As PMQ celebrates its 20th anniversary, we honor the past and look forward to the future in this special oral history.
PMQ’s founders and longtime team members reflect on two decades of progress, pranks, pitfalls and pizza.
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Putting in a Good Word:
“PMQ has had such a strong, positive impact on my life. It opened the door to many friendships that I cherish dearly today. I consider everyone I meet a friend, but when I think of PMQ, there’s a deeper connection. I think of family. Steve and Linda started something really special there in Oxford. Rick, Brian, Daniel, Eric, Brandy and Liz have all treated me so well—I’m beyond grateful. Thank you so much for doing what you do and for making the pizza world and business a much better place.”
— Lee Hunzinger, Chef, Zoli’s NY Pizza Tavern and Cane Rosso, Dallas
Steve Green, CEO and founder: Before I started PMQ, I had already owned and managed Domino’s Pizza stores in California, New York and Mississippi, but it was my first job in pizza, in 1982, that opened my eyes to the potential of the pizza industry. I found I was good at selling pizza. As a store opening marketing specialist for Domino’s Pizza, I was tasked with creating and executing grand-opening marketing plans.
We broke a new national sales record for a store opening in Tupelo, Mississippi, by using direct mail, door hangers, and boxtopping. We also had a special bicycle built for six that we drove around town. We flyered all businesses and distributed cups with coupons to people on the streets, and we did radio and TV commercials. Since we were a large chain coming to a small Mississippi town, the best approach was to sound personal and local. We took a driver with a great Southern accent and presented him as the head guy [of the franchise]. Pizza Hut was so upset, they ordered a hot air balloon to give rides to people in town. So I got a local farmer with a plane carrying a streamer that said “Domino’s Pizza Delivers” to buzz his balloon ride. The newspapers picked it up, saying, “There’s a pizza war going on in Tupelo!” We ended up setting a new national sales record of $37,000, which stood for ten years.
I also created something called Green Mail. We were the first to take sales receipts and put them in a computer, creating databases and direct mail programs, measuring results. Then, while doing direct marketing for five regional chains, I started publishing a newsletter called Pizza Marketing Quarterly. The whole focus was on selling pizza. We started getting subscribers. I sold, printed, wrote and edited it and sent it out to our list of 10,000 pizzeria operators. It was very well-received and easy to write. My first four issues were basically case studies with real stories and real results from my own clients. The first issue was 36 pages, but within a year or so we grew to 68 pages. Linda came in on the second issue. I convinced her she could make more money selling ads for PMQ.