2010 June: Five Questions

Patty Phillips owns and operates California-based Patty’s on the Run. This take-and-bake delivery company offers a complete line of pizzas, sides, sandwiches and desserts. The company also offers a wholesale line of pizzas for the commercial market and recently reduced its real estate by closing its store and moving online.

Q. How does the “Patty’s on the Run” concept work?

A. With the way the economy is heading and the high rents in California especially –– we were on a high-end boutique street in Santa Monica which is kind of like the Beverly Hills of Santa Monica –– about 30 to 40 businesses had gone out. The landlords weren’t lowering the rent. I had this idea instead of having a brick and mortar location, I’d take it virtual, since we have loyal customers. People can go to our Web site … and order online and we are delivering it to them for free. It was a way to deal with the challenging environment for businesses today. I brought everything into my wholesale facility and we carved out a niche. We deliver throughout west L.A.

Q. How did you initially start your wholesale business?

A. Like anything in life, sometimes you just kind of fall into things. I had a chef come in into my shop back in 1989 and said ‘you have the best pizza I’ve ever had. Can you make them and deliver them to me?’ … Eventually, I got (hotel contracts). It’s been one hotel at a time, one pizza at a time. We got large enough so that we could have a separate wholesale facility.

Q. What is the allure of take-and-bake pizza?

A. It takes a while for people to understand the concept of take-and-bake pizza. We explain to our customers that studies have shown that pizza deteriorates after it’s cooked within 7 minutes. It’s getting cold; it’s getting soggy. With a take-and-bake pizza, you get it fresh to your door, and when you’re ready, you put it in the oven to bake. It only takes 15 minutes to cook. It’s fresh, hot delicious pizza right out of your oven.

Q. How does the delivery aspect of take-and-bake work for you?

A. It’s getting there. It’s a brand new concept. We just started this in March. It’s getting people used to (the fact that) we’re not located in Santa Monica, but they can get the pizza and get it delivered.

Q. Have you considered baking in-house?

A. We are toying with the idea of offering cooked pizzas. We’re not sure if we’re going to go that route. When you get a fresh pizza delivered to your door, it is so much better if you can put it in your oven. You don’t have to have it there at a certain time. You can have it delivered at 5, knowing that your guests are going to be there at 7. It is more convenient for people, if they think about it.