Field Report: Il Panino Maneesh–How to Get a Sandwich Named After You

Tyler’s Note:  This is a Riskologist Field Report by Maneesh Sethi from Hack the System. Field Reports are written by readers just like you, so be nice, enjoy the story, and take action on the lesson. To contribute your own Field Report, go here.

I’m not used to being the ‘cool guy.’ Once, when I was in high school, I decided to try out for an officer position with my school’s National Honor Society. I ran unopposed.

I came in third place in the election, losing to ‘Jesus’ and ‘School Sux.’

Throughout high school and the first few years of college, I was always the odd one in the group—I studied at a top-tier university full of hardworking kids, which I was not. I always felt like I didn’t fit in with anyone.

I did win an award once for ‘sketchiest kid in the dorm,’ though.

So, when I got to college and decided to study abroad in Florence, it never even crossed my mind that I would leave with a sandwich named after me.

Getting a sandwich named after you is just an outgrowth of basic networking skills, so in this article, I’m going to talk about how to become an effective networker and, specifically, how to get that sandwich 🙂 . I’ve used these tactics to get a Samosa named after me in India and unlimited free burritos in Medellin, Colombia.

The Specific Steps to Get A Sandwich Named After You

Think about how many people you see each day. Now quadruple that number. The average sandwich shop owner probably sees more people than you’d ever imagine.

So how do you stand out in a crowd? It’s a marketing and networking question, not a ‘bright pink shirt and leather bottoms’ question.

Effective networking comes down to this: be memorable. When you want to get on someone’s radar, you have to make a mark on that person’s memory.

So, first of all, I’m going to explain the exact steps I took to get the sandwich named after me, and afterwards, we’ll extrapolate to understand the answer to the question: “How can YOU be memorable?”

When I first moved to Florence, these steps all fell in place accidentally. Since then, I’ve made an effort and have had other items named after me (namely, a samosa in India) by actively following these steps.

1) Identify the location and item you want named after you.

In Florence, I consistently went to Pino’s. Pino’s is a paninoteca—sandwich shop—that was extremely popular with my classmates and other students. The first time I ate there was like heaven, so I returned over and over again.

2) Consistently order the same item, but add a twist—something that makes it unique.

I always eat ridiculously spicy food (it’s why a waitress hung up a photo of me eating a burrito in Norway—no one had ever before brought their own bottle of hot sauce with them to the restaurant.

So, whenever I went to Pino’s, I always ordered the same sandwich—one with foccacia bread, sun-dried tomatoes, and hot sauce. You can see the sandwich in the video below, after step 6. No one had ever ordered a sandwich with that much hot sauce before.

3) Start to make friends with the owner.

Now this part is important—you have to become friends with the owner. It’s not as hard as you’d think. It’s a simple process of identifying who the owner is and talking to him every time you come in.

When I lived in Florence, I would eat at Pino’s at least 3-4 times a week, and each time I’d chat with the owner.  He began to recognize me and call me out by name when I entered—even allowing me to skip the line a few times.

4) Add value to the owner’s life.

If you really want the owner to respect you, you need to help him out. You might offer to help him with marketing or doing some work for him. I would bring him a ton of customers every day—5-10 students—who’d buy his food thanks to me. I then set up a wine tasting with him and 20 students, and he was more than grateful.

5) Start to jokingly refer to your ‘usual’ sandwich with your own name.

After a few weeks, Pino would see me when I entered his sandwich shop and yell out, “Maneesh! Do you want the usual?” I would respond “I’ll have Il Maneesh!” Over time it became more than a joke, and he’d refer to my sandwich as Il Maneesh whenever I entered.

6) Convince your friends to try your sandwich, and ask them to order it using your name.

Finally, I’d bring in friends or recommend my sandwich to people I met on the street. I’d tell them to order my sandwich using my name. Within a week, Pino told me it was his best-selling item, and permanently named the sandwich after me.

And there it is: My very special Panino Maneesh.

Il Panino Maneesh, in Florence, Italy (at Pinos, Salumeria Verdi on Via Verdi)

It has sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto crudo, mozzarella di buffalo, salsa picante, all on foccaicia bread.

Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36-red, 50122 Firenze, Italy

How you can use the Sandwich Strategy in Your Life

This was my first foray into networking. I learned that achieving any goal requires the help of other people, and getting other people on your side is a matter of two things: being likeable, and adding value.

So these days, while running my blog business and trying to become a famous DJ, I’ve noticed something—the most successful blogs spend a ton of time networking and meeting other bloggers/business people. And all other successful businessmen always use elements from the Sandwich Strategy.

How do budding businesses and bloggers form partnerships with other companies? They have to get introduced to the owner. And they have to add value to the owner’s life—if someone can help the owner with anything, the owner will usually do the same in reverse.

If I can bring a blog traffic, or introduce the blogger to someone they want to meet, then we are forming much more than a partnership—we’re forming a friendship.

Let’s sum this up: Do you want food named after you? Or do you want to be able to network, meet people you’ve always wanted to meet, and ratchet your business up to the next level?

You need to do the following: Identify what you want. Identify who can help you get there. Add value to that person’s life. And help them achieve their goals. Once you’ve helped that person succeed, the natural next step is to ask them to help you achieve yours. Only by helping others will you be able to help yourself.

So, consider this: what would you be willing to do to meet someone you respect, and achieve your networking goals?

I’ve used the Sandwich Strategy to become friends with authors, bloggers, and entrepreneurs that I respected and looked up to my whole life. And I want to show you exactly how.

Imagine—have you ever wanted to launch a product? Or become a successful blogger? Then, you really need to learn the techniques of networking. And that brings me to my special gift, just for readers of

Want to learn the specific steps to meeting your heroes?

I’ve put together a resource kit just for you. No one else has seen some of this content before. Head over to Hack The System, drop in your email address, and I’ll send you this special kit.

  • The Networking Spreadsheet – I hire virtual assistants to help me network. They parse through large lists of bloggers, synthesize the information on a spreadsheet, and help me set up conversations to connect. So, I’m sharing the specific steps I use to meet bloggers, authors, and entrepreneurs I want to meet. Without resorting to name dropping, I’ve used these tips to become friends with several Time Magazine top 25 bloggers and #1 New York Times Bestselling Authors.
  • The Travel Hacking Report – How to get a) an international plane ticket for less than $100 and b) free office space in every country of the world.
  • Just for fun, I’ll link you to my Tim Ferriss Party Video (during my 90 days to becoming a famous DJ in Berlin project)

The Networking Guide is only available through this link to Hack The System. Thanks for checking it out.

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