Pizzeria's interactive contests engage, interest customers

July 15, 2003

TROY, Mich. -- Though Shield's Restaurant and Pizzeria will end its Summer Pizza Bake Off Contest this year, the operation's co-owners say they'll start another contest soon to keep customer involvement and interest high.

According to the Detroit News, the Bake Off ran for three years and yielded more than 500 recipes submitted by customers.

"We kept hearing people say, 'Your pizzas are great, but we wish you had this one or that one,' " said co-owner Paul Andoni. "We just figured, 'What better way to involve our clientele than to have them submit recipes?' "

Despite the contest's success (grand-prize winners received a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant and had their pizzas featured on the menu for a week), the owners figured it was time to come up with a new contest when many of the recipes submitted this year were repeats.

"We like to keep things fresh and interesting," Andoni told the News.

Some unique Bake Off winners included a Polish sausage and sauerkraut recipe that became one of the restaurant's most successful pizzas, while a bacon, lettuce and tomato pizza submission was a dud.

"The one that really grossed me out was (a) peanut butter and banana one," Andoni said. "We stopped about halfway through making that one and said, 'This isn't going to work.' "

Andoni said he'll miss seeing some of his customers' special recipes.

"There have been a number of really odd ones that sound good on paper, but when you make them, they're just a little too unique, if you know what I mean," he said.

Topics: Independent Operation , Marketing

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