How One Denver Pizzeria ‘Crushed’ the COVID-19 Crisis

A national website notes that Crush Pizza + Tap in Denver effectively “crushed” the COVID-19 challenge with several strategies that helped them stay open without offering dine-in services this spring.

Topping the list is a carryout special with a catchy name and a boozy twist: Crush Care Packs. The packs offer customers a selection of 10-inch or large signature pizzas and Crush’s trademark smoked wings along with canned beers or wines selected by the pizzeria’s bartenders. Crush Care Packs range in price from $19 for a 10-inch, one topping pizza, five smoked wings and two beers to $49 for one large pizza with 16 wings and a six-pack.

Additionally, Crush, a single-unit independent pizzeria founded by Jason McGovern, provides a special offer that allows customers to help others in need. For every $25 gift card purchased, Crush provides a free pizza—cheese or one-topping—to people struggling in the pandemic-wrecked economy. Customers were required to come into the store to purchase the gift cards, thus making it more likely that they’d place an order on the spot.

Additionally, while many restaurants turned to third-party platforms like GrubHub and DoorDash when they had to pivot to a delivery-centric business model, Crush Pizza + Tap went a different route. In order to keep as many employees on the payroll during lockdown, they used their former waitstaff as delivery drivers.

The pizzeria is now open again for limited-capacity dine-in and has instituted a new reservation system that sets time limits on each table, helping to reduce wait times and turn tables faster.

Pizza selections at Crush Pizza + Tap include the classic hand-tossed variety, an East Coast slice, a Chicago-style pie made with cornmeal crust and a chunky tomato sauce on top, and a Sicilian-style pizza. A signature pie called The Bomb features prosciutto, figs and burrata available on both a hand-tossed or Sicilian crust.