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Behind the Review | Filling a void with the perfect pizza



Perfect Pizza offers a quick and easy meal for families outside of San Diego—but that doesn’t mean it’s not memorable. Owner Latashia Robinson focuses on the small touches that can improve her community’s experience: helping a customer carrying a pizza to their car, cutting down wait times during the lunch rush, offering vegan and gluten-free options, and more. 

“Just the little thing could just bring a smile,” Latashia said. “Walking the pizza to the car that might change someone’s entire day. You never know what someone else has going on in their mind.”

In a neighborhood where many residents lack access to affordable, high-quality, or fresh food, Latashia wanted to help fill a void by providing consistent, friendly service. When she moved her business into a shuttered pizza place—which residents said often ran out of food—she vowed not to repeat their mistakes. “From day one, everyone was just so thankful that we were there,” she said.

Although the pizza market often faces fierce competition, Latashia was drawn to the dish because of its popularity. She wanted to provide a product that the neighborhood would appreciate—and make it as fresh and accessible as possible with a menu that includes vegan options and gluten-free, cauliflower crust. “I was in the inner city and seeing that there were food deserts and seeing that there were not any healthy choices for people that live there,” she said. 

Finding a hole in the market was just the first step, however. Brought up on the idea that the customer is always right, she set out to create a welcoming environment in the store. 

Reviewer Jennifer C. is one of those customers whose day improved when she stopped at Perfect Pizza to get a quick dinner for her kids. “We waited outside for our order and they brought it out to my car, which I didn’t expect,” she wrote in her Yelp review.

Since her first visit, Jennifer said she’s felt compelled to support Latashia’s growing business: “When you find a new location for something that you’ve always loved—as in the form of pizza for me—it’s great to have a company or a business location that has a team that welcomes you in like they’re your family.”

Now that she’s grown a devoted following in her neighborhood, Latashia is looking to expand and empower other business owners by franchising the business. “In becoming a franchisor, I took that concept and said, ‘Okay, well, I have a pizza restaurant now, how can I go further? How can I help other people? How can I create jobs? How can I create income for other people? What if I franchise?’ That opens the door for other women in particular so that you can create your own lifestyle and change your life.”

When business owners care about the community and the quality of their products, it shows. Jennifer said, “I feel that mom-and-pop locations are the main quintessential parts of communities. People grow with them. They expand with them. They cry with them, obviously when we lose them… Mom and pops are, you know, mom and pops. They take care of you.”

Fill in the gaps you find with the right product and the best service, and the success will follow, along with hard work and some key takeaways from this episode:  

  • Understand your demographics in your neighborhood, and make sure your products fill a need
  • Stand out from the crowded business landscape by offering excellent customer service
  • Make a solid business plan, execute it, and don’t give up
  • Build relationships with the community through philanthropic activity—whether it’s money, time, or goods donated

These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Latashia and Jennifer, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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