Entries in Pizza (14)


Cincinnati Reds' Fans Hit Home Run in Free Pizza Deal

Fuse/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI, Ohio) -- Cincinnati Reds' fans who love pizza are in luck this season thanks to a red-hot streak from the baseball team's pitching squad.

Whenever the Reds strike out 11 opposing players, Reds' tickets holders for that game win a free small pizza, a roughly $6 value, from the city's hometown favorite, LaRosa's Pizzeria chain.

That equation is a great deal if you're a Reds' fan, considering the team has already recorded seven of the 11-man strikeouts just one month into the season, on its way to matching the total of 14 strikeouts for the entire last season.

It's not so great of a deal if you're LaRosa's, considering the family-owned chain has already handed out more than $100,000 worth of free pizzas.

"Nobody is excited about giving away free food," said Pete Buscani, LaRosa's executive vice president of marketing.

But, when you're a local business on the eve of marking your 60th anniversary in the town where you started, and marking the eighth season where you've served your pizzas in the Great American Ballpark where the Reds play, you'll take the hit, with a smile.

"The fan reaction has been so positive and the positive word of mouth has even the toughest franchise owners saying this is the best promotion we've ever done," said Buscani. "Our everyday objective is to reach out and make people smile and when they [fans] come to the pizzeria to get their pizzas, they're smiling and so happy."

Buscani estimates that around 15 to 20 percent of ticketholders on average redeem their prize each game, but with buzz building and the Reds on a hot streak, that average could soar.

"It's an exciting experience at ballpark as it gets to eight, nine and ten strikeouts," Buscani said. "You hear the buzz in the stadium. Kids jump out of their seats."

Even the team's pitchers and the team itself have gotten into action on social media, with pitchers like Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake tweeting after a pizza-winning game, according to Buscani.

"11 strikeouts. Free pizza in press box. Thanks!," read the tweet from @Reds after the team's win against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night.

"It's great to be a part of that [fan excitement] and even greater to see the Reds have so much success," Buscani said.

This is only the second season LaRosa's has run the promotion and though Buscani expressed pleasure with the buzz it's creating, when asked whether it would be become an annual tradition, he hesitated.

"We gotta get through this season first," he said of the 162-game Major League Baseball schedule. "There's a lot of season to get through."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Maria Shriver and Son Are Rolling in (Pizza) Dough

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Maria Shriver has gone from former first lady of California to pizza owner.

Shriver, a former journalist and the estranged wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is among a group of elite investors in Blaze Pizza, a U.S. chain of build-your-own pies.  Other investors include Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner; film and TV producer John Davis, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng, and Shriver’s son, Patrick Schwarzenegger.

“We love pizza,” Shriver told Bloomberg News.  ”My son and I are really excited to be in the pizza business.”

Blaze was started by Rick and Elise Wetzel, the founders of Wetzel’s Pretzels, who opened two locations in Irvine and Pasadena, Calif., in 2012.  Customers can create their own 11-inch pizza masterpieces, topping them with everything from bacon or Italian sausage to sautéed onion.  Even gluten-free dough and vegan cheese are options.

And thanks to newfangled 800-degree ovens, the pizzas, which cost $6.85 each, take just two minutes to cook.

On Feb. 27, Blaze announced an agreement with Lessing’s Hospitality Group to open 10 stores in the New York metropolitan area and Connecticut.  John Walch, who started 25 Panera Bread franchises, plans to open six locations in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.

According to Pete Lachapelle, founding member of the National Restaurant Association’s Pizzeria Council and the president and publisher of Pizza Today magazine, pizza is a $43 billion dollar industry, with about 70,000 independent and chain pizzerias in the U.S.

“Personally, I prefer your stereotypical old school pizzerias, where you walk in and tell them what you want, but certainly that has its place,” he said of the assembly line concept.  “It’s a quick easy way to buy a whole pizza at lunchtime as opposed to a slice.”

And, he added, it might inspire people to eat healthier pies.  

”Because everything is custom made, if you want your own veggie pizza you can build your own,” Lachapelle said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Group Sends 21,000 Pizzas to US Military for Super Bowl

U.S. Military(NEW YORK) -- A non-profit group said that it sent 21,000 pizzas to members of the U.S. military for the Super Bowl, passing its goal of 20,000 pies.

Pizza 4 Patriots, a 501(c)3 registered non-profit based in Illinois, has been sending pizzas to military service members abroad for the last five years.

For Super Bowl 2013, the group’s goal was to send 20,000 pizzas to service members in the Middle East.

Mark Evans, the retired Air Force master sergeant who started the organization, says he is still calculating how much money was raised through online and mailed donations, plus donated food and materials.  For example, the pizzas required about 10,000 pounds of dry ice, at $1 a pound.

Private carrier DHL Express donated the shipping services.  Many of the pizzas were air-dropped to service members in the field.  The shipping company said it has worked with Pizza 4 Patriots to send more than 122,000 pizzas to U.S. military personnel overseas since 2008.

