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We're Open, Arizona: Venezia's Pizzeria using robots to deliver pizza

Posted at 9:28 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 18:24:30-04

TEMPE, AZ — We're Open, Arizona! That's what Venezia's Pizza wants you to know.

The New York-style pizzeria has been part of the Valley's food scene for more than 20 years, said Domenick Montanile, the company's president. He's also a graduate of Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!).

The local chain's first restaurant opened in Tempe. They have since expanded to five restaurants -- all located in the East Valley.

As other restaurants have, Venezia's had to make some quick changes to their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Obviously, we closed our dining rooms on March 18," Montanile said, referring to Gov. Doug Ducey's executive order which closed restaurant dining rooms to encourage social distancing. Venezia's transitioned their restaurants to grab-and-go, delivery, and curbside pickup.

"We literally had to do it in 24 hours," he said. "It's a tribute to all my managers and staff to be able to turn this around and have a pretty efficient program going on."

His pride in Venezia's Pizzeria has now been partnered with some economic concern, especially for the Tempe location.

"This location has dropped off the most of all our locations. A lot of that is because we were doing 900 to 1,000 slices a day out here. And now we're doing 200," he said.

They're also losing hundreds of corporate orders each day. However, they were recently approved for a small business loan, which will help his employees.

"We actually just got approved for it. We just received funding," Domenick said. "All of the employees are getting increased wages for the next eight weeks because of the program."

On Tuesday, April 21, Venezia's is celebrating "An Employee Day," where 100 percent of their sales will go to all of the pizzeria's employees, across all of their locations.

When it comes to delivery, they're also testing out new technology -- robots! They partnered with Starship Technologies to use robots to help delivery pizzas to homes within a mile of the Tempe location.

"Everyone is going crazy with these robots. They're pretty cool. It's amazing how you can just order on your phone, the robot shows up, you put the food in there, we close it up, and it delivers right to the house," Domenick said. Click here to see the robots in action.

Like a lot of restaurants, Venezia's is hoping you will join them for a meal. They tend to be busiest during the dinner hours, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., but their restaurants are open all day.

"We're trying to get busier during lunch time. Those are the times that are kinda slower. So, we would really appreciate all the business during lunchtime with all the slice specials we have to offer," he said.

IF YOU GO:

Mill Ave. and Southern Ave.
27 E Southern Ave., Tempe, Arizona 85282

N. Tatum Blvd. and Greenway Rd.
15620 N. Tatum Blvd. Ste. 100, Phoenix, Arizona 85032

McKellips Rd. and Higley Rd.
5057 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa, Arizona 85205

Guadalupe Rd. and Ellsworth Rd.
2721 South Ellsworth Rd #107, Mesa, Arizona 85209

Ray Rd. and Cooper Rd.
744 W. Ray Rd. #101, Gilbert, Arizona 85233

We're Open, Arizona: We know this is a tough time for a lot of people in our community, including local restaurants and businesses. As local spots continue to serve takeout, look for ways to safely do business, and give back to our community, we want to share their stories. Visit abc15.com/open or email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.