By Diane Ako
If you can build it, will people come? The Pieology pizza chain owner is expecting that to be a big yes for a new Hawaii location.
Pieology, with its build-your-own artisan pizza concept, is testing this philosophy with a February 28 opening in Aina Haina Shopping Center, though plans are already in the works to open "about 19 or 20 more in Hawaii in the next five years," expands Shane Gray, the vice president of marketing and communications for Cotti Foods, the corporate franchisee of about 110 Wendy's, Taco Bells, and Pieologies across the West Coast.
He explains that owner and president Pete Capriotti studied the market based on how well his Wendy's performed in this state. "Cotti Foods owns all the Wendy's in Hawaii," Gray explains.
Over the next decade, Capriotti plans to open "30 to 40 more Pieology restaurants in Southern California, where we're based," reveals Gray.
By the looks of things at a media preview the day before the grand opening, Cotti Foods did its homework well. People looked happy. Kids looked happy. As I waited for my husband to arrive, I noticed a handful of curious passers-by wanting to go in and eat.
Once inside, this is how it works:
1. Choose your favorite crust – including a gluten-free option.
2. Select your sauce (House Red, 3-Cheese Alfredo, Herb Butter, Olive Oil, Fiery Buffalo, Pesto and BBQ).
3. Choose from five different cheeses and ten meat toppings including local favorites such as Portuguese Sausage, Spam, and Kalua Pork.
4. Stack your toppings (Black Olives, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Green Peppers, Artichokes, Tomatoes, Garlic, Pineapple, Jalapenos, Corn, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Cilantro, Spinach, Banana Peppers, Fresh Basil, Roasted Red Peppers).
The 11.5 inch pizzas are cooked in an open-flame, hearth stone, 800-degree deck oven; ready to eat within five minutes, and delivered to your table.
It really was fast, easy, and tasty. My daughter liked it so much, she actually ordered a second pizza, which is very unusual for her to eat that much. We were all very pleased with our choices.
It's also got a liquor license so it serves beer and wine, and though I really don't drink much anymore, I noticed it was a very popular menu offering.
I'm not a restaurateur, but I have a feeling this is going to do really well. Sure, Husband and I enjoyed it - the food, the atmosphere, the friendly staff, the convenient location. But here's what really sells it for this mom:
"Mommy! We have to come back here! I love this pizza!"
Yup. That's the real secret to marketing, isn't it?