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DP Dough ‘rock star’ is the real deal


Jerry DePizzo, left, has a day job in franchise sales for D.P. Dough, when he’s not playing the saxophone or guitar for the multi-platinum rock band O.A.R.

A lot of companies like to call their employees rock stars. Cheryl in accounting might be great, but she’s no rock star. Jerry DePizzo at D.P. Dough, however, is a bona fide rock star.

At D.P. Dough, he’s the straight-laced director of growth making franchise sales, exploring new markets, implementing technology updates, overseeing corporate operations and working to drive up average unit volumes—not exactly rock star stuff.

But he’s also the saxophonist and guitarist for the multi-platinum rock band O.A.R., known for its high-energy live shows and word-of-mouth track to massive popularity.
That’s the same track he sees for D.P. Dough, the 27-location calzone franchise.

“In O.A.R., my rock-and-roll life, we cut our teeth on college campuses,” said DePizzo. “I’ve been to every campus at least three times. So I understand the importance of collegiate culture.”

The brand is already operating as near as can be to colleges at the bulk of its locations. CEO Matt Crumpton said they like to be as close to campuses as possible, and many of the locations are directly across the street from hungry students. And they stay open until 3 or 4 a.m. on weekends—the company holds the trademark on the term “open crazy late.”

DePizzo also heads the IT department, which is a big job in almost every company today. “It feels like we’re an IT company that happens to sell calzones,” he said.

‘Starved for information’

Because D.P. Dough customers skew young and tech-friendly, they’ve had to be a step ahead of many franchisors their size. The company has created its own point-of-sale system, which Crumpton jokingly calls a “fun little side project.”

They’ve used the platform for some innovative things like order tracking, real-time metrics, integration with third-party delivery and even a video game in which customers can play for loyalty points. It’s all a matter of connecting with the consumer in a way they’re used to connecting with everything else.

“People are just starved for information, they want to know where their food is and when it’s coming, so the more touch points, the more information we can provide and less friction we can produce in the customer experience adds to, one, the brand loyalty, and also adds directly to the bottom line,” said DePizzo.

He has some futuristic ideas for the next phase of the 3 a.m. calzone business.

“The phone will be the POS,” said DePizzo. “The tech that we’re developing is recognizing that and working so that the in-store and online experiences will mirror each other. We can cut the cord and not throw the audience for a loop.”

He said these thoughtful tech evolutions come right from his “rock-and-roll life” where he’s seen a monumental shift in how music is consumed.

“The way we consume music has changed three times since I’ve been in the industry, and radically,” said DePizzo. “Music is the canary in the coal mine for all technology.”

His rock-and-roll life has also inspired a 300-square-foot restaurant design in the works right now.  “DP1 is the internal moniker for it and it’s being designed to work with one employee,” said DePizzo. “The inspiration for that was being in Nashville. A friend took me to a restaurant that was made from a shipping container. Then I was in Austin, there was another friend that brought me to another shipping container.”

He said it serves two purposes: one, avoid the sky-high real estate prices in their ideal markets. And two, push efficiency and grow the bottom line by eschewing extra space and staff.

“Which position generates the most revenue for us? That is the fellow making the calzone,” said DePizzo, who added the smartphone-based POS will help that fellow stick to calzones.

So how does DePizzo do it all?

“I don’t sleep very much,” he said. “But I don’t like to sleep a lot, I like to keep busy.”

O.A.R. kicked off its summer tour in June, and you can bet DePizzo will be checking in on a few D.P. Dough markets along the way.

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