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Super pizza delivery Sunday

BY MITCHELL SCHMIDT | FEBRUARY 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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It was calm at the moment, but everyone knew it would change soon.

Around an hour before the Colts and Saints met in the Super Bowl on Sunday, in one the most viewed sports events each year, the employees at Pizza Pit knew they wouldn’t see a minute of it.

While millions of Americans cozied up in their La-Z-Boy’s and ordered pizza, thousands of pizzeria employees prepared to dish out their pies.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Alex Clewell, a delivery driver at Pizza Pit, 214 E. Market St. “It’s a little overwhelming.”

Clewell, a UI junior and communications major who has worked at the local pizzeria for more than a year, admitted that the Super Bowl can add more pressure to the sometimes stressful job.

The typical American pizza store sees business spike around 35 percent on Super Bowl Sunday, according to trade publication Pizza Today. Local pizzerias said they couldn’t estimate how many pies they sold Sunday evening.

Clewell peered through the car window, trying to catch a glimpse of the house number he was looking for. After spotting it, he found a place to park — not an easy task near downtown Iowa City.

After finding a spot, he trudged through the falling snow to hand off a pizza to hungry Super Bowl fans.

Pizza delivered and empty heat bags on the passenger seat, Clewell headed back to the store to do it again.

While the driving can bring on some light road rage, he noted there are positive aspects of the job.

“It’s cool being able to see a lot of parts of Iowa City that other people don’t see,” he said, noting many UI students only see the campus.

Back at the store’s small kitchen, the aroma of pizza wafted through the air, and the radio played the Rolling Stones over the sound of the printer spitting out a nearly constant stream of tickets. Yellow pizza boxes lined the shelves like giant building blocks.

As Dan Alexander, a manager at Pizza Pit, tossed dough in the air, flour sprinkled down just like snow outside.

Alexander noted the Super Bowl is not the only busy day for deliveries — Halloween, New Year’s, and local football games are also ripe with orders.

Clewell echoed Alexander’s sentiment.

“Homecoming has got to be one of the craziest days,” he said.

Wayne Jackson, also a Pizza Pit manager, said Super Bowl night is the busiest right before kickoff and again during halftime because the majority of customers don’t plan ahead for delays. This creates a rush of orders and a hectic kitchen, Jackson said.

“Guys are running around like chickens with their heads cut off,” Jackson said, while slicing and boxing up another pizza.

Despite the madness of the job, Clewell appreciates its perks.

“You get free pizzas, too, sometimes,” the Davenport native said. “Everybody likes that.”

Even though he missed the game, he said, tips during the Super Bowl are often generous.

“I usually make enough money to forget about it,” the driver joked as he grabbed another pizza and stepped out into the cold.


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