Friday, May 22, 2009

Rose Totino


While working in the pizza store that Rose Totino (1915-1994)owned and ran with her husband, Rose first developed the idea for making a crisp crust frozen pizza. Today we honor Rose for her ingenuity, business skills, and for inventing the crisp crust frozen pizza.

Rose was born into an Italian family in Minneapolis. She became well known in her neighborhood for the small Italian pies, pizzas, that she would make. This skill became her livelihood when she married Jim Totino and the two opened a pizza store together. Rose made a pizza and brought it into the bank to demonstrate its quality and to help secure the loan.

The couple's small pizza shop was a huge success, and was expanded from a take-out only shop to a sit down restaurant on customers wishes.

In 1962, the couple formed the business Totino's finer foods and sold frozen pizzas that could be sold at home. The new idea became a national phenomenon and the nation's love for frozen pizza was formed. While their pizza was a huge success, Rose was unhappy with the quality of the crust and continued to work to improve it.

The Totino's sold their business to Pillsbury Company for $22 million (raised from the original offer of $16 million, which Rose refused). Rose continued to work on the recipe for the pizza crust, and with Pillsbury Company discovered the pizza's quality improves if the dough is first fried and with that discovery, Totino's Crisp Crust Pizza was invented.

Rose was an innovator and an entrepreneur who introduced the world to frozen pizza and then worked to make that pizza better. She successfully realized the potential for her invention and worked to develop her idea into becoming a money making reality.

Rose is a prime example of how someone working for their own self interest can benefit multitudes of people. Not only is the world richer for having a quick late night snack or no fuss dinner, Rose and her husband were also generous philanthropists, giving away millions of dollars throughout the years to charities and educational institutions.



Sources:
The New York Times Obituary
Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame
MIT Inventor the of week

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