Success Stories

Dr. Pizza

Firmly establishing a loyal customer base in just a few short years, Rick Cavaliere’s success has come from getting potential customers’ attention with memorable word of mouth advertising and then holding them with top quality pizza and pasta and responsive, personalized service.

Creating Memorable Word of Mouth

To say that Rick’s pizzeria is memorable would be an understatement. Taking a hospital theme to its fullest, “Dr. Pizza” customers are served their meals in a “Waiting Room” from a kitchen marked “Operating Room” by employeesdressedin hospital “scrub” type shirts. Delivery orders even occasionally arrive via a vintage 1971 Cadillac ambulance, sporting red lights and the “Dr. Pizza” logo. Far from traditional, the “Dr. Pizza” theme makes a lasting first impression with potential customers, especially with the staffs from two nearby hospitals.


Telling Customers About Superior Ingredients

By itself, the novel décor would have little staying power. However, Rick depends on superior food quality to bring customers back. Emphasizing his commitment to quality, Rick proudly displays a long list of his ingredients by name and geographic origin, demonstrating to his customers how far he’ll go to achieve the most flavorful food possible.


Training Employees to Value Customers

Rick says that once you’ve locked in food quality, the key to success is timeliness to ensure that each customer will be served their order as quickly and politely as possible, which depends on many employees. Therefore, Rick invests a great deal of time in training and motivating his staff.

While the unique atmosphere and uniforms help create a certain “esprit de corps” within the “Dr. Pizza” staff, Rick works to strengthen their feeling of “ownership” by explaining that as the only employee that customer may ever see, they are “Dr. Pizza.” Rick also teaches the long term value of each customer by having employees multiply out his average order size by 52 weeks over five years! “This keeps them from thinking they’re ‘doing me a favor’ by fighting a customer over an order worth $3.00 in ingredients when there’s thousands of dollars at stake!”


Building Business Without Discounts

Rick dislikes discounting and doesn’t put coupons in his newspaper ads. “We tried that in the beginning, but we found that all you get is one time shoppers looking for a deal.” Instead, Rick prefers to find inexpensive ways to create excitement to attract new quality oriented customers.


Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

One such example is his 12 Days of Christmas event, which Rick advertised in the local paper two weeks before Christmas. Anyone sending the pizzeria a Christmas card (with their name and address inside) was entered into a daily drawing on each of the twelve days of Christmas to receive a free party sized pizza of their choice.

The response was overwhelming, so Rick had employees decorate the restaurant with the scores of colorful card entries. In turn, the festive display wowed customers visiting the shop, prompting even more entries. Beyond creating lots of positive word of mouth (which increased business during the period), the promotion also created a valuable mailing list of customers and potential customers … all without a single discount!



From Rick’s perspective, it all boils down to one thing: constantly remembering who’s really behind your success. “When you first open your place, it’s yours. But if it does well, you have to remember that it’s not yours any more; it belongs to the community.” We couldn’t agree more.