“We get pizzas to soldiers for under $10 when you can’t get a pizza to your house for that amount,” said Evans, who now works for AT&T.

Evans said he has already heard stories about service members who appreciated receiving pizzas for the Super Bowl on Sunday, though he hasn’t heard whether his 25-year old daughter, an Air Force pilot in Afghanistan, was able to enjoy the pizza.

“Hopefully she received some,” he said.  “It’s a very fluid situation in a combat zone.”

Many of the pizzas were delivered during the week leading up to the game.

Evans’ next goal is to collect enough money and supplies to deliver enough pizzas on July 4, Independence Day, to feed all the military service members in the Middle East.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Presidential Prize: Town Hall Attendees Could Win Free Pizza for Life

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With rising fuel prices driving up the cost of food -- and likely people to the polls this November -- Pizza Hut has announced a new contest that somehow encompasses both the economy and politics.

The company says any person attending the Oct. 16 televised town hall debate between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney who asks either candidate "pepperoni or sausage?" will score free pizza for life.

In a press release, Pizza Hut, which is backing its own electoral entity, The Pizza Party, says the question must be asked, "To assure America that the real issues being debated in households across the country every night aren't sidestepped by the candidates any longer."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cost of Health Care Bumping Up Pizza Price

Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The CEO and founder of Papa John's pizza wants investors to know that when the president's health care law takes effect, the price of pizza is going up with it.

According to "Papa" John Schnatter, the cost of providing health insurance for all of his pizza chain's uninsured, full-time employees comes out to about 14 cents on a large pizza.  That's less than adding an extra topping and a third the price of an extra pepperoncini.  If you want that piping hot pie delivered, the $2 delivery fee will cost you 14 times as much as that health insurance price hike.

"We're not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry," Schnatter said on a conference call with shareholders last week, as reported by Politico.  "If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders' best interests."

The pizza place's Facebook page was soon littered with outraged pizza lovers proclaiming they would be "happy" to pay an extra 11 to 14 cents so Papa John's employees could have health insurance.

"I lose more than that in a week under my sofa cushion," one Facebook commenter wrote.  "I'd gladly pay 20 cents for a child to go to a doctor when they've got a cold, rather than have them show up at the ER."

Another said she's taking her money to another pizza restaurant, "one that doesn't begrudge their employees the ability to seek a doctor when they're ill."

The company sought to clarify Schattner's comments on Wednesday, telling ABC News in a statement that Schnatter's remarks were in direct response to a question about the costs of complying with President Obama's health care law.

"We certainly understand the importance of healthcare to our customers, our employees, small business owners and their employees," the company said.

But despite the pizza price increase, many of Papa John's employees may still go without employer-provided health insurance after the law takes effect in 2014.  The company would not say how many of its employees are uninsured, but in 2010, the service industry had one of the lowest rates of insured employees, with 33 percent of the workforce uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Large businesses, those with more than 50 employees, are the only ones on the hook for providing health insurance under the health reform law.  While Papa John's as a whole employs 16,500 people, 80 percent of the company's restaurants are independently owned franchises.  As long as a franchise owner does not employ more than 50 people, he or she does not have to pay for employee health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act only requires employers to offer health insurance to full-time employees, almost 90 percent of whom at large businesses like Papa John's corporate offices are already covered, according to a Treasury Department official.

If the pizza company decides not to cover any full-time employees who are not currently insured, it will be hit with a $2,000 fine for each employee beyond the first 30 workers.

But part-time employees are not required to be covered under the law.  While Papa John's would not disclose how many of its employees were part-time, in the food and beverage industry as a whole, half of all workers were part time in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where Papa John's and other restaurant chains may run into costs from the health law is under a new definition of "full-time" employees.  Anyone who works more than 35 hours, the average weekly hours of a part-time restaurant employee, is considered full-time under the law and will thus have to be provided with health insurance.

Steven Wojcik, vice president of Public Policy for the National Business Group on Health, said he expects that rather than pay for these employees to get health insurance, restaurant owners will cut back hours to keep the majority of their workforce part-time.

"What's going to happen is restaurants are going to have to make a choice," Wojcik said.  "My full-time employees, I'm going to have to move some of them to part-time.  I'm definitely not going to go out and hire more restaurant employees to stay under the 50-person cap and I may scale back some of the hours of the ones that currently work more than 30 hours per week."

Wojcik said that while some waiters, cooks and pizza makers who are already full-time may score health insurance from their employer, "we will not expect a lot more coverage of restaurant employees unless Americans are willing to pay a lot more for a meal."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pepperoni Rated Top Topping in Zagat's First Pizza Survey

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Restaurant guide Zagat has come out with its first Pizza Survey to get an idea of the pizza-eating habits of Americans.

Not surprisingly, 83 percent of the respondents told Zagat that pizza is among their favorite foods, with Americans enjoying it on an average of about once a week.

