Edit ModuleShow Tags

As technology advances and communications platforms keep changing, the pizza business remains a people business

With a phone in every pocket, who would have guessed talking on those phones would become so passe?



 

When PMQ launched 20 years ago, I knew little about pizza except that it was delicious. I was a newspaper reporter then, and the one good thing about working late on big election nights was the pizza delivered by a big national chain that shall remain nameless, paid for by the newspaper. We had two choices—cheese or pepperoni—but any free pizza was, for me, a glorious feast. I didn’t realize it was mediocre pizza. I honestly thought all pizza was the same.

As editor of PMQ, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. Before I’ll order mediocre pizza now, I’d sooner heat up a can of Beanie Weenies. But just as my tastes have evolved, pizza, as a food, has evolved, too, along with consumers’ preferences. Many of the big chains have stepped up their culinary game. Today’s pizza can be as sophisticated or as blue-collar as you want it to be, with toppings ranging from sausage and anchovies to bresaola, arugula, truffle oil and figs.

PMQ has kept track of industry trends for the past two decades, and looking back through older issues, the evolution of the pizza business has taken some fascinating turns. The Internet, of course, changed everything, but who knew it would be our phones, rather than our computers, that would become must-have digital tools both for marketers and customers? And who would have guessed that talking on those phones would become so passé?

But for all these technological advances, the pizza business remains a people business. Back in 2012, Giorgio Giove, owner of Brothers Pizza in New York, told me he didn’t believe in online ordering. “I want people to call me,” he said, “so I can talk them through the menu.” To this day, Brothers Pizza doesn’t have a website (it has a Facebook page, but it’s seldom updated). If you want one of Giorgio’s famous pies, you still have to dial him up and let him tell you what he thinks you’ll like best. I believed at the time he was making a mistake; honestly, I still do. But Brothers Pizza continues to thrive—certainly because the food is great, but perhaps also because, to many customers, the human touch (and voice) still matters. And whatever the future may hold for our industry, here’s hoping it will always be, above all, a people business.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Eight Ways to Jump-Start Spring Sales

From Easter through Mother’s Day, here are 8 ways to ring in the spring with seasonal flings and give your sales a jump start.

Tips from the Team: Serving Up the Suds

Sean Dempsey explains how to pour on the profits by adding craft beers to your operation.

Preventing the Pita Effect in Par-Baked Pizzas

Par-baked crusts offer some time-saving advantages, but keep these tips in mind to prevent the formation of pockets.

Old-School vs. Online Marketing: Getting the Best Out of Both

From flyers to Google Ads, Think Tankers share tips and tricks for marketing your pizzeria.

2019: Already a Year to Remember

The U.S. Pizza Team shines on ESPN3

Product Spotlight-March 2019

Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Oven to Avoid Later Heartache

Buying an oven is like getting married—weigh the pros and cons carefully before rushing into a long-term commitment.

Milwaukee-Style Pizza Offers Up Great Options for Pizza & Beer Pairing

You can’t go to Milwaukee and not drink beer. Fortunately, Milwaukee-style pizza was designed with beer drinkers in mind.

Paying Your Pizzeria's Employees Well Can Yield Big Dividends

Derrick Tung, owner of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago, details his innovative approach to paying and incentivizing employees—and why his opening night was such a stinker.

Adding Deli Sandwiches Can Kick Up Your Pizzeria's Sales

Thinking of adding a deli component to your pizzeria? These two creative operators explain how sandwich success has kept their pizza businesses booming.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags