In Scott Wiener’s column this month, he discusses the part nostalgia can play in building your business. He opens by mentioning that a recent customer on one of his pizza tours in New York City waxed poetically about the pizza she grew up eating in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Like Scott, I encounter people nearly weekly who, once they find out what I do for a living, want to tell me about the BEST PIZZA EVER in the college town where they lived for four years or in the lake town where they vacationed with their grandparents each summer, etc.
I get the sentiment and can truly say I appreciate it. I grew up in a small town and the pizza I ate religiously in that town is still amongst my favorites. If most of you had it today, there would be plenty about it you don’t like. And I get that, too. But it’s part of my history.
Scott’s column struck a chord with me because it’s very easy for all of us to get caught up on our next big idea or the next quarter’s marketing campaign and forget about what got us to where we are in the first place. While some pizza places (see the Boston pizza tour and you’ll spot a couple) can get away with never changing and become timeless classics as a result, most restaurant concepts need to refresh periodically in order to reinvigorate their customer base and their employees. If you find yourself looking ahead too much, you just might enjoy the solace and satisfaction that can sometimes accompany looking back.
Celebrate your pizzeria’s heritage. Find ways on social media to highlight your past once in a while to engage customers. You — and they — will enjoy the ride.
Jeremy White, Editor-in-chief