Meanwhile, pepperoni was picked as the top topping by 38 percent in the Zagat survey, while anchovies came in last, with 38 percent openly disdaining them.

Tastes for different pizza styles vary around the country but here’s one shocker: in Chicago, home of the deep-dish pizza, the number one kind of pie natives enjoy most is New York style thin crust.  Thirty-eight percent picked this variety, with brick oven pizza coming in second at 23 percent.  Only 8 percent of Chicagoans enjoy their city’s deep-dish pizza the most.

As for how people eat their pizza slices, Zagat found that 43 percent like it flat, 39 percent will fold it before eating and 19 percent cut their slice with a knife and fork.  The favorite free extra turns out to be pepper flakes, with about one in two pizza lovers covering their slice with the condiment.  Meanwhile, 30 percent of Americans admit blotting some of the grease off their pizza.

Price-wise, the average cost of a pizza slice in the U.S. is $2.99, but it will run you $3.24 on the West Coast, while folks in the Northeast only spend $2.72 -- the lowest price in the country.  The average cost of a large cheese pizza nationally is $15.84, according to Zagat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pizza Vending Machine Coming Soon to United States

Let's Pizza(NEW YORK) -- Vending machines aren't just for a bag of chips and soda anymore. A vending machine that makes fresh pizza to order will debut in the U.S. this year after experiencing popularity in Europe.

The Amsterdam-based company A1 Concepts began distributing the machine, created by Italian Claudio Torghel, in Europe three years ago.

For $5.97, the vending machine serves up a 10.5-inch pizza with a choice of margherita, pepperoni, ham or bacon.  The dough is made fresh, assembled per order and boxed in about 2 1/2 minutes.  Infrared ovens allow the pizza to cook quickly, CEO Ronald Rammers told Pizza Marketplace.  

"Each pizza machine is connected to the Internet to control stock. If necessary, besides the standard services, the operator will (re-stock). Each pizza machine contains ingredients for 200 pizzas," said Rammers.

A separate slot in the machine dispenses a pizza cutter and napkins.  

How much will a vending machine pizza set you back? One pizza clocks in around 676 calories and 22.6 grams of fat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pizza Por Favor: Spanish Offer Draws Backlash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pizza, especially when it’s free, isn’t usually controversial, but a promotion by a Southwestern pizza chain targeting Spanish-speaking customers is drawing tremendous online backlash.

On June 5, from 5 to 8 p.m., customers who order in Spanish at Pizza Patrón will receive a free large pepperoni pie.  But not everyone will be lining up for the giveaway.

“No thank you for your racist promotion…the native language in the USA is English…I will never order food from you again,” Kathy Williams wrote on the chain’s Facebook page.

“We English speaking Americans RESENT this offer……….You won’t be getting MY MONEY, I will guarantee you that,” Jody King wrote.

Andrew Gamm, the brand director for Pizza Patrón, said the promotion is meant to be fun for all customers and won’t exclude people who aren’t Spanish speakers.

“If you don’t speak Spanish, come on in.  We’ll give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza,” Gamm said.

He said he expects the chain will give away 80,000 pies.

It’s not the first time the pizza chain, which caters to a predominantly Latino market, has had this much backlash.  In 2007, the chain briefly accepted pesos as payment for pizza.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Domino’s Offers New Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- The popularity of gluten-free foods has increased over the years, filling supermarket shelves with ingredients such as rice flour and xanthan gum.

Now, instead of whipping up a gluten-free pizza at home or going to a gluten-free restaurant, those with a gluten sensitivity can enjoy a slice of Domino’s pizza that they had once removed from their diet.

The company’s new gluten-free crust is made from rice flour, potato starch, rice starch and olive oil.  Domino’s worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to bring their standards to the company’s employees and kitchens.

“Offering Domino’s Gluten Free Crust is a big step for us, and we wanted to make sure we were doing it right,” Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle said in a statement Monday.

“The prevalence of gluten sensitivity has become a real issue with significant impact on consumer choice, and we want to be a part of the solution,” he said.

Although the crust is gluten-free, the company only recommends that those with a mild gluten allergy enjoy the pizza.  It doesn’t recommend the crust for those with Celiac disease because it can’t fully guarantee the product hasn’t come in contact with gluten.

The pizza costs $12 -- about $3 more than a regular pie.  One slice of a 10-inch pepperoni pie has 170 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat and 410 milligrams of sodium.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pizza Hut Unveils Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pie

Pizza Hut UK(LONDON) -- If your two favorite foods are hot dogs and pizza, you'll want to get your hands on this new food hybrid. Pizza Hut, the company that first brought us the stuffed crust pizza, has launched a pie stuffed with hot dogs available for delivery in the U.K.

The delivery site describes the pizza as a "succulent hot dog sausage bursting from our famous stuffed crust, with a free mustard drizzle."  Only the large, 14-inch-pie is available for delivery.

Although the calorie contents aren't posted, a slice of plain stuffed crust pizza contains about 265 calories  with 11.6 grams of fat and a hot dog contains about 170 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio