CiCi’s Pizza is renowned for many innovations—most notably its endless pizza, pasta, salad, soup, and dessert buffet.
So it’s no surprise that CNBC invited a CiCi’s executive to provide his expert analysis and feedback to an aspiring inventor with a novel idea for an Italian-style restaurant.
On Wednesday, August 12, Brian Cassidy, CiCi’s vice president of operations, offered his insights to the creator of the Marinara Tower on the debut episode of “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor.” The six-episode series, produced by CNBC and ALL3MEDIA (creators of “Undercover Boss” and “Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey”) is an extension of “Shark Tank,” and focuses on what it takes to get from inventor to successful entrepreneur.
Each week on “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor,” two hosts/engineers search the country for exciting new, mainstream inventions. Some of these inventions are stuck in the concept stage, while others are fully patented with prototypes already built. The hosts provide their tailor-made support and expertise, then guide the inventors in structuring a business plan, producing and market-testing a prototype, and preparing them for a pitch, where they will meet real potential investors and industry buyers ready to invest their own money and resources to bring their innovations to market. Do these inventors have what it takes to finally realize their dreams?
“When I was first approached about this new show, I was immediately intrigued by its premise,” Cassidy says. “Then, when the producers told me I would be presented with a Marinara Tower, I knew I had to check it out.”
The Marinara Tower is similar to a chocolate fountain, but instead of chocolate flowing from the top, it’s marinara sauce. The thinner sauce runs up the 4-foot-tall tower and then falls down into an 18-inch bowl (heated to 200 degrees) so that guests can dip their favorite appetizers, such as meatballs, fried cheese sticks, and other skewered meats, in the sauce.