Great music and great pizza – a killer combo! Earlier this year, Custom Channels client MOD Pizza was ranked the #1 fastest-growing chain restaurant in Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. All that momentum gives MOD Pizza plenty of national media coverage. Just check out the print and TV attention. Also, you can read some background on MOD Pizza here including all about their great team of employees, a.k.a. “The MOD Squad”. MOD Pizza prides itself on providing a special experience to customers and MOD Squaders alike.

The first MOD Pizza restaurant opened in downtown Seattle in 2008. Shortly thereafter, in 2010, MOD Pizza began using a fully-customized Ethos channel provided by Custom Channels in 2010. Now, there are over 400 locations! Stop by a MOD Pizza today and find out what all the fuss is about. If there is not a MOD Pizza in your area (they’re still expanding) you can listen online to MOD Radio, powered by Custom Channels. You’ll hear their custom MOD Pizza music played inside all of their restaurants.

A few years ago, we chatted with MOD Pizza’s VP of Marketing, Kevin Flaherty. He gave us the scoop on how music and MOD Pizza go together, and why a top-quality music service is so important for restaurants.

Custom Channels Q&A: MOD Pizza Music

CC: Tell us about your pizza business.

KF: MOD is the original superfast pizza experience – a pioneering fast-casual concept that puts you in the driver’s seat. Artisan-style pizzas and salads are individually sized, made on demand, and ready in minutes. You get to choose from over 30 toppings. And, the price stays the same no matter what you pick. However, at its heart MOD is a platform for doing good. Here’s the idea: if we take care of our MOD Squad (our employees), they’ll take care of you, and our business will take care of itself. We call this Spreading MODness. So far, we’ve been doing pretty good. We have about 400 stores across the US and UK.

CC: Why is music important to your business?

KF: The moment you walk into a MOD location, we want customers to know they’ve walked into a warm, welcoming, and fun environment. All of their senses should be engaged so a sense of anticipation builds for the great pizza experience that’s to come. So music is a critical part of that first moment experience. Our stores are pretty active and lively. Music helps dial that vibe up to 11 and put people in the right mood to eat pizza.

CC: How can music make a customer’s visit to a restaurant better/more memorable?

KF: We hear time and again from customers that the music in MOD adds that little something extra to the dining experience. MOD’s playlist has something music fans instantly recognize. We’ve carefully crafted our playlist – it’s exceptionally intentional and it sends a subtle message. If we pay that much attention to our music, imagine how much attention we pay to our people and pizza!

Logo for MOD Pizza, music client of Custom ChannelsCC: Do you play MOD Pizza music mostly for your customers, your employees, or both?

KF: As important music is to the customer experience, it’s even more important to the MOD Squad experience. Customers visit MOD for an hour or so at a time. And our MOD Squad spends hours upon hours in the stores every day. So the music has to engage them continually. We constantly see Tweets from our squad when their favorite jam comes on during the day. We know if those types of things happen, we’re doing something right with the music. Our squads are tough customers when it comes to the music. If it didn’t work for them, we’d hear it.

CC: Why is it important that all of your restaurants play the same music mix rather than having employees at each restaurant pick their own music?

KF: We want the MOD Squad focusing on the things that matter most – providing a great experience for our guests. Picking the right music for an entire week’s operation is time intensive. And getting a playlist just right is hard. That’s why we’d rather have our crews focus on the most important matters and that is always the customers who’ve honored us with their presence. Anything we can do to increase time with customers is something we’ll invest in.

CC: How is it working with Custom Channels music service?

KF: We have Custom Channels in all of our hundreds of locations. If doing so wasn’t easy and effective, we wouldn’t be working with Custom Channels. Getting music right is hard. Custom Channels makes it easy!

CC: What would you tell other business owners about in-store music?

KF: Get it right and it’s an important part of your in-store experience. Get it wrong…man…good luck!

CC: Tell us about the Custom Channels music playing at MOD Pizza – what’s the sound, the vibe, the mood? What songs or artists are the best example of MOD Pizza music?

KF: We play music with origins in the MOD movement of the 60’s and 70’s. We also play artists that were heavily influenced by that era’s music spanning to the current day. We think our playlist creates a sound and vibe that’s unique. You won’t hear it anywhere else. It’s a little bit different – but so is everything at MOD. It’s just how we like it.

If we had to pick a single artist as the best example of our business it would be…nope…can’t do it. There are just too many great musicians and bands to choose from. It would be like trying to pick our favorite pizza.

CC: Any other comments or observations about music-for-business?

KF: MOD on!