A Conversation with Shawn Randazzo
Shawn lets us in on sending pizza anywhere in the U.S., catering and growth strategies
Our “Send a Pizza Anywhere in the U.S.” was created to make it convenient for people who have moved out of state to still enjoy our authentic Detroit-Style Pizza that they crave and miss so much. With this service anyone can easily order a pizza package through our Web site, whether it is for a gift or for themselves. When ordering they have an option to enclose a card or message, which is included in the package. All the orders we receive throughout the week are baked fresh on Sunday, cooled down, individually sealed air tight, and then quickly frozen. Monday we put the packages together using insulated shipping boxes and a combination of dry ice and a product called techni-ice.
There are several steps we took to ensure the quality of our pizzas upon arrival. Starting with the pizzas, we bake them fresh the day before they are sent out. Each pizza is individually sealed airtight in a FDA approved poly. Since the pizza sauce goes on top of our pizzas, we separately package the sauce, as the pizzas turn out much better when the sauce is applied right before baking them in your home oven. Testing with friends and family out of state has been very helpful. We also have tested several packages in different climates by recording the time and temperature of the package. Recording temperatures and times, we were able to create a system to determine the amount of dry ice and techni-ice needed for each shipment to arrive in great condition. Just like other parts of our business, feedback from our customers will always help us evolve and improve our nationwide delivery system.
Some catering orders we do bring in more than our regular business for the whole day. Our catering orders tend to be much more profitable, and it also gets us in front of a lot of potential new customers. Our delivery area is pretty big for catering, so there is a lot of opportunity. We cater to big corporate buildings in downtown Detroit to the boat races in Port Huron, which is over 35 miles apart. Our most consistent catering comes from pharmaceutical reps we have built great relationships with.
I believe the main thing that sets us apart is our style of pizza … which until recently was rarely seen beyond the Detroit region. Our pizza has a deep history and we are fortunate enough to serve Gus Guerra’s recipe that was first introduced in 1946. Besides the well-seasoned blue steel pans and quality ingredients we use, the passion and love put into creating a pie is also a thing worth mentioning.
Our growth strategy will consist of appealing to new markets with our thin crust pan pizzas and other offerings targeted toward younger generations. We are very well known for our deep-dish Detroit-Style pizza. Offering a lighter version of (these) pizzas will bring in different, more health-conscious crowds as well. Besides trying to target new markets we plan on putting more effort into promoting our online sales and mail orders. In the next five years, we plan on opening several more Cloverleaf Pizza Carryout & Delivery locations. We plan on opening a third location by fall of 2012. Franchising may come to play in 2013. Besides growing our business, I think personal growth comes hand in hand, so we plan on investing in our key employees and ourselves consistently and continuously.