Customer Service
Pizza Today Staff
Mellow Mushroom surprises Stephen, Heidi, and all of their wedding guests by rolling up at their reception with the Bake Bus and serving pizza, including the couple's favorite!Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Over the weekend, a Troy, New York, restaurant owner took to Facebook to air frustrations over a neighboring club’s party cancellation, leaving a crowd of 500 gathered, forcing the shutdown of 4th Street and closure of the restaurant. The restaurant owner’s posts continued to escalate with profanity and calls to shutdown the neighboring club.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
A Connecticut woman, who suffers from Celiac disease, said she got sick after ordering a pizza that she thought was gluten-free. The pizza as it turned out had breaded eggplant hidden under the cheese. Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Reddit asked its subscribers, “What was the worst restaurant experience you have ever had?” The post generated more than 11,000 comments, so far. Restaurant nightmares ranged from encountering pests and food poisoning to foreign objects in food and horrendous service.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Seeing the same people frequent your pizzeria means you are doing something right. In a recent article in The New York Times, former restaurant critic Frank Bruni raves about the joys of being a regular. Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Tech Watch — After testing table-top tablets for six months at 180 units, Chili’s Grill & Bar plans to roll out the tablets to most of its 1,266 locations in 2014. Uno Chicago Grill and Applebee’s have also installed the devices at some of their locations.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Want to know how to earn yourself an A for effort? Offer students pizza for studying.

Such was the ingenious idea of Greenville House of Pizza. According to a Gawker article the restaurant rewards students who use the pizzeria as a study hall, and even offers free slices for As.
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Scott Weiner
I don’t like reading menus. It’s rare to find one that’s more than a sprawling list of options or a cacophony of foodie buzzwords. Whether in a restaurant, where a server may not always be within speaking distance, or at home without a restaurant staff at all, a menu is my only constant supply of information from your pizzeria. Does yours do the job?Read More
Pizza Today Staff
A Colchester, England, man proposed to his girlfriend over pizza, literally. According to the East Anglian Daily Times, the two pizzas were topped with goat cheese, tomato, red onion and strategically placed spinach. One pie read, “High tide, low tide, I’ll be by your side” and the other read, “Let’s start our happily ever after.”Read More
Pizza Today Staff
The owner of restaurant in Oxford, Massachusetts recently yelled profanities at a disable Iraq war veteran when he entered the establishment with his service dog. James Glaser, who suffers from PTSD, was asked to leave even after providing the owner with his service dog’s certification papers.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Giulio’s Pizza in Dunellen, New Jersey has instituted a new policy, “saggy pants prohibited,”spelled out on a bright neon green sign on its front door. Patrons will not be served if they are wearing saggy pants with their underwear showing, a Giulio’s employee told NJ.com.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Some New York and Chicago restaurants may opt to take tips off the table, according to The Wall Street. The tip-free establishments would instead increase menu prices by as high as 15 percent and pay employees a higher hourly pay. It’s an idea that has restaurant operators in other cities asking, “Would it work here?”Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Maneuvering through the legalities of your social media practices can be daunting. The Minneapolis Department of Employment and Economic Development has created a state-sponsored legal guide to social media for small businesses. It is vital to understand state and national rules on social media as you are establishing and revising your pizzeria’s social media policies.
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Pizza Today Staff
Another restaurant has opted to ban children under the age of 9. This time, the restaurant will allow children until 7 p.m. The owner contents the store is family friendly. The policy is a reaction to customer complaints. See what Chef Jeff Freehof has to say. Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Breastfeeding in public has made national headlines recently. An employee at Grampa’s Pizzeria, a new restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, asked a breastfeeding mother to leave after a fellow patron complained. This sparked a viral backlash on social media.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Humble Pie in Peoria, Arizona, will run a one-hour summer pizza camp for kids in July. According to the Phoenix New Times, kids can toss dough, make their own mozzarella and design their own pie.Read More
Scott Wiener
The secret’s out: Detroit style pizza is delicious. It’s not news to people in the Motor City, but the rest of us are only now being introduced to the burnt cheese goodness over 60 years after its first appearance. This year’s Pizza Expo saw more Detroit style pies than ever before and they even earned some of the highest scores in the International Pizza Challenge.Read More
Heidi Lynn Russell
Tucked in the technology enclave of San Jose, California, Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza’s three restaurants draw a hip, sophisticated and highly educated clientele. And with all of that education comes a high demand for not only healthy food, but also customer knowledge about food allergies and sensitivities, says Nancy Reineking, the company’s director of operations. Read More
DeAnn Owens
Giving your product away for free to build sales may seem like a business oxymoron. But as the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money.

For operators, it gets their product into the mouths of current and potential customers, and for customers, it gives them an opportunity to try something new, risk-free. In that exchange, operators and customers can connect while breaking bread. And, seriously, who doesn’t love a free sample?
