Commentary: 09-09-09

2009 September: CommentaryWhat exactly is 09.09.09, and where did the idea come from? For months now we’ve been teasing you with promos. Every time you watched a video on the Pizza Today home page, we mentioned that 09.09.09 was coming. We e-mailed you about it. We sent you party invitations hyping a special event in print. We’ve Twittered about it. …

It all began at International Pizza Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. That show, more than any other in recent memory, struck a chord. While the economic picture was at its bleakest, pizzeria operators came by the thousands to Sin City to celebrate and advance our great industry. These operators, as I’ve written in the past, were there to learn and apply the knowledge they were acquiring. They weren’t rolling over in the face of adversity; they were snubbing their noses at it, seemingly saying, “We’ll show you!”

And they have. The pizza industry has remained resilient as other sectors of foodservice have plummeted.

Not long after the show ended — it was early April — the Pizza Today office was still abuzz over the excitement generated at International Pizza Expo 2009. Our publisher, Pete Lachapelle, challenged us to find a way to bottle that magic and translate it into print.

And I believe we have. Actually, we took it a step beyond that and have created “An Event in Print”. We approached the September issue (09.09.09) as a three-avenue corridor of information — print, Web and video — all linked to one another:

1. Pizza Today magazine You may have already noticed that the design of this issue is completely different from previous issues. That’s because we threw out the templates and developed a design approach that highlights the single, greatest factor of the pizza industry’s success — people. We’ve lined up our foremost experts. What they have to say is enlightening. As you progress through this month’s pages, we trust you’ll agree that these are the gurus, the owner/operators that are truly on the cutting edge of the pizza biz and the information they offer is of great value to you.

2. www.PizzaToday.com On the road or don’t have your Pizza Today in front of you? No problem, just go to our Web site, www.PizzaToday.com. You can read the entire September issue online. But don’t stop there. Our Web site has numerous, exciting opportunities.

3. Online Videos We shot videos of nearly half of the stories you’ll read in the September issue — videos that you can access anytime you wish on our Web site.

We flew to Chicago to film Pat Bruno making fresh mozzarella, fresh ricotta and stuffed Portobello mushrooms. Chef Jeff flew from Georgia to our office in Louisville to make a plethora of items ranging from pizza wraps to ricotta gnocchi. Heck, even a past Independent of the Year, Darryl Reginelli, dropped by.

Ultimately, this issue is about you — the pizzeria operators who have found a way to succeed when the chips are down. A lot of great people have a lot of great things to say in this issue. Soak it up. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers,

Jeremy White editor-in-chief

jwhite@pizzatoday.com