What's Up in Pizza: Pizza Clubs, Chain Discounts, and Marc Malnati's Business Advice!


Pizza Hut's Crunchy Cheesy [Photograph: Robyn Lee/Adam Kuban]

  • Renee Moore probably didn't know what she was getting into when she told her boyfriend, Jeff McQueen, that he should start a pizza club. According to the Gazette he took her at her word, and the group—Pizza Addicts Anonymouse—has ballooned up to 150 members since April, despite very little promotion on the couple's part. McQueen, a meterologist and former New Yorker, is a die-hard pizza lover; the club goes on monthly outings to celebrate, learn about, and devour pies. Members pull from all over the D.C. area, and span from college students hankering for a slice to older Italian women making their own pies. "There are a lot of closet pizzaholics out there," says McQueen. "These people really know good pizza." A sentiment any Slice'r can get behind!
  • We're all familiar, I think, with Jon Stewart's Chicago pizza rant, a smack down of titanic proportions that aired this past November. Maybe you also caught the follow up segment, wherein Marc Malnati (of Lou Malnati's) visited the Daily Show to personally serve Jon a slice of Chicago-style pizza, in a conciliatory gesture. What we're perhaps less familiar with (or some of us anyway) is the background Marc brought to handling himself with the comedian. According to Crain's Chicago Business, Marc approaches a lot of what he does through the lens of therapy and open communication. When he stepped in to take over the family business, one of the early changes he made was to hire a business coach and therapist—at the encouragement of his wife, Jeanne—to help teach his staff, new and old, communication skills. For the past 22 years, they've kept at it, and of the company's 130 managers, 110 participate in the monthly sessions. This therapeutic method of dealing with problems has helped Mr. Malnati in his own life, making him more conscious of how he relates to others—including certain comedy show hosts!
  • Finally, there are a couple of anniversaries to celebrate! Pizza Hut traditionally lays claim to having sold the first thing ever (a pizza) over the internet, in 1994...making 2014 their 20th anniversary! According to Entrepreneur, to honor the event, they've brought back their seriously old-school ordering system, "PizzaNet", and are offering 50% off a medium or large pizza for "Hut Lovers" members ordering online between now and Friday, January 10th.
  • WSJ's MarketWatch has kept an eye on the other big anniversary this year—John Schnatter opened the first Papa John's in 1984. 30 years and 4,300 restaurants later, Papa John's has their own celebratory deal: now through January 26th, with the online purchase of any regularly priced large pizza you can also order a large, one-topping pie for only 30 cents more (and can add on the Papa's Chocolat Chipe Cookie for only $5).