Blog : Green Collar Careers: 900 Degrees Pizzeria Owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau

By Anna | Sep 25, 2014 | in

Voted Best Gourmet Pizza by N.H. Magazine six years in a row, it's definitely worth checking out 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria at either of their two locations, the newest location in Epping and the original in Manchester N.H. Owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau is dedicated to providing her customers with the best wood-fired pizza around while simultaneously promoting green business practices and giving back to her local community. Using fresh, organic ingredients and a fire brick oven that cooks Neapolitan-style pizza at an average temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, Chef Chris Grauwiler serves pizza prepared in the traditional style native to Naples, Italy. In addition to their award-winning pizza, the menu also boasts mouth-watering appetizers, soups, sandwiches, entrees and desserts.

After sixteen years working as an Employee Systems Profession, Rondeau decided she wanted to do something different and bring delicious, authentic Italian food to her community. For her entire life, Rondeau has been dedicated to living sustainably. When she conceived the idea for 900 Degrees with a friend who had restaurant experience in 2007, it was never a question for Rondeau that the business would be green as well.

900 Degrees conducts sustainable business practices by using LED and motion sensor lighting throughout the restaurant, utilizing low-flow kitchen appliances, and supplying guests with water only upon request. They have a comprehensive recycling program, use green-certified cleaning products, and have reduced waste by over 50 percent since opening.

Priscilla loves being able to make a difference in her community and is excited to help out the local schools, food banks and charities whenever possible.

Anna Murphy (AM): What do you like most about your job?
Priscilla Lane-Rondeau (RL):
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about my job. I enjoy working with my staff and customers, and providing awesome pizza to two communities. I think the thing I enjoy most about having the restaurant is that it allows me to be a part of the community more than ever before. I love supporting the local community. Wherever I go, I see people I know from the restaurant or who have heard of 900 Degrees. I donate to the local schools and their sports teams, the local theater, and tons of charities on both the local and national level. I love that my job allows me to be so connected and do more for the community, be it raising money for local families, donating gift cards for charity auctions or giving to the local food bank. My son is studying Environmental Studies as Plymouth State University and it is great for him to see us giving back and wanting to be a part of that.

AM: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
PL: I attended New Hampshire Technical Institute for my associates, New Hampshire College (now SNHU) for my bachelors and Rivier College for my MBA. Having a business background has definitely helped me with my success at the restaurant. It is not just about serving good food. You also have to be able to manage a business. My toolbox is full. I know about margins and numbers and a lot of things that directly have to do with running a successful business. I do most of the marketing for 900 and I am aware of how important marketing is. A lot of people dream of opening a restaurant. For me, it was a little different. I believe that if you want something, you have to do it yourself. I wanted a local place where I could get the whole package: good pizza, ice cold beer, music, a pleasant atmosphere. I teamed up with a friend who had experience in the restaurant business. We did a lot of research first and decided, “Yeah, we should do this.” We opened our doors in 2007 and it has been great. My business background has definitely helped me a lot.

AM: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
PL: Passion and commitment. I was brought up that when I did the dishes, if they were still dirty, I'd wash them again. If you are going to do a job, do it well and it will come back to you. People recognize good work; it does not matter what that work is. One young man has been working here almost since we opened. He started as a dishwasher. He did that job well, became a server and did that well too. He wanted to learn other jobs and he did because he worked hard at each of them. My son too, he knows how to do everything here except bar tend. Whatever you do, do it well. We are passionate about food and serving and being green. The employees see how dedicated I am to being green and they get excited that I give a hoot.

AM: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
PL: I was brought up in a green home before I knew what that was. My parents grew up during the Depression with nothing and they valued everything. They were very frugal; nothing went to waste. Living that way just becomes ingrained in you. We had a small gentlemen’s farm with high quality, sustainable food. We never used chemicals or sprays. I remember my dad picking bugs off of the potatoes by hand. We also had pigs, lambs, goats and chickens. We did not have a lot (both my parents worked in the school system) but we always had quality food. Compost piles and gardens are what my family gets excited about. It is a part of me. It did not start out as something intentional. When my son was born I started wondering, “What is it going to be like for him?” I was always doing it but I became very conscious about being green when I had my son. When we opened 900 Degrees, I said I wanted to be consciously responsible about what we were doing and about being green.

AM: What are you most proud of in your business as relates to sustainability?
PL: I am proud of being able to provide quality food and also being able use my influence to educate people about living sustainably. A lot of restaurant owners think it is expensive to be green, but it is not. It can actually save you money. My son is going to school for Environmental Studies. He sees what we do and it is important to him. I am proud to be a leader in the community for sustainable living. We were first to be named Green Champion by New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Program. This is my third interview today about our commitment to sustainability. I am proud to be a leader in green restaurant field.

900 Degrees is a green-certified business in the Green Alliance. To learn more about the Green Alliance, click here or check us out on social media: fb.com/GreenAlliance, or on Twitter at Green_Alliance

Visit 900 Degrees at: 50 Dow Street, Manchester // 1 Brick Yard Square (Suite 1), Epping, or to learn more call 603.641.0900 (Manchester) 734.2809 (Epping), email Priscilla at plane@900degrees.com, or visit www.900degrees.com

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