Pizza Today - August 2017 - 18

with SCOTT WIENER

man on the street

What Your Customers Don't Know

T

he first few minutes of a
private pizza tour are crucial.
I have but a brief window
of time to earn the trust and confidence of my guests, who make me
run a treacherous gauntlet of questions before bestowing upon me the
credibility I had just finished earning
on the previous tour. I get it; I'm not
Italian and I'm not stout enough to be
a real pizza expert, so I need to prove
myself. They usually kick things off by
testing my taste in pizza, asking what
I think of this pizzeria and that pizzeria. I encounter my greatest challenge
when the group inevitably introduces
me to their exalted food expert. "I'm a
foodie." The words send a shiver down
my spine and I respond as kindly as
possible, "Oh, that's great!" But as the
conversation unravels, I find that I'm
talking to someone who doesn't know
the difference between boiling and
braising.
We're at an amazing moment in
food history where chefs are rock

1 8 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7

stars. We have TV shows about food
on major networks, famous YouTube
celebs who make six figures showing
off cooking hacks, Instagram accounts
dedicated to food, and even a growing
section in the bookstore called Food
Writing. With this explosion of interest in food and cooking, you'd think
culinary literacy was common practice,
but if my archetypical foodie tour
guest is any indication, your pizzeria
might have an invisible bottleneck on
its hands.
You and I know that mozzarella di
bufala is made from the milk of the
Asian water buffalo, but most people
draw a blank when asked about the
cheese's origins. I meet people every
day who honestly think it's from Buffalo, New York, or assume it will taste
like a chicken wing. They often get
squeamish when I tell them the milk
isn't from a cow. I have to pull out a
photo of water buffalo before they
believe me. People know that mozzarella di bufala is not the shredded

stuff, but they probably don't know
why it's more expensive than the usual
pizza cheese or why it's worthy of
being its own appetizer.
Cured meats are another blank spot
on many mental maps. If your menu
lists soppressata, speck, guanciale,
pancetta and bresaola, it's likely some
of your customers have no idea what
those words mean. I can't blame them.
Just the other day, I was in a Mediterranean restaurant and none of the 10
people at our table recognized an
ingredient listed in several of the
dishes. Of course our server asked if
we had any questions about the menu,
but we were all too embarrassed to
speak up. We just didn't order it.
With so many new pizzerias opting for classy Italian ingredients, it's
absolutely necessary to provide some
level of education and explanation.
The trick is to provide explanation
without making them feel like they're
in school. Servers can be incredibly
effective by verbally explaining some
highlights using more familiar foods
to draw parallels. Speck is Italian
bacon; soppressata is fancy pepperoni;
bresaola is sturdy roast beef - you get
the idea.
When I first bought my car over a
decade ago, I'd take it in for a repair
and leave unconcerned with whatever
tinkering it took to get her running
again. Then I met a mechanic who
explained what was wrong with my
engine before starting work. He must
have noticed that I didn't know the
difference between an alternator and
a carburetor. Now his is the only shop
I trust. ■
SCOTT WIENER is

the founder of Scott's
Pizza Tours in New York City and
SliceOutHunger.org.
By JOSH KEOWN


http://www.SliceOutHunger.org http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - August 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - August 2017

Pizza Today - August 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Soda Machines
Grilled Pizzas
Entrée Salads
Balsamic Vinegar
Promoting Victories
Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: It’s not too late to enter competitions
2017 Independent Pizzeria of the Year: Cane Rosso, Dallas, TX
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - August 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - August 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Pizza Today - August 2017
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - August 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Soda Machines
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Grilled Pizzas
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 36
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Entrée Salads
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Balsamic Vinegar
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 42
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Promoting Victories
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 46
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: It’s not too late to enter competitions
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 50
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 2017 Independent Pizzeria of the Year: Cane Rosso, Dallas, TX
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 54
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 56
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 60
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 67
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 70
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - August 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 78
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - August 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - August 2017 - Cover4
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