Friday, March 20, 2020
We so appreciate the incredible individual efforts and sacrifices that so many of you have made since the
beginning of the spread of the Coronavirus. With each new day, it becomes harder and harder to imagine
business as usual, yet we have come together in a spirit of pressing on to provide employment while we can.
Today, Governor Pritzker implemented a “Stay-at-Home” order, but serving food safely for curbside and
delivery will remain viable, giving us the chance to be part of creating comfort during this time of
unprecedented fear and uncertainty.
Over the past 49 years, our pizza has become the primary comfort food for most of Chicago, and for much of
America. We clearly believe that providing it to our faithful customers makes the dreary days a little brighter.
If we can keep our team healthy, we will do all we can to remain open.
We are in this together, and as a company we are doing what we can to keep our people working:
• Offering food every day to each of our staff members to feed their family at a 75% discount. (Please know
that we are also feeding the hospital workers on the front lines of nearly every major hospital in our
community as well.)
• Created a way for people whose hours have been affected to get on a list for us to use in order to place
them in jobs throughout the company where hours are available. This might be at a different store or
doing a different job, but we are committed to keeping you working if you want to work. Lynn Young is
heading up this effort, so please be ready for a call from her if you have signed up for this list.
• Opened nine carry out stores for additional daytime hours, which will provide hours for people willing to
answer phones, deliver pizzas, and help with curbside pickup. We have drivers willing to take city people
to the suburbs, for those without transportation.
• Initiated curbside pickup only to keep our team from having close contact with customers. Adding
greeters and runners has increased the number of positions available in our carryout stores.
• Tastes of Chicago is selling lots of frozen pizzas right now. We have spots to fill in our Northbrook
warehouse and in our production facility on 31st St in the city.
• All restaurants are doing a deep clean in their dining rooms, etc. There are hours available for that, as well
as some administrative help for managers.
• We will pay your regular wage for all these positions. For those staff members that depend on tips, we will
pay a higher hourly rate than the usual tipped rate.
• And we are asking you to do your part. In order to keep working, we may ask you to work outside your
normal days, time, or locations. Be flexible and roll with the changes that are being presented to us every
For those of you who aren’t able to shift your work locations, there are some options available:
• Look into your options for unemployment. If you are unable to take on shifts at other stores, this might
be a good option for you. It doesn’t cover your full pay, but it will support you for a portion of it. You will
need to initiate this by contacting your state department of Employment Security.
• If you are on Lou Malnati’s benefits, consider going on Furlough. Although you won’t be able to pick up
any hours, you can continue to receive benefits while also getting unemployment pay and come back to
work when things return to normal. During the next 30 days, we will keep you on our benefits and pay
your portion of the benefits contribution.
For those of you that are experiencing symptoms, or have sick family members at home:
• Stay at home if you are experiencing any fever, cough or shortness of breath
• Emergency Paid Sick leave policy has been created so you don’t have to choose between your health and
Please ask your manager for additional details on any of the above information.
Until this pandemic has run its course, Malnati’s will do everything possible to stand behind our people. Taking
care of our work family is a core value that we hold dearly. To that end, the Malnati family (Rick and Tina,
Jeanne and Marc) are seeding an emergency fund with $200,000 to supply essentials for cash-strapped
families and individuals in our extended Lou Malnati’s family. This fund will operate as part of Kindness Rocks,
and details on how to request support will be coming very soon. In the meantime, we know that many of you,
and many of our loyal customers, have big hearts that will likely want to join in the giving as well.
Finally, for as much pizza as we sell via curbside and delivery, please know that this has put significant financial
pressure our company. But we are blessed that we have not been forced to close, and we will fight to stay
open as long as we can keep our teams safe and healthy.
Thanks for being in it together!
Your Malnati Leadership Team
On Wednesday, February 26th our Downers Grove location competed in District 99’s Pizza Wars! It was a great event, joined with other local pizzerias and close to 700 residents. The event raised nearly $20,000 to benefit students and be used toward grants at Downers Grove North and South High School! Attendees voted on their favorite sauce, crust and overall. Lou’s won best crust third year in a row! Special thanks to our Field Marketing Specialist, Madie and the Downers Grove team for attending the event and handing out pizza to the hungry participants.
Rapaport had previously mentioned that Chicago pizza was “overrated.” During Jeff Hoover’s segment “True or False”, Jeff surprised Rapaport with a Chicago Classic from Lou’s. Needless to say, that morning he left a fan. Special thanks to the Lincoln Square team for the early morning pizzas! Watch the full True or False segment here!
The Mix was hosting a private showing of Fitz and the Tantrums for 100 lucky listeners. Lou’s was there to provide some lunch for all who attended, including the radio staff! A lot of people had never tried Lou’s before and didn’t know there was a new location in Fox Point. We had a great time and heard some great music.
We served deep dish samples to over 100 guests! It was a great stand-up comedy night featuring local comedian, Chris Bader and actor, Jeremy Piven. Special thanks to our team and the Wilmette store for the support!
It was a great success featuring local vendors, free kids activities, raffles and prizes. We served over 350 people and everyone loved Lou’s deep dish pizza!
On Thursday, February 13th, we were downtown at the Drake Hotel for the NBA Sneaker Ball. During the cocktail hour, Lou’s served up over 200 slices to attendees and NBA associates. It was a great night celebrating with athletes, including Will Perdue, Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks and many others. Special thanks to our team for attending the event!
On Saturday, February 15th, Lou’s was at the Morton Grove Civic Center serving slices at their Cold Brews Fest. Lou’s provided a delicious snack for participants as they tasted some of the local Chicago-area breweries. It was a great way to connect with some of the local community and meet a few brewers including our Sam Adams friends! Thanks to the Park District for having us and to our team for serving some deep dish!
On Wednesday, February 19th Lou’s was on hand passing out slices to over 400 whiskey aficionados. With over 20 distillers and brewers on deck, guests were happy to see they could get a bite of Lou’s in between beer and whiskey tastings!
We served out 150 slices to parents and supporters of Notre Dame athletics while they watched the Packers/49ers game and entered to win raffle prizes. Special thanks to our Malnati team, Beth and Madie, for serving at the event!
Joliet Manager Steven Haddon was glad to participate and was surprised that so many people didn’t know there was a Lou’s nearby. We ended the night winning best sauce at the competition!
It was a great showcase, highlighting other pizza places as well as a variety of dessert options. We served over 200 slices to the families of the Highland Park School District. Fun fact: people told us that the Pizza Bowl used to be a competition, but Lou’s kept winning so it was changed to a showcase!
Our annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive allows us to give back to the communities we serve and creates a great opportunity for our team to get together before the busy holiday season. We also do this year after year because…kindness rocks!
Check out this video from our basket drive!
Thank you to everyone who came to support this effort. Because of all of you, we were able to positively impact 1,650 families this holiday season. Amazing!