Realizing that the crust is some people's favorite part of pizza, Dayton, Ohio-based Cassano's recently introduced its "All Edge" pie to satisfy the cravings of what it calls "Edge Heads." Its customers who prefer the inside slices go by "The Inner Circle."
"Dad (Vic Cassano Jr.) loved the inside of a pizza, but we know from all the years we have been in business that many people prefer the edges," said Chris Cassano, president of Cassano's.
How it's made
The All Edge is a round pizza pie with a hole cut in the middle, ensuring each square has an edge piece. The chefs then fill the cut-out center of the pizza with a choice of one of six appetizers - Ravioli, Breaded Banana Pepper Rings, Tater Babies, Cheese Sticks or Garlic Cheese Strips.
"Instead of leaving an empty space in the middle, we fill it with an appetizer so it's a complete meal and a unique pizza eating experience," Chris said.
Founded by Vic Cassano Sr. and Mom Donisi in 1953, Cassano's is the oldest pizza restaurant in the Dayton area. The company has 34 locations and a wholesale dough business.
The Cassano family also got creative with the way they marketed their new menu creation. Instead of using traditional advertising avenues, they held two All Edge social media parties and spread the word about the new pizza via social networking. Cassano's has placed a strong emphasis on social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter, to reach existing and new, younger customers.
Although Cassano's is a company rooted in tradition, it also understands the importance of adapting new technologies to develop a new customer base by non-traditional methods, said Chip Cassano, CEO.
"We've been pleasantly surprised by the response and the business that it has generated."
Edge Heads vs. The Inner Circle
Cassano's in September and October is running a social media campaign pitting the Edge Heads against The Inner Circle. Customers will vote on their favorite "piece" of pizza via Facebook and receive some type of special offer. The details are still in the works, but Lora Cassano, marketing director, expects it to be a fun way to get people talking about the pizza.
"Our customers seem to be really passionate about what they like," Lora said.
Outside the Pizza Box is a recurring story featuring something innovative a pizza operator is doing to grow business. If you think you are doing something "Outside the Pizza Box," contact Editor Cherryh Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.