It’s 11:30 on a Monday morning, and Karim Menebhi is waiting for the first customer at his brand-new Ronzio Pizza & Subs franchise in Smithfield.

Menebhi has been busy — loading boxes of supplies onto shelves, talking on the phone to suppliers. Now he’s getting a little nervous. “I was feeling just normal until about 20 minutes ago,” he said. “Now I’m feeling that I need to see some people walk in and start serving them some food.”

Finally, about 11:40, the elusive first customer arrives. He’s Ryan West, who manages a karate school, Mastery Martial Arts, in the same shopping plaza as the new Ronzio. West orders a chicken sandwich. He also represents a potential source of future business, telling Menebhi that his martial arts school frequently hosts birthday parties for its young clients. Menebhi said he could provide discounts on pizza, and West took some Ronzio menus with him when he left.

Ronzio is a local chain, with 19 locations in Rhode Island and 1 in Massachusetts. Julian Angelone, chief operating officer for the company, said it’s opening a second Massachusetts location, in Worcester.

Read the whole story at Providence Journal

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