Consistency That Keeps Customers Coming Back
Brick 3 Pizza Owner Demetri shares the secret behind making food your customers want to eat 6 days a week and managing a staff that welcomes customers in like family.
Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.
What is old can be new again if put in the right hands. Daniela B. thought she knew pizza, and she thought she knew what she liked. When her office celebrated a huge milestone in her life—her naturalization ceremony—the staff ordered pizza from Brick 3 Pizza in Milwaukee. What’s more American than celebrating citizenship with pizza?
The celebration fell on a Friday during the Lenten season, and Daniela does not eat meat during Lent, so her team ordered a veggie pizza just for her. The meal was a revelation. “I've never had a veggie pizza before,” she said. “And it was just the best pizza I had ever had. I had this sort of magical moment.”
Really good pizza is something to remember, especially if it continues to impress each time you visit. That’s part of what makes Brick 3 Pizza so special to Daniela.
“Clearly this business really connects with a very special moment in my life,” she said. “I was blown away by the veggie pizza. I've never had it before and it was supreme. On my second time, I had a caprese, which happens to be the house specialty. And again, I was blown away. Fresh ingredients on a big New York style slice. I'll come back for more.”
Fresh, high quality ingredients are the foundation of a successful pizza, according to owner Demetri Itsines. Brick 3 Pizza takes no shortcuts when creating its pies. Everything is done from scratch, and it shows, he said: “Most places will take a chicken tender, frozen from the store, cook it, chop it up, and throw it on a pizza. We take a fresh chicken breast that we cut ourselves. We put the breading on ourselves. We deep fry it ourselves. We take it out. We do everything.”
Demetri said he eats his own pizza regularly, as do his employees. This taste test is important to him: He wants his customers to keep coming back because they love the pizza, not because it’s a quick and convenient lunch.
“I ask everybody, even the employees here, ‘Is it a place that you'd want to go to?’” Demetri said. “It's been 13 years and I still order a pizza once a week. I eat slices probably every three or four days, but it's still something I want to be able to eat.”
Demetri has honed his flavors through years of experience and dedication. His father also owned restaurants and still comes to work with Demetri even in retirement, because he loves the food business so much. Their enthusiasm shows in the quality of the pizza and the personal touch they have with customers, about 70% of whom are regulars, Demetri estimates.
Since Brick 3 Pizza offers pizza by the slice, it’s a great lunch option for people who live or work within walking distance, coming in on their breaks from nearby banking or law offices. In the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the foot traffic can also fluctuate based on events or time of day. Demetri has to stay on top of the schedule to make sure he’s fully staffed to handle the rush.
Between the lunch crowds and high-traffic nights, Demetri’s staff stays busy. But Demetri always finds time to treat his team with love and consideration. “I love my staff, I do,” Demetri said.“I like to keep it small because I like to keep it family-oriented. We actually celebrate our Christmas on Easter every year, cause it's the first day we're closed [over the holidays]. I take everybody to a restaurant and we all go eat and hang out.”
In turn, Brick 3’s employees pass this care onto their customers—something that means even more than fresh ingredients and great taste. This is how Demetri keeps blowing away customers like Daniela with each visit:
- High quality products win every time. Demetri’s quality ingredients and fresh vegetables sold Daniela on her first veggie pizza.
- Know your traffic patterns. If your business is near a high-volume area, keep your calendar up-to-date to make sure your business is prepared for busier-than-usual days.
- Excellent customer service will set you apart from the competition. The Brick 3 team works to connect with their customers,particularly regulars.
Listen to the episode below to hear from Demetri and Daniela on leaving good reviews, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.