched, long and hard, on how to ship Monical’s pizza. So here is the story.
In order for us to ship our Oven-Ready (frozen) pizzas, they have to be manufactured in a USDA-approved facility. To date we haven’t found a manufacturer who can make our pizzas to our standards. We make them in our restaurants and can maintain quality that way, but aren’t able to ship them due to the USDA restriction. We continue to work on this and are making some progress, but don’t yet have a satisfactory solution to the issue.
The biggest challenge to manufacturing the Oven-Ready pizzas on a large scale was the quality. Monical’s dough process requires two days with multiple “hands on” or manual processes. This “handmade” process insures that our doughs (the crust), the heart of our product, maintain the real “Monical’s” texture and taste.
After researching the possibility of producing USDA-approved frozen pizzas ourselves and discovering that it would be cost prohibitive, we began searching for an existing manufacturer. With only one exception every manufacturer we contacted wanted a guarantee of production of units far in excess of our estimates. We first met with this manufacturer in July of 2010 to tour their facility and discuss a potential partnership with them manufacturing our frozen products. After some time spent reviewing and revising a proposed agreement, we were able to begin the production of our first test batch of frozen pizzas in September 2010. Our dough production procedures were quite a bit different than the manufacturer was accustomed to and several modifications to our procedures needed to be made to fit into their production process. Five different product batches were produced in September without achieving the desired crust quality. We continued to work with the manufacturer to achieve our product quality goal. Monical’s started with smaller test batches. 5-10 pizzas went well. So we moved to 50 pizzas. Still successful. However when we made 300 pizzas, the production run uncovered glitches in the process. Because the finished product did not meet our quality standards we decided not to sell the product and instead donated those pizzas to a local food pantry. To date we have not been able to develop a process that will produce the infamous Monical’s crunch, flavor and aroma. And isn’t that what you want? So we will continue to investigate but wanted to be sure our loyal customers knew the “real” story.
Everyone knows Monical’s for the Family Pleaser, the Salad Dressing, and the Breadsticks (are you hungry yet?) but we wanted to highlight another reason why Monical’s truly does “Bring People Together”.
2013 continues our 9+ year partnership with Toys for Tots. Many people only think of Toys for Tots near the holidays. Preparation to pull off the toy drive takes all year.
Toys for Tots started in 1947 in Los Angeles by Major Hendrickson. That year, 5000 toys were collected in LA alone. Now the organization has grown to over 750 areas. In Kankakee County, Monical’s works with Herb Volpe, who is the local coordinator for the county. Herb handles distributing the collection boxes, coordinating volunteers, collection and sorting of toys. He works with over 70 businesses and in 2012, Herb and his team collected 11,733 toys, 859 books and 445 stocking stuffers.
Monical’s Pizza Restaurant in Bourbonnais is particularly successful with the toy drive. We spoke with Jon the manager to find out their secret. His answer: EMPLOYEES! Besides the generous Bourbonnais community, the Monical’s staff adds to the collection to help even more kids receive gifts on Christmas.
The Toys for Tots collection boxes will begin appearing in October. Monical’s is happy to partner with Toys for Tots again in 2013 and together with your help, we cannot wait to see how successful this year’s toy drive will be!
Here is an amazing recipe that was submitted by John Sales, Jr., a loyal guest and one of our biggest facebook fans! He says: “I’ve been known to refer to Meatloaf as FOTG ‘Food Of The Gods’ with this recipe it’s closer to the truth!!”
If you are not near a Monical’s location, you can order our dressing online by clicking here.
Find this and other recipes right here on our blog by clicking our ‘Recipes’ link above (or click here).
Christmas is a time of joy, community and goodwill. It is a time of giving and helping those who are less fortunate than us. This year, Monical’s Pizza made it happen during its annual holiday meeting on Monday, December 10th in Bloomington, IL.
During the Holiday Meeting, attendees donated non-perishable food items, which prior to being given to the Midwest Food Bank, were used to create a (temporary) indoor miniature golf course. This went to prove that sometimes it’s ok to play with your food. When finished, it was determined that 3,172 items (or 7,428 pounds) of food plus and additional $415 were donated to the Midwest Food Bank, which supplies over half of the food banks in Illinois.
In lieu of having a gift exchange, Monical’s managers, corporate support staff, franchise owners and vendors attending their Holiday Meeting were asked to bring an unwrapped toy donation for Toys for Tots. The Monical’s Team in attendance helped Central Illinois residents by donating nearly two vans full of gifts at this event. Monical’s Pizza restaurants are also collection sites, where guests and restaurant staff can also make toy donations.
The McLean County Toys for Tots is celebraring it’s 20th Anniversary this year. Matt Drat accepted Monical’s toy donations on behalf of the organization. Their goal for the county this year is 20,000 toys for more than 6000 children.
Monical’s Pizza would like to thank Central Illinois Produce, Vermilion Valley Produce, Fontanini, Randolph Packing, Busey Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Grand Victoria Casino for helping make their Holiday Meeting a success! A special “Thank You” goes to Delco Foods, Gordon Food Service and Pepsi for donating food which will go to the Midwest Food Bank and for contributing to the success of this annual event!
In addition to Monical’s Pizza, the finalists include BJ’s Restaurants, The Capital Grille, Corner Bakery Cafe, Eat’n Park Restaurants, La Madeleine, Le Pain Quotidien, K&N Management, Longhorn Steakhouse, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McDonald’s, Red Lobster and White Castle.
“These companies represent some of the best workplaces in our industry,” said Joni Thomas Doolin, founder and chief executive of People Report.
The Best Practices awards, which represent industry segments from quick service to casual dining, will be given Nov. 8, during the 18th annual Best Practices Conference in Dallas. People Report said the finalists were evaluated on their retention of both managers and employees, the diversity of their workforces, compensation practices, community involvement, corporate responsibility, employee funds and foundations, and initiatives in sustainable business practices.
Dallas-based People Report provides employment analytics for its members on a monthly basis. Its sister company, Black Box Intelligence, provides weekly restaurant industry financial and market data. Together they report on more than 33,000 restaurant units with one million employees
Mommy gets spaghetti and Nana gets pizza so he’s all set!
The employees and customers at CVS thought this picture was just adorable. They said it belonged in a restaurant or a photo contest. All of our friends and relatives (as my daughter and I both have 8×10′s in our kitchens) say he should be a bright blue-eyed Monical’s Poster Child.
We just had to share this with you since it’s our favorite snapshot. Enjoy!
Mick & Ruby F