It all began as a fun entrepreneurship opportunity a year ago but has now turned into a legitimate business for DePauw sophomore Adam Folta, the creator of Pizza Dude.
Getting the idea from Zappo’s CEO at an Entrepreneurship Summit at Wabash College in April, Folta started buying frozen pizzas and selling them by the slice to students on Thursday nights.
“We operated out of the Hogate [Hall] basement. A lot of people don’t realize that there are so many resources around them that they can just use for free,” Folta said.
It started as a one-man operation, but sophomore Brenton Roberson heard about the idea and knew it would catch on.
Roberson currently is not a business partner with Folta, but the team got the word out and business is flowing in.
“We consistently sold about 28 pizzas every Thursday night,” Folta said.
Pizza Dude relies on social media for orders. If students do not want to call, they can simply send a tweet to @_PizzaDude_ to order. Although most customers were first-years, Pizza Dude delivered to the fraternity as well. However, two weeks ago, the business made some very big changes.
“We just started making our pizza from scratch,” said Folta. “Selling frozen pizzas was illegal and I really thought that this idea could take off and for that to happen, we had to be completely legal.”Folta has since paired up with a new business partner, senior Rob Weidner. Weidner now makes pizzas from scratch in the kitchen of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Folta will then deliver the pizzas by bicycle to the doors of DePauw housing. PizzaDude only delivers to DePauw students.
“Our dough is completely from scratch and our ingredients are fresh every week [from a supply company],” said Weidner.
PizzaDude has ten different toppings that you can add onto any pizza, for an additional cost of either 50 cents to one dollar. They also have three specialty pizzas per week, which can be seen on the menu they send out through a tweet every weekend.
Weidner brought several new marketing ideas to the business, such as PizzaDude cups free with every purchase. PizzaDude shot glasses are available for purchase for three dollars.
Starting this week, PizzaDude customers have the chance to send in suggestions and get more involved with what's on the menu.
“We’re starting up a Facebook Pizza of the Week,” Weidner said. “Based on the amount of likes a suggested pizza gets on the page will be the Facebook pizza of the week, named after the person who suggested it.”
Served on Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., not only does PizzaDude offer pizzas starting at nine dollars, they offer a take out option.
“We want to make sure our customers are happy before anything else,” said Weidner. “We realize that Marvin’s is really the only option that students have. We wanted to provide a friendly, quick alternative.”
Students can call or text PizzaDude at (765)-276-7415, or tweet them, @_PizzaDude_. There will also be a website where you can order a pizza online coming soon.
“Now people are getting more and more aware of what they’re eating and they are wanting healthier and fresher foods,” Weidner said. “So we don’t think that there should be any difference in that based on the time that you order your food.”