Tue 1 May 2012
This is a tale of two pizzas.
Last night, I had a very curious food service situation arise. There’s this pizza place I really dig called Italia Express. I order from them regularly. They have excellent dough that crisps and puffs in all the right places. Their sauce is well-balanced and never too sweet or too salty. (As an 11-year Manhattan resident, sauce drift was an inevitable part of a much-loved pizza place becoming less-loved.) Their toppings are constantly fresh, and the green peppers are put on at just the right time to keep that slight bit of crunch. They manage their prices and you can get a real NYC-style extra large (18″) for $18.00. Compare that to Eno’s Local specialty pizza at $16.00 for 14″.
Let’s also compare the customer service of these two establishments. As I said, I order from Italia Express on the regular. The delivery guy knows me by name and voice. So, I was woefully confused about our customer relationship last night when I was not allowed to pay by check. I work in the service industry; I create and deliver advertising tactics and concepts. I know how important keeping a rich connection between me and my clients is.
With checks off the table, I did what any lazy, hungry person would do. I walked back over to where I left my wallet and took out cash. When I got back, I was steaming. I had to sacrifice my laziness to my hungriness. In America, we have delivery so that never has to happen. Also, since I’m a professional writer, I wrote the owner a short note about how inconsiderate this business behavior was. When my delivery guy showed up, he apologized for the company, took my note and then tore off my name and email address, which I included for feedback. This was too surreal to warrant commentary.
Let’s look at Eno’s now. The very first time I ordered with them they were half-an-hour late. I only mentioned it to the driver, because I served pizza in Oak Cliff the year after graduating college. When you delivery drive, you’re supposed to spiral out, because the people who live furthest from the restaurant naturally expect their delivery to take longer. I live less than a mile from Eno’s. (It would be interesting to know what people think their response times are in terms of cooking vs. driving breakdown, but I digress…) This Eno’s driver came back unsolicited with a $10 gift card and an extra ice tea.
That business behavior proved crazy smart. I talked about my first Eno’s experience to all my friends. They recommended the shop to their friends. Eno’s response seemed unnecessarily generous and it was. Every action tells a story. Eno’s story is one about renewed and reinforced value. The Italia Express story is one of fearing your customer. I’m certain that Eno’s has gotten ripped off. And I’m equally certain Italia Express is turning a large profit.
What’s the moral of this story? One, at my age, I need to not order pizzas so big I have to freeze more than half of it. Two, Eno’s has a reasonably-sized pie made by people who value my business.