How do you know your company makes a good pizza? How about when it’s voted best pizza in Calgary, Alberta Canada – and you don’t have any pizza outlets in Calgary.
“We already knew we had a great pizza,” said George Yudell, marketing director for the San Francisco-based Extreme Pizza. “But that’s some welcome news when you don’t have a store there.”
The website www.citysearch.com rated it a best pizza, and so did San Francisco alternative paper San Francisco Weekly.
The new Colorado Springs store is Extreme Pizza’s second franchise and seventh store, and the first outside California. “We’re aimed at the young crowd, the Starbucks crowd,” said owner Chris Harrell, juggling a huge salad bowl in one hand and an 18-inch pizza in the other.
If those in attendance at his pre-opening party were any indication, he hit his target audience in the bull’s eye. The store is full of 20-somethings and their decorated hair, and 40-and-50 something’s and their decorated hair. They’re slugging down free pizza and soft drinks and talking extremely loud and extremely fast.
They are watching the X Games on big television screens hung from the ceiling. Outside, a bench made from three wildly painted boogie-boards holds several other pizza lovers. Interior decorations include giant pictures of extreme sports hanging on the wall, a wave-like soffit over the counter area, and bright red chairs against light-colored tables.
But what really matters are the pizzas, which are also Extreme, capital E intended. These pies are tasty, and if you’re really hungry, try huge. Order a large stuffed deep dish pizza, say the Phat Bird, or maybe the Mount Everest, and you’re looking at seven pounds of chicken, cheese, onions, peppers and a heap of other stuff.
These are not your father’s pizza’s, either. Not with names like California Cactus, Kickin Chicken, Mr. Pestato Head or Yard Sale (everything in the house). You can also order calzones, humungous salads, monster subs, and X Factors (hot wings, deserts and soft drinks).
We can’t tell you what’s in all these pizzas, but it is good, extremely good.
The store features dine in, or takeout, and specializes in corporate charge accounts, Harrell said. In fact, one dot-com corporate firm in San Francisco rolled up $8,000 worth of pizza debits. Unfortunately, employee appetites exceeded company assets, and it went bankrupt.
The company’s motto is “extreme, not mainstream,” said Yudell, a 20-something who wears his hat backwards and always talks in an excited tone. He has been with the company almost from the start. He loves his job and it shows, and he wants the kids working in the store to have fun too.
Last year the company ranked 22nd among the 150 fastest growing private companies in California by the San Francisco Business Times, with sales of over $4,000,000. President and chief executive officer Todd Parent is one of 30 finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Harrell said he plans to open additional stores in the future, including one store downtown.