2015 Greenwich Wine & Food Festival
By Michael DiLauro
The FirstBuild home pizza oven project took a big step this past weekend; for the first time the pizza oven left the lab and hit the road. The team packed up the oven, loaded it into the back of a van and drove 12 plus hours to Connecticut to attend the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival (GW&FF).
The GW&FF was selected by the team as the first venue to show off the oven to consumers and get feedback (think of it as a big focus group). The GW&FF is recognized as one of the premiere luxury events of it’s kind in the country and our timing couldn’t have been better. The foodies and affluent consumers who attend the event are squarely within the home pizza oven target demographic.
The weather was amazing and pizza oven was set up among over 100 other vendors in the Grand Tasting Tent. The team prepared 75 dough balls and enough sauce, cheese and basil to serve over 1000 samples of a traditional Margherita pizza. We also had a second pizza that added soppressata we picked up in Little Italy and finished with honey from one of the other vendors.
As soon as the doors opened, the crowd built up in front of the FirstBuild booth and we had 3 people talking to consumers at all times. As you can see from the photo below, we were busy gathering feedback, talking pizza and telling people about FirstBuild and projects we have in the works.
The day was a huge success and every one of the 75 pizzas turned out great (thanks to Brian for turning and taking out the pizzas!) Over 5000 people passed through the Grand Tasting Tent, we gathered contact information from about 100 interested consumers and we validated the concept and the target price point.
At times the crowd was overwhelming and lines formed in front of the FirstBuild booth with attendees eagerly waiting the two minutes it takes to cook a pizza. The oven worked flawlessly and cooked each pizza to perfection. Many of the professional food vendors ran out of food by 3 pm, but the FirstBuild team kept cranking out pizza until 5 pm. We can thank our pizza consultant Michael DiLauro for his planning and maintaining a steady pace throughout the day. Here Michael takes out one of the perfectly baked Margherita pizzas…
Most of the people we spoke to thought an electric home pizza oven was a great idea and that they would love to have one someday. A number of visitors said they have wood fired ovens at home, but they are a “pain in the ass” to use. You got the sense that a big point of having a pizza oven is for entertaining and that an indoor electric oven would meet that need while allowing the homeowner to better enjoy the process.
In addition to consumers, we drew interest from professional caterers and chefs, restaurateurs, a hoteliere and even Food Network Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian! He even posted a photo eating our pizza on his personal Instagram account…
Pretty cool, huh?