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Pizza Today Staff
Monday, Papa John’s Chairman and CEO John Schnatter posted an apology on Facebook after a Florida customer received a racist rant on his voicemail. After delivering pizza to the customer, a driver accidentally called the Florida man, leaving a nearly four-minute voice message laden with racial slurs while complaining about his tip. Read More
Big Dave Ostrander
Hey Dave, I currently own a counter service joint and am looking to open my second location. This location I’m looking to do more sit-down. So my question is, is 30- to 35- percent labor cost reasonable for this type of restaurant?Read More
Dionne Obeso
When a gas station stops letting customers use the restrooms because some people use them without making a purchase, or when a grocery store refuses to accept responsibility for mistakenly selling spoiled food, they lose business and create negative feelings in potential customers. What they are doing, says Domino’s Pizza franchisee Scott Flaherty, is marketing to the one percent.Read More
Nora Caley
When the hostess stand at Buddy’s Pizza becomes mobbed with hungry customers,the hostess hands out pagers shaped like coasters. Read More
Nora Caley
When San Ramon, California-based Straw Hat Pizza wanted to increase appetizer sales, they turned on the TVs. The 61-unit company partnered with Coca-Cola and created a three-minute video showcasing the chain’s Snack-A-Tizers and Coca-Cola products. Store owners bought television sets that they placed on the order counters, and customers watched the Snack-A-Tizer loop –– which, thankfully for the cashiers, had no sound –– as they waited to place their order. Read More
Daniel P. Smith
When TJ Banning opened his first Rosati’s Pizza in suburban Chicago in 2000, he carried low standards for his delivery driver hires.
“If you had a pulse and a car, you were hired,” says Banning, who’s swapped his early waywardness for more stringent driver standards at both of his Rosati’s locations.
Banning entrusts his drivers to represent Rosati’s in a positive light, certain that their presence influences customer perception and satisfaction.
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Shanna Germain
Soda is a serious moneymaker, especially in the pizza world. And fountain sodas, especially, can help keep your business in the black, namely because you don’t have to pay the extra for cans and bottles. Like many owners, Nick Merlino of Goomba’s Pizza in Colmar, Pennsylvania, started out with bottles.Pizza in Colmar, Pennsylvania, started out with bottles.
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Scott Wiener
I’ve been in a real rut lately. There are dozens of quality pizzerias in my area, but when my friends want to go out for a pie or two (or six) we end up at the same place every time. It isn’t even close to my apartment; I have to take the subway six stops just to get to the right neighborhood. Read More
James "Buzz" Villas
Established in 1994, Cornerstone Pizza is owned and operated by my partner, Dave Shearn, and me. Cornerstone is a small delco shop that specializes in pan-baked pizza. On December 28, 2010, I received a call from a customer at the Philadelphia airport. She said, “How fast can you get 50 pizzas to the airport? Can you get them by 2 p.m.?”Read More
Denise Greer, Associate Editor
“Your pizza sucks,” signed an ambiguous online customer reviewer.
Most operators can relate to receiving a similar review on one of the many user-generated customer review Web sites. It’s just sitting out there for the world to see when someone searches for your pizzeria online.
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Big Dave Ostrander
I’m a young guy in the pizza biz and not really sure where to get the answer to this question. If someone walks in and orders, then pays, waits 15 minutes until the pizza is done and ready to go out the door … they then ask for a refundRead More
Mandy Wolf Detwiler, Managing Editor
Here are some tips for setting up your own frequent-diner program:

• Train your employees about the importance of your frequent diner program. Offer incentives to employees who sign up the most customers. Also train them to remind the customer to present any type of loyalty card during the transaction to ensure customers remember.
