5 Questions with Stephanie Groves is an ongoing series featuring local women doing interesting things that we’d like to know more about. Want to be featured? Email us at email@example.com.
If you love pizza, you’ve probably already heard of Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and if you’ve tried a slice at a recent event like Rev at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you can thank Jennifer Trenner. Trenner is the grassroots marketing and sales specialist for the company in Indy, and her job is in part to help bring brand awareness to the community.
So, how’d she get the job? Jennifer explains it this way: “During the pandemic, I had been furloughed from my previous job due to Covid. While I was interviewing and job searching, I discovered that Lou Malnati’s was coming to Carmel – and was very interested! Growing up in Chicago, I had fond memories of Lou’s, and my mom was always buying their famous deep dish pizzas to stock in our freezer. When I showed up at a hiring event for the Carmel location, it felt like I hit it off immediately with their team. Also, it was the most comfortable I had felt finding a job in the hospitality industry, especially during the middle of a pandemic. I was very excited when they called me a few hours later and asked if I would like to become part of the Lou Malnati’s family here in Indy!”
To find out more about Jennifer and what to order if you go to a Lou Malnati’s restaurant, read on.
You are the “grassroots marketing and sales specialist” for Lou Malnati’s. Can you explain more about what a grassroots marketing and sales specialist does?
I represent Lou Malnati’s in Indianapolis on the sales and marketing side. I also have counterparts in our Chicago, Milwaukee, and Phoenix markets as well. In Chicago, the team requires more people to support the needs of over 50 stores. In Indianapolis, if someone is looking for sales/catering needs, they can reach out to me directly. As a field marketing representative, my focus is to help introduce different segments of the community to the Lou’s brand experience. We want to get our pizza in their mouths, whether that is through fundraising and donations, sampling at school events, or selling slices at a festival.
Meeting different people in the community and connecting on a personal level is important to Malnati’s. We want to give back to the communities we serve and be able to take our pizza directly to our customers – wherever they may live, work, and play as it helps encourage them to share our story. We are confident that once they taste our delicious deep dish pizza, they’ll be hooked!
What’s your favorite Lou Malnati’s pizza or restaurant dish, and why?
My absolute favorite … that’s hard as there are a lot to choose from. The “Penne ala Malnati” pasta is my favorite pasta. As for deep dish, it’s the “Lou” (spinach mix, garlic, extra cheese, well done – sometimes depending on the mood with sausage or pepperoni). I also LOVE the “Crustless” pizza – made with Lou’s lean sausage as the base – for the leftover possibilities, and I have an obsession with the bread. Dessert-wise … you can’t go wrong with a warm chocolate chip cookie pizza, but insider tip: it’s only available at our Broad Ripple location. For our carryout locations in Carmel and West 86th Street, treat yourself to some homemade Carol’s Cookies for dessert. Just warm them in the oven when you get home so they have that delicious fresh out-of-the-oven taste. It’s the best way to end the meal.
You are originally from Chicago, but have been living in Carmel for the past few years; what drew you to Carmel, and what do you love about it?
To be honest, we moved here because my husband’s company wanted him to run the satellite office in Indianapolis. It worked out that Indy was in the middle of Chicago and Columbus, OH, so it’s very easy to visit both of our families. While it took some time for me to find the right fit, I’m glad I kept looking for it. We live on the border of Carmel and Westfield in Village Farms, and we love where we live. Also, Carmel, Westfield, and Hamilton Co. have so much to offer and it’s a quick drive to Broad Ripple, Zionsville, or downtown to visit some of our other favorite spots. We currently have three locations in central Indiana, with new stores opening in Greenwood and Avon later this year. I’m looking forward to exploring new areas of Indianapolis to provide some Hoosier hospitality.
You had your first baby in the fall of 2021; what has been most helpful for you to balance your career and motherhood? What’s your best tip for other mothers who are trying to navigate a new baby and a thriving career?
Honestly, I have no clue as to how my working mom of three did it! Navigating motherhood (regardless of the age of your children) and having a career is extremely hard. I’m thankful we have services like grocery pick up, Amazon delivery for diapers and wipes, and especially pizza delivery. I’ve known many working moms throughout my life – friends, family, and co-workers – it definitely takes a village and the village is different for everyone. My tip is to find a company that works with and supports you and to be able to say “no” when you can’t do any more. There is really no right answer for how to make it work and it’s OK to say NO. Lou Malnati’s has been amazing for me, not just as a working mom, but even before – making it work and taking care of their employees. I’ve always felt heard and supported by leadership.
What can we look forward to from Lou Malnati’s in the future? Any events or openings we should know about?
We’re looking forward to debuting our fifth Central Indiana location in the fall of 2022 in the Avon community. It will join carryout and delivery locations which opened in Carmel in October 2020, West 86th Street in March 2021, and the company’s first full-service restaurant in Broad Ripple in November 2021. Lou Malnati’s also plans to open a store in Greenwood later this summer.
As we continue to bring more legendary deep dish to Indy, the focus will remain on the quality of our ingredients, being a great place to work, and providing a “second family” to many of our team members. We love being involved in the communities in which we work and live!
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.