“Bro, you’re up!”
“Your review is up!”
Cameron Whyte was drinking a glass of wine with his girlfriend one night when he got the text from his friend, Jonathan Newby.
Whyte is a local restaurateur – the owner of Merriment Social, Third Coast Provisions and, his latest venture, FlourChild Pizza – who made some major pivots in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those pivots was to start selling pop-up pizzas from their restaurant for customers to take home.
While Whyte and his businesses were pivoting in Wisconsin, some other pivots were occurring in New York City. Internet influencer and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy couldn’t go out to his favorite pizza joints anymore, so he started reviewing frozen pizzas and ranking them on a tough scale. Although hard to score high with Dave, pizzas that did rise above ended up seeing a huge increase in business following the review.
Feeling confident about their pizza, and with his business partners on board, Whyte decided to send their pizza to New York City for a review.
Getting a review from Portnoy displayed one big challenge: How do you get a pizza from Milwaukee to New York City? Previously, FlourChild had been just selling fresh pizzas, so they first had to overcome the challenge of figuring out how to freeze their pizza. They also had to figure out how to ship the pizzas in a way where they would stay frozen until they arrived at Portnoy’s home.
With help from the post office in Walker's Point, they slowly figured out what would need to be done to get a pizza to NYC. The process would involve making a box made from house insolation as well as enough dry ice to keep it frozen solid for its two day journey, but not too much dry ice so that it wouldn’t meet air shipping regulations. They worked through all the challenges and were ready to send their package with two frozen cheese pizzas on their way.
A few days past when Whyte got the text that the review had been posted. Nervous, yet excited, he slipped away to watch the review in private.
“I was literally sick to my stomach … what’s going to happen? Is he going to review it well?”
Whyte knew that getting a low score could be soul crushing, but he also knew that getting a good enough review could really help his business during the pandemic.
“When he scores anything above a 7, there are lines out the door with people waiting to try it.”
Everything ended up turning out fine for FlourChild. They received a 7.7 out of 10, which got them a spot near the top of Portnoy’s leaderboard. Sure enough, the Dave Portnoy Effect kicked in soon after. The restaurant started to get a bunch of demand from all over the globe. People out in California would pay more than $50 to ship pizzas out to them, a man from England wanted to try the ‘za and demand locally skyrocketed.
Go support FlourChild at 722 Milwaukee Ave., or go find their frozen pizzas at some of the local Sendik's locations around Milwaukee. And if you want to hear the full tale, told by Whyte, listen to the full podcast at https://ggmm.io/the-gogedders-podcast/