Whaaa, You Think This Is Your Personal Kitchen?

By Beacon Staff

Every day, I read about local businesses who want “protection” from big box stores and franchises, when the real problem is staring at them in the mirror.

Wednesday night, my oldest was settling in from his return home for Thanksgiving break from the U. Apparently they don’t serve enough pizza at college, because he wanted us to do pizza for dinner.

Normally, I go get the pizza as delivery is just too slow (or I’m too impatient) from the nearby place we typically use. I know, I know, I should just get it somewhere else. The other is a corporate place that offers decent service and serves decent pizza, but the family simply wanted something different & for some reason (hmm), I keep forgetting that the Back Room sells pizza.

So they call the pizza shop and they ask for delivery because I’m in the office on the phone with a client and they don’t want to bother me (and they’re hungry).

90 minutes later, my wife asks me if I mind picking up the pizza. She says she called after it didn’t show up and they said they “forgot to deliver it”. They said if we just come pick it up, it’s free.

When I get to the pizza joint, the guy over by the oven asks me if I’m here to pickup or order and I tell him I have pizza to pickup. “Name?” he says, rather than something marginally more friendly.

I give him my name, he grabs them off of the oven, asks a coworker if I’ve paid & upon hearing that it’s free, hands them to me without a single word.

No “Man, we really messed up, sorry about that.” No “Sorry dude, we’re understaffed tonight, thanks for your patience, see you next week.”

Instead, he walks away in silence.

Fast forward 3 days.

Today, I’m on the phone with a client who owns a pizza shop outside the valley. He tells me a recent pizza joint story (yes, about the same place) from my blog got him to thinking, along with a book that I suggested he read.

He says custom orders used to drive him crazy (he & I talked about this before), but now, after deciding that his “Business is Personal”, he loves custom orders. In fact, he says nowadays, every order is a custom order.


Rather than dwell on all the reasons not to do custom orders & being aggravated at his customers about it, he has chosen to FOCUS on it. He could just have easily said to his customers in his best Tony Soprano accent, “Whaa, you think this is your personal kitchen????”, but he didn’t.

Instead, he positioned his store as just that – their personal kitchen. The only place they can go and get exactly what they want. Delivered, if necessary. Since that time, catering business is up substantially.

If you work at Pizza Ranch, maybe the 27th large Meat Master pizza you made today isn’t all that important to you. Understandable.

However, that meal might be really important to the family with special company over for the first time, a kid home from school or Iraq, the parent who just got in from out of town, etc.

It might be the calmest meal they had all week. It might be the only meal they had together after a terribly hectic week.

To each customer, that order is personal. It matters to them whether you delivered it within 90 minutes of getting the order, much less if the cheese is stuck to the roof of the box or if the wrong items are on it.

So tell me, which pizza place would you rather go to? The place where you can order what you want and the guy who cooks it signs the box, or the place where you get a shrug? I realize there are portion control & other cost issues to deal with here – but you’re smart enough to make those pencil out, aren’t you?

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].