The colossal pizza

One line of media attention can be worth ten times the amount you spend on advertising space. So how can pizza operators get this free and extremely valuable media attention? Simple, break a world's record. Jeff Parker, founder and owner of the Original Brooks Pizza 2-for-1 Ltd., had no idea he would receive the media attention and surge in sales that has followed in the wake of Brooks creating The Colossal. What is The Colossal? It's the current Guinness World Record holder for the largest commercially available pizza.

Measuring three feet wide, four feet long and providing 108 pieces, The Colossal supplies 12 square feet of pizza for $134.95. Jeff says people are stunned when they see this thing. "If you think it sounds big, you need to actually see it to understand how massive it really is," he adds. Brooks is known around Alberta for their 2-for-1 offer, but Jeff is quick to add that The Colossal is not included in that deal. For those needing something a little more subtle, say only six square feet of pizza instead of 12, they can order a Mini Colossal ($69.95), which is three feet by two feet. How has this helped Jeff and Brooks? Just listen to this.

"Media coverage has been the biggest benefit. Since we were certified by Guinness as a world record, we have been in all of the newspapers in and around Alberta and in the U.S. The media just came to us," says Jeff. " We have also received broadcast media attention on several news programs. We have been contacted by numerous magazines and have seen a noticeable increase in customers since creating The Colossal, which is probably the result in all of the talk and media coverage we have been receiving. The pizza is getting more than attention; it's getting some sales too. Since June of 1999, we have sold close to 600 Colossal pizzas."

The Colossal is a great way to feed large parties, according to Jeff, but he also has found another market for them. He sells them to schools for $99.95. He's also a sponsor of the Western Hockey League's Lethbridge Hurricanes and sells pizza by the slice at all of their home games.

How to Build a Giant

Jeff says that to build a pizza of this magnitude it took a considerable amount of time, determination and trial and error. The world record came by accident. They first made it to be different, but then a friend suggested they submit it to Guinness. On October 5, 2000, it was certified as a world record. He says they made about 20 pizzas before they got the formula right. "We burnt a few, under-cooked a few and dropped a couple before we got it right," says Jeff.

He says that the food cost of The Colossal is about 20 to 25 percent, which is lower than the food cost of his regular pizza. The pizza takes 16 pounds of cheese, three liters of sauce and 16 pounds of dough to get started. Toppings, such as pineapple or sausage, can weigh as much as three pounds each. The crust is 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick and the pizza is cooked at 600-624 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

They had the pans made in two pieces that separate after cooking because that is the only way it can be removed without tearing the pizza apart. Brooks Industrial Metals (403-362-3544) custom built the pans for $180 each. Jeff said they use Baker's Pride Y600 ovens in all of their stores to cook The Colossal. The boxes for The Colossal cost $9 and The Mini Colossal boxes run $6. They are only a 1/2 wider and longer than the pizzas and were custom made by Instabox (in Calgary, 800-661-9949, www.instabox.com) with 175-lb. paper. The pizzas have to be tilted to go through doors. Jeff and his crew found that an insert was needed in the bottom of the box to prevent it from sliding when tilted. Instabox also made the inserts and used 150-lb. weight paper to get the job done.

The entire process requires two people to handle the monstrous pizza. Originally, they required 24 hours-advanced notice to make The Colossal. Now that the process is refined and fine-tuned, they only need 45 minutes notice to produce a world record pizza.

What's in the Future?

If one world record increases sales and gets free publicity, why not go for two…or three. Jeff said they are working on a delivery system to send The Colossal anywhere in the US. Two problems he must address are the mere size of the pizza and delivering it hot and fresh. Brooks is currently working on a hotbag system that will cook the pizza while it is on its way to the customer.

Another record they may break is the largest pizza order. Currently, this accolade goes to Little Caesar's, who in 1998 filled an order for the VF Corporation of Greensboro, North Carolina, for 13,386 pizzas for 40,160 employees at 180 locations across the US. The pizzas were made at Little Caesar's locations scattered across the country. A tentative order has been put in for Brooks to deliver 250 Colossal pizzas for 15,000 employees of an unnamed company in April 2001. The largest order record may fall if Guinness decides to use the actual square footage to determine who has the record. Another factor they hope to have included in the decision that will be made by Guinness is that the entire order will be produced from only three locations, as opposed to the numerous Little Caesar's locations employed to earn the current record.

