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Nick Sarillo has proved that successful small businesses are driven by visionary leadership. The success of his company Nick’s Pizza & Pub (the sixth busiest independent pizza company in per-store sales) can be attributed to a purpose-driven culture and operational values.

Nick’s Pizza & Pub has fostered a community where families can relax, connect and have fun together. Incredibly, Nick’s Pizza & Pub has margins that are twice the industry norm and an 80% employee retention rate (it's normally a 150% turnover rate in the industry).

In Nick's customized presentations, he shares insights in how to grow, build and manage a small business. His work on purpose-drive culture and entrepreneurship has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Fast Company and Inc. magazine.

Full Profile

Nick Sarillo has proved that the key to creating a “big little business” is a purpose-driven business culture and visionary leadership. Backed by the success of his company, Nick’s Pizza & Pub, Nick’s insights into how to build, grow, and manage a small business have made him a hit on the entrepreneurship speaker circuit.

Nick is the founder and CEO of Nick’s Pizza & Pub—the sixth busiest independent pizza company in per-store sales in the United States. He also serves as the “primary keeper” of the company’s secret weapon: it’s Purpose and Operational Values.

That purpose? Providing the community with an unforgettable place where families can relax and have fun together. Nick’s Pizza & Pub has margins nearly twice that of the average pizza restaurant and boasts an 80 percent employee retention rate—a stunning achievement in an industry with an average annual turnover of nearly 150 percent.

Nick credits his company’s success to his purpose-driven culture, which is the focus of his new book, A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business (Portfolio, 2012).

Nick is a regular speaker at entrepreneurship and HR conferences, and his insights have been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, Inc., Fast Company and Investor’s Business Daily.


Nick Sarillo Speaker Videos Back to top

The Big Little Business : Nick Sarillo at TEDxNaperville


Nick talks about the importance of establishing trust with your employees and tracking their achievements. Too many businesses fail to achieve their full potential or just plain fail because unhappy workers lead to low productivity and high turnover. Shifting from the traditional management style of “command and control” to Nick’s “trust and track” strategy can supercharge your business, profits, and contribution to your community.

Creating a culture of trust, one slice at a time: Nick Sarillo at TEDxTU



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Put the power of purpose to work for your business. From leadership to customer service, Nick Sarillo’s program offerings teach business owners how to empower their employees’ success, create and lead high-performance teams, and stop turnover in its tracks.

Build a Big Little Business: How to Lead High Performance through Purpose and Values

Do your employees love to come to work? Join Nick Sarillo, author of A Slice of the Pie, and Founder of Nick’s Pizza and Pub as he shares his success secrets to turning any small business into a successful, high-performance organization. One where employees do love to come to work – and it shows, each and every day through their performance. Nick’s is one of the top ten busiest independent pizza companies in the United States with per-store sales and nearly 200 employees. Margins are often twice those of the average pizza joint, while employee turnover is less that 20 percent per year in an industry that averages more than 150 percent.

Trust & Track Leadership™: Learn a New Leadership Approach to Small Business Success

The restaurant industry is known for having 150-200 percent employee turnover rates. With almost 200 team members, Nick’s Pizza & Pub maintains less than a 25 percent turnover annually. How can that be? Today’s ever-changing business environment requires a new type of leader to be more effective in the way we coach and develop our people. Be inspired to shift from the dated command-and-control style of leadership and join the Trust and Track Leadership™ movement.

Customer Service: “It’s A Wonderful Life”: Support Your Customers by Supporting Your Team

Have you ever left a $1000 tip for a $35 restaurant bill? At Nick’s Pizza and Pub this has happened four times. Nick Sarillo’s compelling and surreal “It’s A Wonderful Life” story about an everyday business that was able to rally and unite an entire community serves as a great example of how clearly defining your company’s purpose and values can create a world-class culture of customer service in any organization and any industry. Enhancing customer service starts with turning your employees into leaders rather than followers.



Nick Sarillo Speaker Testimonials Back to top

“Nick was great. I received nothing but positive comments from the attendees. I asked for feedback from several customers. Their responses ranged from “I liked it,” to “I’m making changes tomorrow!” He delivered exactly what I wanted.”
David Hancock
Director of Business Resources, Sysco Central Illinois

“Nick brought passion to a whole new level while telling his story at Summer Brand Camp. He delivered a unique and heart felt message that left the audience with actionable items to take back and implement at their own organizations. Attendees were touched and motivated by his story and talked about it for weeks after the event! Nick would be a great addition to any speaker line up.”
Sarah Atkinson
Director of Marketing People Report & Black Box Intelligence

