Pizzeria Without Walls Keeps
the Fires Burning
Building wood-fired ovens and running a restaurant go hand
in hand for Hugo Laranja. But his pizzeria, which opened last
summer in Grand Haven, Michigan, is missing one thing: walls.
Leasing the kitchen and deck of a local bakery, Forno de Pizza
operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day and serves pizzas
solely in an outdoor setting. “Customers sit on a beautiful deck
that’s surrounded by trees and resembles someone’s backyard,
where they can relax, converse and watch the [oven] fires burning,”
Laranja says. “To complement the experience, we have a friendly
pizzaiolo who explains how the oven works and how the pizzas
are made.” Laranja’s oldest son, Tiago, will likely take over the
operation after graduating from college, and expansion is in the
plans. “We wanted to get a feel for the concept: farm-to-table, local
produce, organic and sustainable,” Laranja adds. “This also gives
my kids a job for the summer and lessons in running a business.”
As a manufacturer of custom wood-fired ovens, Forno de
Pizza has been in business since 2009, but owner Hugo
Laranja now crafts his creations in a family-run, seasonally
operated restaurant with 16 seats—all of them outdoors.
Keep Your Friends Close and Your Critics Closer
Use your loyalty program to solicit customers’ feedback and learn more
about their preferences and how your pizzeria is perceived in the community. After each visit, send out a survey asking the customer to comment on
his experience to earn more rewards. If a customer had a bad experience,
this also gives you a chance to address the issue and make it right.
Quick Tip #2
You Say You Want a Revolution?
What does it mean to “be revolutionary”? PizzaRev posed that question
this summer to its fans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a chance
to win free pizza for life. PizzaRev sparked the online conversation with a
37-second teaser video featuring professional athletes, food bloggers and
its own employees discussing what “being revolutionary” means to them.
Social media fans posted their own answers in the comments sections along
with the #berevolutionary hashtag. The grand-prize winner won a free
pizza per week for life, while weekly prizes included free pizzas through
the chain’s ordering app and PizzaRev swag.
PizzaRev co-founder Nicholas Eckerman said the chain’s “Be Revolutionary” campaign was “a
celebration of our core values. Our fans are making a difference and doing amazing things in their
communities, so we’re excited to see their perspective on what it means to be revolutionary.”