Other Successful Promotions

Jeff has a couple of other promotions that he says have proved to be a success. One of those was his "Yeah Right" promotion. This was a series of print ads, TV and radio commercials emphasizing their quick delivery. The commercial showed a kid driving by in a car and a voice proclaiming Brooks delivery to be "faster than a speeding bullet." The car stops, backs up and the driver leans out and says "Yeah Right." It became a popular slogan and he topped off the promotion with T-shirts, bumper stickers and magnets. He says they are thinking of reviving the promotion to go along with The Colossal. Other promotions he has found to be successful are his Six Pack Attack, which consists of two sodas, two cheesecakes or bags of chips and two 10 inch pizzas for $16.95 and his Family Pack deal. The Family Pack includes four 10-inch pizzas, or three 10-inch pizzas and any dessert pizza, with a liter of soda for $28.95.

The Original Brooks Pizza 2-for-1 Ltd. has three locations, which are located in Brooks, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Jeff has been in the pizza business for 14 years and is actively involved with kids in his community through his church. He is also one of only three people to be given the "Volunteer Award" from Brooks Junior High for his community sponsorships. He says that part of what inspired him to bake his way into the record books are the questions and ingenuity presented to him from the youth he speaks to and encounters. He says that this is a good way to demonstrate to kids that "If you can dream it, you can do it."

SALES HISTORY
1999
MONTHCOLOSSALS SOLD
June9 (conception of "The Colossal")
July13
August8
September9
October6
November11
December12
2000
January5
February12
March10
April19
May17
June12
July26
August16
September19
October46
(Inaugurated into the Guinness Book of World Records)

 

Here is a listing of some other world records relating to pizza that are listed on the Guinness World Record website (www.guinnessworldrecords.com). Can you beat any of these or come up with a new world record category? The payoff could be massive media attention. Let us know about your attempts.

Largest Pizza Order

Who: Little Caesar's Enterprises and the VF Corporation

When: August 19, 1998Where: United States

What: 13,386 pizzas On August 19, 1998, Little Caesars filled an order from the VF Corporation of Greensboro, North Carolina, for 13,386 pizzas for 40,160 employees at 180 locations across the US to celebrate VF Day. The VF Corporation is the world's largest publicly owned apparel company and a leading retail business.

Longest Pizza Delivery

Who: Eddie Fishbaum, owner of Broadway's Jerusalem 2

When: N/A

Where: New York, USA

What: 6,752 miles Fishbaum traveled 6,752 miles to hand-deliver a plain pizza to Eiji Bando, one of Japan's most popular athletes and media stars. He was broadcasting the feat for the Japanese TV show Unbelievable, aired on Channel 7 of the Fuji TV network. The entire trip, which began at 5 a.m. on a Tuesday (New York time), took 62 hours, as the program makers wanted to take the owner on a wild goose chase, via Los Angeles and Honolulu. The pizza cost $7,000 US, including airfare and traveling expenses. The company is well known for delivering pizzas abroad, with customers in Jerusalem, Alaska, Russia and Australia.

Largest Pizza

Who: Norwood Hypermarket

When: December 8, 1990

Where: Norwood, South Africa

What: 122 feet, 8 inches The diameter of the Norwood pizza was 3.5m. (11.5 feet) larger than the previous world record by Pizza Hut, Singapore, in June 1990, which stood at 33.9 m. (37 yards). Norwood Hypermarket management, staff, suppliers, companies and organizations were all involved in creating the world's largest pizza. The ingredients were 4,500 kg. (9,920 pounds) flour, 90 kg. (198 pounds) salt, 90 kg. (198 pounds) yeast, 2,925 liters (5,147 pints) water, 1,800 kg. (3,968 pounds) cheese, 900 kg. (1,984 pounds) tomato puree, 900 kg. (1,984 pounds) chopped tomatoes, 800 kg. (1,763 pounds) mushrooms, 9 kg. (20 pounds) mixed herbs, 180 kg. (397 pounds) margarine. Preparation and cooking took about 39 hours. Once cooked, the pizza was cut by the Mayor of Johannesburg, and slices were sold to the public to raise funds for charity. The main beneficiary of the proceeds was St. Marks College in Lebowa.