The Park was packed to the gills with people and buzzing with musical energy the entire weekend. The music festival had a combined 3 day attendance of over 300,000 people! A crowd that big calls for a huge amount of sustenance. We served up about 30,000 slices of pizza over the course of the 3 days. Cranking out that much deep dish was no easy feat.
Here’s how we pulled it off…
Digital Marketing Manager, Kerri Phillips, was working our booth for every minute of the festival. I asked her for some insight on this whirlwind of a weekend!
What was the most challenging aspect of the weekend?
Keeping up with the line, there was a constant line. We asked one customer how long he waited and he said 20 minutes! We tried our best to pick up our pace to get that wait time down. This was the first year we offered 3 types of pizzas (cheese, sausage, and pepperoni). We make the pizzas on site and they take time, so it was a struggle to get the mix right. Friday we kept running out of pizza, but we improved, and by Sunday we nailed it! We had a record day on Sunday and our team was still having fun.
And if I’m being honest, it was a challenge keeping up with Marc Malnati!
He is MUCH older than me, I should be able to work circles around him, but he still has it! He was there all three days open to close working hard and entertaining us.
What was your favorite part of the weekend?
Interacting with so many people. Our team was made up of office and restaurant people of all levels; I don’t get to work with that crew often. Our team would be yelling at each other one second, and doing what we could to help each other the next, truly like a family. Thankfully we could all laugh at ourselves and each other.
In the mornings we’d bond over some great people watching (serious entertainment!), then we’d start to get busier, but we were still able to interact with the customers. From behind the booth all we could see was a wall of happy people. Everyone was so nice to us! Customers would share their stories of the weekend and their Lou’s experiences with us. That was my favorite! Selling pizza as fast as we could, while still being friendly with the customers…and of course playing with cash (who doesn’t love a handful of cash?!?!).
What was the most memorable moment you shared with a coworker?
Oh man I laughed a lot, there were a couple memorable moments.
Marc Malnati was a stickler about keeping our cash organized, nothing frustrated him more than the fact that I refused to face my money the same way… and maybe since I knew how much it bothered him, it made it a little more fun to keep my money unorganized! My goal was speed and accuracy; he wanted to add neatness in there.
What Marc didn’t realize was our coworker, Meggie, at the other end of the booth, was stuffing all the 20s in her apron. At the end of the night, she walked up to Marc and just started pulling endless piles of wadded up twenty dollar bills out of her apron. Marc’s reaction was priceless.
Another memorable moment was on Friday night at the end of our shift when I saw one of our district managers, Mike, a tall, football player sized guy, sitting in the Coke cooler with a flash light in his mouth. I later learned he needed a quiet place to order our supplies for the next day.
What was the most memorable moment you shared with the crowd?
When three guys came and had their first bite of Malanti’s with us!
There was also a point where a customer was eating food that was not Lou’s and Marc Malnati grabbed their plate and said, “Here try this instead,” and handed them a slice of pizza! They loved it!
At one point, we ran out of pizza and I asked the crowd to pose for a Twitter pic. They all came together smiling; no one complained that they had to wait 3 more minutes for the pizza. Everyone was so loving towards us. I really appreciate our customers!