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Kelly Bone
When it comes to tableside pizza presentation, it’s easy to leave it and forget it. But serving pizza is an opportunity to add drama and a hands-on personal touch to the dining experience. Presentation styles and pizza stands vary widely: from the typical C-shaped riser, to the chrome pedestal, to double-decker stands, to custom built pieces of functional art. Some pizzerias utilize what’s on hand, such as repurposing large tomato cans as risers or using wooden pizza peels. Others serve the pizzas directly on or beside the table.Read More
Annemarie Mannion
What’s better on a cold night than a hot pizza that you didn’t have to leave the warmth of your car to pick up? Even on a summer day when it’s sizzling outside, not having to leave the cool of an air conditioned car to pick up a pizza is an appealing idea. Read More
Daniel P. Smith
Whenever Tony DiSilvestro designs a new YNot Pizza, an endeavor he’s tackled three times since opening his first restaurant in 1993, he encounters the same conundrum: where to put the 28 feet of display cases he says are vital to his business.Read More
Alyson McNutt English
When Teresa Corea-Golka’s grandfather started Roma D’Italia in Tustin, California, more than 40 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about creating a carryout concept for his sit-down Italian restaurant. He just wanted happy customers. Read More
Alyson McNutt English
For Brixx, a southeastern-U.S.-based chain of brick-oven restaurants, having a performance kitchen was just a natural extension of the restaurant's branding strategy. "Making the pizza in the brick oven is all part of the show," says Eric Horsley, Brixx managing partner and lead design strategist.Read More
Heidi Lynn Russell
It might surprise you to hear Brett Steiner’s No. 1 priority for his servers at Russo’s New York Pizzeria in Germantown, Tennessee: “School comes first,” says Steiner, who owns one of the 30 Houston-based franchises. Five years ago when he launched Russo’s, Steiner startedRead More
Daniel P. Smith
As Alex Taylor contemplates opening a second Due Forni location to complement the Las Vegas hot spot he shares with a collection of partners, he’s looking far and wide. Nevada. Texas. Colorado. North Carolina. Knowing how critical site Read More
Scott Weiner
Defending the Pizzarazzi -- A few peeved restaurateurs in New York recently put the kibosh on tableside photography and now eateries across the country are contemplating the same. Little do they realize that a camera in the hands of a customer could be the best thing to happen to a pizzeria.Read More
Paul C. Paz
I was traveling the interstate close to midnight when I stopped by a restaurant still open in the small community of Canyonville, Oregon. My 18-year-old waiter, Kyle, graduated last year from his small high school in a senior class of 12 students.Read More
Scott Weiner
My heart sank as I reached the front door, only to realize that the worst was true. The usual line was nonexistent; the lights inside were dim and the front gates were down. My only clue was a small yellow notice on the front door.Read More
Jeremy White, Editor in Chief
The pizza arrived blackened. And by that I do not mean merely overcooked or even slightly burned on the bottom — I mean “end of times” black. We posted a picture of it on our Facebook page (search: Pizza Today) with a short caption and it went viral. The comments and shares from pizzeria owners ran deep. They could not believe a pizza shop would send the charcoal black pizza to a customer.Read More
Pamela Mills-Senn
Angelo Halakos, owner of Seasons Pizza, was skeptical about online ordering at first. He wasn’t sure it would actually work, and then there was the fee to consider, reasonable though it was. Even so, Halakos, who owns 28 locations primarily in the Newark, Delaware area, decided to take a chance.
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Denise Greer, Associate Editor
There is something noticeable about the staff’s look at Cocco’s Pizza in Primos, Pennsylvania, — expression of individuality and brand awareness. Employees sport graphic T-shirts with the pizzeria’s name and logo. Owner Michael Cocco says his dress code reflects his crew’s personalities.Read More
Pamela Mills-Senn
Jeremy White, Editor in Chief
Alyson McNutt English
It’s not always easy to hear criticism, but for pizzeria owners, it can be critical to your business. From comment cards to secret shops, different feedback methods will get different results. Here’s what you need to know about four common kinds of customer feedback and how you can best use them to help boost your bottom line.Read More
Scott Anthony
Jeremy White, Editor in Chief
Scott Wiener
Stranded. That’s how I felt the last time I had a bad restaurant experience. The wait was short, the ambiance was perfect and the food delicious. Everything was perfect until the interminable final minutes of my visit. I must have slipped into an alternate dimension the second the cheesecake hit the table. Read More
Scott Weiner
The time between placing a delivery order and my pizza’s arrival is interminable. Seconds pass at a snail’s pace as I wonder what could possibly be taking so long. I start to think the driver either got lost or maybe she’s handing my pizza over to a confused neighbor. Even worse …Read More
Nora Caley
Everyone loves your pizza, but sometimes people need another reason to visit on a weeknight. Some operators find that theme nights are a good way to attract customers on a slow night, create buzz about the restaurant, and most importantly, build relationships with people who become repeat customers.Read More
Nora Caley
Sometimes customers have trouble finding Coal Fire Pizza, located near Baltimore. “They’ll say, ‘We tried Google Maps and MapQuest and the directions were wrong,” says Dennis Sharoky, president of the five-unit company. “We look into it and we try to find us, and it comes up. Maybe they were doing it incorrectly.” Read More
Mandy Wolf-Detwiler, Managing Editor
Heidi Lynn Russell
Lynn’s Paradise Café, a funky and popular eatery for 22 years in Louisville, Kentucky, suddenly closed down in January after employees publicly complained about a tip pooling arrangement. The owner was requiring servers to carry $100 cash at all times to “tip out” coworkersRead More
Jeff Freehof
DeAnn Owens
Investing in a call management system, whether simple or sophisticated, is money well spent when operators learn to take full advantage of the system’s features. Read More