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Felice’s serves up pizza, real-world business lessons

By Akanksha Jayanthi  •  Journalism major, class of 2013

For Loyola students, a job at Felice’s Roman Style Pizza is more than just a way to earn a few extra bucks.

It’s a way to learn how to run a business.

Felice’s, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in February, is operated entirely by undergraduate students—the only pizzeria in the country that can make such a claim. The restaurant is a part of Loyola Limited, an entrepreneurial company on campus that is run and managed by undergrads.

Asma Kadri, chief marketing officer of Loyola Limited, says the first year of Felice’s was a great learning experience.

“We’ve done a lot of experimenting in year one: recipe development, making sure we had everything like payments squared away,” says Kadri, a senior international studies and advertising and public relations double major. “Now, not only is it all squared away, but it’s all going really well.”

Being a student-run business has its ups and downs, Kadri says, but it also provides some bragging rights.

“It’s something that we hold as a point of pride, not just for Felice’s, but in general for our student-run business program,” Kadri says. “In our third year of Loyola Limited being active, we’ve run higher business capital than any other student business in the nation.”

Erin O’Neill, a junior communication studies major with minors in math and Polish studies, is one of the managers and pizza artisans at Felice’s. Like  Kadri, she takes pride in what they have accomplished.

“I’m really proud to tell people Felice’s is the only student-run restaurant and that we’re still alive after a whole year of having to figure everything out from scratch,” O’Neill says.

Kadri says there is a loyal group of customers who dine at Felice’s who “wholeheartedly” believe in the company. She says many of their customers are alums of the John Felice Rome Center who are looking for a slice of pizza to remind them of their days studying in Italy.

O’Neill says she often sees customers on campus and remembers their names and pizza orders because they come in so frequently.

“It says a lot for our business and how we treat our customers because people are always coming back for more,” O’Neill says.

While Felice’s continues to see success, Kadri says they hope to expand its reach further into the Chicago community and on campus in terms of students getting involved with Loyola Limited, which also currently manages The Flats and ChainLinks.

“Loyola Limited doesn’t partner with just the business school. It’s interdisciplinary,” Kadri says. “We hire for attitude and train for skill.”

O’Neill says that she feels like she learns something different after each shift and that the lessons she learns at work aren’t confined to the restaurant.

“[Loyola Limited] wants us to understand that this isn’t just a place you show up to and work and go home. There are a lot of things that can be applied from here to later on in life,” she says. “It’s about more than just pizza.”