Having spent my early years growing up in New England, where Bertucci's was founded, I tried out several of the Bertucci's restaurants. In the beginning, when the founder Joey Crugnale was in charge, I thought the Neapolitan pizzas were quite good. But Crugnale decided to take his small chain public and from there it was all downhill. He couldn't satify Wall Street with ever increasing earnings, the stock tanked, and when he couldn't match a buyout price from a private restaurant operator, he sold out. He walked away with over 20M at age 42. (He has since started two other restaurant chains). What's now left with Bertucci's is basically a franchise operation.
The last few times I tried the pizza, I was not impressed, especially since I was expecting more out of a place that has the VPN certification. As for the VPN certification, I am not sure of the current status. At one point, the VPN suspended Bertucci's, as you will note if you go to the VPN's U.S. website at http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn/vpn_frames-index.htm
, and look at the bottom of the page. The VPN website isn't always current so it is possible that Bertucci's has been re-certified.
Even if Bertucci's has been re-certified, I don't think that the Neapolitan pizzas made by Bertucci's are all that authentic. Part of it is that the VPN rules are quite broad with big enough holes in them to drive a truck through (you can see the rules by clicking on the Charter link at the VPN website). For example, in my mind, a classic Neapolitan pizza should be made of imported 00 flour, fresh cow's milk mozzarella or imported buffalo mozzarella cheese, and San Marzano tomatoes (or at least some other equally good imported tomatoes). I know from having asked whether Bertucci's uses 00 flour that it doesn't (although they wouldn't say what flour they use). Bertucci's uses a fresh mozzarella cheese, but it uses crushed Roma tomatoes, not San Marzanos. The VPN rules are broad enough to allow these kinds of substitutions. What is authentic about Bertucci's is its wood burning ovens. But if what you put in those ovens is not of the highest quality, the finished pizza will reveal the shortcomings.