Keys to Success - Orion eNews - April

25 years and still growing.  Orion Food Systems wants to congratulate Mike Barry on a quarter of a century with our flagship brand.

Barry's story began with the opening of Hot Stuff Pizza at Pennington Square in Thief River Falls, MN back in 1991.  Over the course of 25 years, he reached several milestones including the sale of his 1,000,000th personal size pan pizza.  Now, he's quickly closing in on his 2,000,000th PSPP, "That's a lot of pizza," says Barry.  "It's been exciting to witness not only the evolution of Pennington Square and Pennington Main, but Hot Stuff Pizza as well.  When I started with the brand, the focus was on bringing quality pizza to rural communities.  Now, 25 years later, Hot Stuff has become so much more than pizza," explains Barry.

So what are his "Keys to Success"? 

At the top of his list:  Quality of the Product.  One of the major reasons for signing up with Hot Stuff Pizza was the fact that our pizza didn't taste like a pizza bought at a gas station.  "Instantly you could tell it was going to be a game changer,"  says Barry, "And Hot Stuff never settled.  They continued to re-engineer their pizza profile, from the crust and sauce to finding unique and exciting Limited Time Offerings."

The product, is something every Hot Stuff Pizza Franchisee will experience.  So how did his locations become the go-to place for pizza in Thief River Falls?  By his commitment and involvement in the community.


Every Halloween, Barry and his staff dress up and deliver hundreds of breakfast pizzas and orange juice.  It's an event the community has come to expect every year, in fact, stores receive so many orders that Barry's former employees even come back to help.


For the past two years, Hot Stuff Pizza has teamed up with Pennington Main to host hometown hero and world champion snowmobile racer Tucker Hibbert.  This year, the all-star racer brought his celebrity status to Pennington Main to help celebrate Barry's 25 years with Hot Stuff.

The anniversary event was a team effort.  Hibbert made pizzas and signed autographs for fans, Monster Energy came out to give away samples and had their products on promo.  Hot Stuff Pizza was there too, as the star of the show, to help celebrate.  Personal Size Pan Pizzas flew out the door - two at a time - thanks to the 2/$6 promo.  Nearly 300 PSPPs were sold during the three hour party!


How about quizzing the staff at Pennington Stores for a chance to win a prize?  Every morning at the same time, people can call into a local radio station and ask Barry and his staff a trivia question.  They even get to select what prize they'd like to win - including FREE PIZZA!

However, if Barry and his team are able to answer the question correctly, the staff has not been stumped and no prize is awarded.

Regardless of who wins, the daily contest has grown in popularity over the past 20 years.  It's a challenge the community looks forward to every morning at 9:20am.

Most importantly, the final "Key to Success" is retaining quality employees, something close to Barry's heart.  He suggests trying the following strategies to retain good employees:

  • Employee Incentives
  • Coaching
  • Training

Just a few simple steps can trigger years of success.

Orion Food Systems wants to again, congratulate Mike Barry on his 25 years with Hot Stuff Pizza!