Pizzeria uses social media to land TV fame

Being featured on the Food Network Canada show You Gotta Eat Here! on Friday night led to Mississauga restaurant Mickey’s Pizza running out of a week’s worth of food in less than two days.

According to posts on the company’s Facebook page, the family restaurant on Lakeshore Road West experienced two-hour lineups and completely sold out of pepperoni, meatballs, steak, chicken, sausage and other supplies. The result was a temporary closure on Sunday and the owner tripling her supplier orders for the week.

“We love to see that,” Supervising producer of Eat HereRachel Horvath, told YourMississaugaBiz.com. “It doesn’t happen every time, but a lot of restaurants have reported high upticks in business after we air on Friday nights.”

The near-instant success of Mickey’s Pizza highlights the rising importance of social media for independent restaurants, especially those with little to no advertising budget or locations away from major city centres.

“The way our researchers found Mickey’s was it was the #1 rated pizza place in the GTA on Urbanspoon,” Horvath explained, citing the popular restaurant review website. “It had even passed Pizza Libretto which was the previous year’s #1.”

The co-owner and operator of Brampton’s That Italian Place understands how influential that kind of ranking can be.

The restaurant is set to have its own feature on an upcoming “Fan Favourites” episode of You Gotta Eat Here! set to air this spring.

But That Italian Place co-owner Paul Fuda worked hard to get noticed by both producers and potential new customers. He spends up to 90 minutes a day promoting his restaurant on Chrysler Drive on websites like Twitter, Facebook and Urbanspoon and said there’s definitely been an impact on the clientele.

“We’re starting to see a lot of young couples come in, high school kids, single young guys and girls,” he said.

After a recent expansion that has increased seating in the five-year-old restaurant from 45 to 75, Fuda and his brother Gino are now considering the potential long-term impact of things like the television show appearance.

“People are already coming in just seeing us listed on the show’s website,” he said.

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