Snow days mean more dough
With parts of Rochester immobilized by the area's largest snowfall, Zadeos Pizza manager and part-owner Alyssa Fieck was driving across town, delivering a pepperoni pizza with green olives.
The effect of snowstorms on pizza places is quite the opposite of their impact on other businesses. With Rochester blanketed in a foot of snow, most people found excuses to stay indoors. Schools closed, adults worked from home and shuttle services were canceled.
But the large snowfall had a galvanic effect on area pizza joints such as Zadeos in southeast Rochester.
When Fieck arrived at work Friday morning, a 15-pizza pickup order already had been placed. And six separate deliveries to Mayo Clinic had been ordered. While many places were slowing down, pizza places were speeding up.
"We usually have one or two on Fridays, so it's definitely more," Fieck said. "People don't want to leave work and go and get something downtown."
A winter weather advisory for snow remained in effect until 6 a.m. today.
Zadeos is a family-owned business. With forecasts warning of a possible "huge snowstorm," Fieck thought her dad might close for the day. But while a lot of snow fell, it was short of the blizzard that forecasters had predicted.
"The winds never made it above 35 miles an hour you need for a true blizzard," Tom Stangeland, hydrometeorological technician for the National Weather Service in La Crosse, said. "There was a lot of problems with it, but it didn't quite make the high-impact blizzard we thought it would be."
While the delivery business was brisk at Zadeos, the dining room for its lunch buffet was nearly empty except for one man. Usually the lunch buffet provides the bulk of business on weekday afternoon. Zadeos also has an arrangement with Delta Airlines to deliver pizzas in bulk when flights are delayed and passengers are stranded.
"It might just stay busy (throughout the day) because people are home from school," Fieck said.
When roads become particularly nasty, Zadeos shortens its delivery range. But customers often throw in a few extra bucks as a token of their appreciation when deliveries are made on time.
As she drove on Rochester's slippery streets, Fieck wasn't particularly intimidated by the road conditions. But she made a point to drive more cautiously. She kept more distance between her car and those in front. When she arrived at Ironwood Lane in southwest Rochester, she leaped over a snow embankment to deliver the pizza.
"It is stressful for drivers in general. We do urge them to take their time, because at the end of the day, they make our business, the customer and the drivers both," she said.
Stangeland said the weather system that dropped a foot of snow on Rochester remains active. Several systems out of the Pacific and coming across the country look like they will avoid the Rochester area.
"It's an active pattern, and somewhere is going to be affected within the Upper Midwest-Great Lakes region," he said.