Pizza Delivery From a Vet in Afghanistan-WOW!

Mello Mushroom-1What Happened?
Soldier Shawn Fulker knew that pizza made his wife Josephine at least a little happy while he was away in Afghanistan. With her birthday coming up, Shawn wanted to do something special, so he sent an email to Josephine’s favorite chain, Mellow Mushroom, inquiring as to whether they might be able to accommodate a special delivery to Jacksonville, FL from far, far away. Not only did the company honor Shawn’s request, they made a heart-shaped pizza for his wife, and bought balloons for her on the way.

“Obviously, we were very pleased with what the manager of the Jacksonville store did for a loyal guest and someone serving our country,” says Annica Kreider, VP of Brand Development at the company. “This story really caught fire, but we think it’s a great example of what we do every day.”


Mellow Mushroom offers a comprehensive training program for its managers and franchise owners, which is called (wait for it…) Shroom University. Although SU has a state-of-the-art test kitchen for back-of-the-house training, the company’s whole customer service model is taught there as well—and is integral to its continued success. Here are three tips from Kreider on going above and beyond.

1) Know Your Stuff and Be Proud of It 
“Guests expect us to be the subject matter experts on our products, and we are proud to do so. We have proprietary products that combine with our cooking method to make our pizza different from all others. It’s our job to share with the guest what makes it special, and even suggest some of our favorite things and ways they may enjoy their meal even more.”

2) Know Your Guests As Real People, Not Demographics 
“Our guests are very loyal and our restaurant teams make a special effort to get to know them. The owner of our restaurant in Conyers, GA recently received a bank of tickets to an Atlanta Falcons football game and not only did he take a few of his top employees, he took some of his best customers. One of our servers, Taylor, a college-age girl in Cumming, GA, has developed a special relationship with an older couple who come in to her store regularly. Two of her regulars, Ben and Sue, come in every week just to see Taylor. They both have a multitude of personal health issues and our food fits in with their special diet regimen. Taylor takes the time to talk to the couple and inquire about their health, lives, and grown children. They just love these visits.”

3) Go An Extra Step, Whether They Ask Or Not 
“While we often honor requests, we also just go an extra step to really make it something memorable and special. A high school girl emailed in, wanting to invite a guy to the Sadie Hawkins dance. She wanted to know if the store would help her by spelling out “Sadies?” on the pizza in pepperoni. We saw the email at the corporate level and our PR and special events manager reached out to the girl and got all the details to make it perfect. But there was also the manager of one of our units who set up a fundraiser in-store for Northern Kentucky University’s “Best Buddies” program that aids in helping students with special needs. Instead of just hosting a fundraising event, he set up a special time for the participants to get on the line in the kitchen and be able to make their own pizzas. That our guests want us to be part of their lives at this level is truly a privilege and we want to make sure we respect and honor it.”


About the Author

iPhone 857Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build WOW brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at, or

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