PMQ decided that New York City should be the home of the U.S. Pizza Team Acrobatic Trials. In doing this we were hoping we could create some publicity for the pizza industry by bringing the excitement and theatre of a great pizza competition to the birthplace of American pizza. It worked. The contest was well populated with cameras, reporters and a large, enthusiastic group of onlookers as three contestants each won a trip for two to the World Pizza Championship in Italy and a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team. When the flour dust settled, the U.S. Pizza Team possessed the finest talent it has seen yet . . . and America was introduced to the sport of pizza tossing.
CNN's Jeanne Moos spent two days filming her generous three-minute explanation of the U.S. Pizza Team, which aired five times. (Yes, that's 15 minutes of fame) Thanks to Jerry Shriver of USA Today, the Food Network and a dozen other media outlets, which correctly identified pizza making as something people just really like to watch.
Pizza Publicity for Your Store
There is still time to make the team if you get to Columbus, Ohio, before February 23rd. Bring your best pizza recipe and you could earn one of the two remaining culinary spots on the team. Go to www.uspizzateam.com for information.
Dough Tossing Opportunities
In Italy, pizza competition has been big for the last 12 years. Live national Italian TV covers the event and Miss Italy crowns the winners. People love it. The excitement, camaraderie, and public fascination with pizza tossing is something that, after New York, obviously is universal.
Improve your dough tossing skills, not only to help future US Pizza Teams but to provide some very real publicity for your own store. This year many competitors from around the country got local media attention just for attending the New York Show. Newspapers and TV stations followed these hometown heroes throughout their quest. PMQ took pictures of each contestant and sent press releases to the hometown media of all entrants and we will do it again next year.
Need Help to Pay for Your Trip?
Can't afford the trip to New York or Columbus, Ohio? According to contestant Jeff Fraley of Macon, Georgia, he had his trip funded by negotiating a 1 percent rebate competition incentive with U.S. FoodService. Perhaps other distributors could be so generous.
The International New York Restaurant show was a great success with 20,000 in attendance and an ever-growing pizza pavilion. We were fortunate that there were plenty of pizza-friendly vendors there because we sure needed them. Thank you so much to Island Refrigeration, Allied Metal Spinning, De Iorio's Frozen Dough, Univex, Cambro and Elgee Power-Vac Sweepers. Each one of these companies helped us overcome a problem that we ran into in the process of putting on our first really big show. Thanks everyone!