The Un-Yuppie Pizza Place

b2ap3_thumbnail_vinnievangogoIn a city where you can have gluton-free, vegan pizzas, how do you stand out? By going to another extreme. In Savannah, GA I happened to get rained-in at the local City Market, right next to a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ pizza place called Vinnie VanGoGo Pizzaria.

For a name like that I was expecting artistic pizza names, exotic toppings and expensive specialty pizzas. Instead this is a very ,very down-to-earth pizza joint. What makes this place’s branding stand out?

Firstly, yes they have those toppings, but their main dish is the humble cheese pizza, and they sell whole pies or by-the-slice new york style pizzas. Toppings like sun-died tomatoes are under a category called ‘Yuppie Toppings’ and cost extra.

Secondly, their menus are printed in black on yellow paper. No card stock. No lamination. No color ink. Plain, mangled from humidity and use, simple, basic.

Thirdly, they only accept cash. No credit cards, no checks. This makes them stand out a lot and while it affects their ratings on Yelp, for a Dave Ramsey fan like me, I’m all for it!

Fourthly, the actual restaurant. Yes, the food was delicious. The service was friendly and attentive. You could watch the guys hand toss the 18 inch pizza dough INTO THE AIR to spread it out before adding the toppings.

I suspect location is a big factor in their success, being much more accessible for the everyman versus some of the more expensive local restaurants, but that was only a part of the battle. They won ultimately because they branded themselves as Plain, Unpretentious, Great Tasting and Simple. They put all the pieces together to make it WORK for them. What others would consider detriments, this company made a branding benefit.

When you’re feeling stuck because you can’t compete on the same level as your competition, think about turning your ‘detriments’ to your advantage.

  • I’m too small can become I act fast and don’t have to wade through large company politics.
  • I’m too poor becomes I’m down to earth and relate-able.
  • I’m too boring becomes I give you escape from lists and lists of choices.
  • I’m too established becomes I’m safe and reliable.
  • I’m too new becomes I’m an innovative solution.

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