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They’ll Be Back Vegan And Again!

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: TheFiredrake42 | December 31, 2021

I work for a pizza franchise as the assistant general manager. One night, it’s just me, an insider, and two drivers, and things are slow, so I’m letting labor get a little high for the sake of getting some monthly deep cleaning done, which is a pain but necessary.

In walks a pair of middle-aged women, holding hands and discussing what they can order — not “should” but “can”. After looking at the menu for a minute, they just ask me:

Couple: “What would you recommend for a vegan pizza with no sauce? We don’t like tomato sauce, but normal, fresh tomatoes are fine.”

Me: “Does that mean no cheese, either?”

Couple: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay. Have either of you ever tried our garlic sauce? It’s canola-oil-based, not dairy-based, and I really like it.”

Couple: “No, but we could try it if it’s vegan. May we see the bottle?”

Me: “Of course!”

I grab the big jug to show them the ingredients and squirt a little into a deli cup so they can taste it. Their eyes LIGHT UP! They’ve apparently been eating dry pizza with no cheese for years because our ranch, BBQ, and buffalo sauces all have dairy, honey, and/or egg. This is a revelation!

I modify our veggie pizza for them after asking about their tastes and making some suggestions. I ring it up in a way so they will get to use a special, and I tell them so. I end up making them a large pizza with a regular fluffy crust, a spiral of oil-based garlic sauce, a sprinkle of dried garlic granules, Italian seasoning, baby spinach, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, diced Roma tomatoes, and black olives. I make sure all the spinach is as covered as possible so it won’t burn; this is normally what the cheese does but there’s no cheese.

After thinking, “There’s nothing on here to hold these toppings together,” I throw caution to the wind and add a little more garlic sauce on top. To be safe, I only cook it three-quarters of the way, and the sauce on top actually does crisp up the veggies and kind of stick them together a little.

I then show them the whole pie.

Me: “Is this done enough? Without cheese, a full run might start to burn everything.”

Couple: “It looks and smells wonderful!”

Then, at the cut table, I put more garlic sauce on the crust and season the crust with a zesty Roma seasoning, cut the pie, and show it to them again.

Me: “Be careful when you pick up a slice; without cheese, there isn’t really anything binding the veggies to the crust, and they might fall off.”

They nod. They’re so happy that I took the time to do all this, they decide to sit down right in front the counter and try a piece before taking the pie home.

Both take a few bites, make happy sounds, and come right back to the counter.

Couple: “Can we join your rewards program?”

Me: “That’s a great idea because I can actually save that pizza under your phone number. Then, other employees can pull it up if you want to order it again.”

They both signed up and I added the pie to both profiles. It only took a minute. Then, they left, thanking me profusely for introducing them to a pizza that wasn’t just overcooked veggies on a plain, dry crust. They began ordering every two weeks or so online, for pick-up at our drive-thru window, and I was usually the one that made their pizza. They always tipped me $5 if I was the one on shift when they drove up, which went into our tip pool for our insiders.

Sometimes they’d order one of our salads with no cheese or extra garlicky breadsticks seasoned with zesty Roma seasoning instead of grated parm when they earned free rewards like that. They once said that, because of me, they never ordered from any other pizza place anymore.

I left about a year later and heard from old coworkers that they’d asked about me and were sorry I’d moved on, but they stayed regulars. It’s a nice feeling, knowing that putting in a little extra effort to help out and take care of someone had such a large impact on them, even a whole year later.

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