“We were thrilled to feature Nick Sarillo as a presenter to over 100 Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago leaders. He quickly connected with our leaders through his genuine and powerful storytelling style. Nick provided practical, relevant and thought-provoking tools which included his Trust and TrackTM process. In addition, Nick shared with our leaders his proven methods to improve team retention, productivity and customer service. Most gratifying was to hear from a number of our leaders having implemented those tools within their teams.”
Cynthia Riehman
Director Leadership & Organizational Development Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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“Nick was great. I received nothing but positive comments from the attendees. I asked for feedback from several customers. Their responses ranged from “I liked it,” to “I’m making changes tomorrow!” He delivered exactly what I wanted.”
David Hancock
Director of Business Resources, Sysco Central Illinois

“Nick brought passion to a whole new level while telling his story at Summer Brand Camp. He delivered a unique and heart felt message that left the audience with actionable items to take back and implement at their own organizations. Attendees were touched and motivated by his story and talked about it for weeks after the event! Nick would be a great addition to any speaker line up.”
Sarah Atkinson
Director of Marketing People Report & Black Box Intelligence

“We were thrilled to feature Nick Sarillo as a presenter to over 100 Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago leaders. He quickly connected with our leaders through his genuine and powerful storytelling style. Nick provided practical, relevant and thought-provoking tools which included his Trust and TrackTM process. In addition, Nick shared with our leaders his proven methods to improve team retention, productivity and customer service. Most gratifying was to hear from a number of our leaders having implemented those tools within their teams.”
Cynthia Riehman
Director Leadership & Organizational Development Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago


A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business
How does a suburban pizza joint end up profiled on national magazine covers and network TV news? (Hint: The secret is not in the sauce.)

When Nick Sarillo decided to open a family-friendly pizza restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago, people thought he was nuts. Having worked as a carpenter for much of his adult life, he lacked any formal experience in restaurants or in managing a small business. Everyone told him no one else would ever care about his place the way he did. They warned he’d have to work 20-hour-days and monitor every employee just to stay in business.

But Sarillo saw things differently, and set out to run his business in a radically different way. Today Nick’s Pizza & Pub is one of the top ten busiest independent pizza restaurants in the country, with two locations that gross about six times the revenue of the typical pizza restaurant. And in an industry where most employees leave within less than a year, Nick’s annual turnover rate is less than 20 percent.

How did he do it? The secret lies in Nick’s purpose-driven culture, in which every employee—from the waiters to the chefs to the managers—is equipped with the tools necessary to do their jobs while also advancing the company’s overall mission. The result is higher sales, a dedicated team, and a big little business that is beloved by the entire community.

In A Slice of the Pie, Sarillo tells the story of how he built his extraordinary culture and shows how anyone can follow his methods. For instance, Nick’s managers engage the staff by tracking and rewarding unusual metrics, such as how many guests request a particular server or the average check amount of each carryout host. Likewise, team members of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to express themselves, acquire new skills, and suggest ideas to help the business grow.

A Slice of the Pie will help transform even the smallest, simplest, and most ordinary business into a successful, high-performance organization.

Build a Big Little Business: How to Lead High Performance through Purpose and Values

Do your employees love to come to work? Join Nick Sarillo, author of A Slice of the Pie, and Founder of Nick’s Pizza and Pub as he shares his success secrets to turning any small business into a successful, high-performance organization. One where employees do love to come to work – and it shows, each and every day through their performance. Nick’s is one of the top ten busiest independent pizza companies in the United States with per-store sales and nearly 200 employees. Margins are often twice those of the average pizza joint, while employee turnover is less that 20 percent per year in an industry that averages more than 150 percent.

Trust & Track Leadership™: Learn a New Leadership Approach to Small Business Success

The restaurant industry is known for having 150-200 percent employee turnover rates. With almost 200 team members, Nick’s Pizza & Pub maintains less than a 25 percent turnover annually. How can that be? Today’s ever-changing business environment requires a new type of leader to be more effective in the way we coach and develop our people. Be inspired to shift from the dated command-and-control style of leadership and join the Trust and Track Leadership™ movement.

Customer Service: “It’s A Wonderful Life”: Support Your Customers by Supporting Your Team

Have you ever left a $1000 tip for a $35 restaurant bill? At Nick’s Pizza and Pub this has happened four times. Nick Sarillo’s compelling and surreal “It’s A Wonderful Life” story about an everyday business that was able to rally and unite an entire community serves as a great example of how clearly defining your company’s purpose and values can create a world-class culture of customer service in any organization and any industry. Enhancing customer service starts with turning your employees into leaders rather than followers.


The Big Little Business : Nick Sarillo at TEDxNaperville


Nick talks about the importance of establishing trust with your employees and tracking their achievements. Too many businesses fail to achieve their full potential or just plain fail because unhappy workers lead to low productivity and high turnover. Shifting from the traditional management style of “command and control” to Nick’s “trust and track” strategy can supercharge your business, profits, and contribution to your community.

Creating a culture of trust, one slice at a time: Nick Sarillo at TEDxTU