New Englanders in need of a taste of Italy can turn to Bertucci's. The company owns and operates more than 90 casual-dining establishments operating under the Bertucci's Italian Restaurant banner. The restaurants, located in about 10 states primarily in the Northeast, feature a wide array of Tuscan-style dishes, including pasta, chicken, and seafood dishes, as well as appetizers and desserts. Bertucci's also offers a variety of premium, brick oven pizzas available with a number of different topping combinations. Chairman Benjamin Jacobson controls the company through his Jacobson Partners holding company. The first Bertucci's opened in 1981.
Bertucci's targets the family dining sector, a segment that has been hurt by the recession and tightened family budgets. In response, the company has been focused on menu development efforts to help draw in patrons and to compete with national chains such as Olive Garden (owned by Darden Restaurants) and regional favorites including Friendly's. Without the aid of franchising, Bertucci's faces higher development costs as it slowly expands its chain, but being an owner and operator gives the company greater control over the quality of food and service at its restaurants.
The company slimmed down early in 2009 when it sold its Vinny T's chain to C&T Restaurant Management. Bertucci's had acquired the half dozen restaurants in 2006 from Buca di Beppo operator BUCA for about $6 million. The disposal was part of the company's effort to focus on improving its flagship chain.
Joseph Crugnale, an Italian-born restaurateur, founded Bertucci's and took the business public in 1991. NE Restaurant Company, a dining operation controlled by Jacobson, purchased Bertucci's in 1998 and later changed its name to Bertucci's Corporation. – less