This Week in Pizza

This Week in Pizza – October 2nd, 2013

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This Week in Pizza

Pizzeria operators should treat every customer like a VIP, but when that customer happens to be the president of the United States, you may have to go even further. Joe Fugere, owner of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizza in Seattle, went to extremes to get pizzas delivered to President Obama on Air Force One, and he landed on national TV for his efforts. Obama was in Seattle for a campaign appearance last year when Fugere got the call-in order from the president's staff. To ensure a fresh product for the leader of the free world, he and his team hauled a 4,000-pound wood-fired oven to the airport and made the pizzas on the tarmac. One of the pies was the Il Presidente, featuring Italian sausage, roasted peppers, pickled peppers, hot Calabrian chili peppers, basil and mozzarella and grana cheeses. Fugere's exploits were highlighted on the H2 network's "All You Can Eat" program.




Making Memorable Memorabilia

Popular shows such as "American Pickers" and "Antiques Roadshow" prove that consumers love to explore vintage items and memorabilia. Take advantage of this and track down some pizza memorabilia you have accumulated around your store – your very first menu, photos of when the shop first opened, your first pizza peel, etc. Consider framing some of this memorabilia and putting it on display. Customers love to learn about the history of their favorite restaurants and pizza makers!

Read more at The Pizza Insider.

This Week in Pizza

Today on This Week In Pizza: Pizza for the President; Christina Aguilera Partners with Pizza Hut; and Nate Burleson Injured in Pie-Related Accident

See the video at

The Secret, Sordid History of Ray's Pizza

A new book, "Mob Boss," reveals the secret – and often sordid – history of Ray's Pizza, one of New York's legendary pizzerias. According to Alfonso "Little Al" D'Arco, the first mob boss to turn government witness, Ray's was founded by Ralph "Raffie" Cuomo. After serving a prison term for armed robbery, Cuomo started Ray's (he thought "Ralph's Pizza" sounded too "feminine) in the same building where he'd grown up. His white pizza soon drew crowds, but the joint's real bread-and-butter was drugs, dealt out of the basement directly beneath the pizza ovens. As the drug deals got bigger, so did Ray's name – before long, it had become synonymous with New York pizza, and other operators stole the name for their own pizzerias, creating Famous Ray's, Original Ray's Pizza, and the One and Only Famous Ray's, to name a few. All in all, Cuomo served three prison terms for his various misdeeds, but Ray's stayed in the family until three years after his death of complications from diabetes and a heart ailment. The Ray's name, meanwhile, has achieved near-immortality in the Big Apple.


Beer/Wine Nights Create
Unique Dining Experience

More pizzeria operators (and other restaurateurs) are creating extraordinary dining experiences for their guests by pairing wines or beers with pizzas and bringing in experts to explain the details behind both. Many pizzerias partner with local breweries or wineries for these events. With limited seating, the dinners feature several courses at a single price, with wine/beer experts and chefs taking turns introducing each course and talking about how the wines or beers are made. It's a great way to turn a slow weeknight into a bustling pizza extravaganza!

Get step-by-step instructions for wine/beer nights at The Pizza Insider.


The Find-Your-Face Contest

If your pizzeria is located in a college town, here’s a promotion that will definitely bring in the younger crowd. Throughout the school year, send a designated employee to take candid photos of students, both collectively and in groups, around the campus (with their permission, of course) and at social and sporting events. Display selected photos on the “Find Your Face” wall at your pizzeria, changing them out every couple of weeks as new photos are taken. Through flyers distributed around campus and ads in the school newspaper, invite students to come to your pizzeria and “find their faces” in the displayed photos. Any student who finds his or her face gets a free cheese pizza or appetizer. (Once a student has identified himself in a photo, make sure to mark his face with a marker of some type to prevent students from coming in repeatedly to identify themselves in the same photo!)

Tom Feltenstein, “501 Killer Marketing Tactics To Increase Sales, Maximize Profits and Stomp Your Competition”


Judges Chosen for
American Pizza Championship

Judges for the American Pizza Championship, to be held at the International Baking Industry Expo (IBIE) next week in Las Vegas, have been announced. The competition, featured along with the U.S. Pizza Team Trials in the Pizza Village section of the IBIE event, challenges pizzaioli from around the U.S. to present their best pies in a culinary showdown. Categories include Best Pizza and Best Gluten-Free Pizza. This year’s judges will be Domenico Crolla, owner of Bella Napoli in Glasgow; John Arena of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas; Jeff Adams, staff writer for ; Lisa Smith and Janet Rogers, writers for; April Mastroluca, co-leader of the Las Vegas Celiac Support Group; Carlos Buscaglia, chef partner at Due Forni Restaurant in Las Vegas; and Rick Baker, entertainer from the “Shades of Sinatra” show at the Clarion Hotel and Casino. The IBIE event takes place October 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Read more about PMQ’s Pizza Village and IBIE 2013.

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