The Custom Channels Blog

MOD Pizza Knows The Importance Of Matching Music With Restaurant’s Theme

Posted by John on June 4th, 2012

If you love pizza and love music as much as we do at Custom Channels, then it only makes sense to partner with one of the coolest pizza concepts going to create a fully custom in-store and online music channel. That’s what we’re doing for Seattle’s MOD Pizza.

MOD stands for Made On Demand. But MOD is also about their atmosphere and attitude (young, retro and slightly irreverent) inspired by early-1960s English youth subculture known as the “mods”. The mod lifestyle, reaching a peak in 1964, was centered around fashion and music.

The first MOD Pizza restaurant opened in downtown Seattle four years ago. There are now five locations around metro Seattle. The concept was conceived by a group of Seattle entrepreneurs, including founders Scott and Ally Svenson, who started the Seattle Coffee Company in London, and Michael Klebeck, co-founder of Top Pot Doughnuts.

We caught up with Chris Schultz, Director of Operations for MOD Pizza and a former Starbucks operations alum of 13 years, to find out more about MOD and their in-store/online music mix.

CC: Describe MOD Pizza.
MOD: Since 2008 MOD Pizza has been serving up individual thin crust pizzas are made on demand (MOD), using our signature hand-made dough and red sauce, both of which are made fresh daily. Customers can choose from a menu with inventive selections such as the Caspian (mozzarella, gorgonzola, barbeque chicken, barbeque sauce, sliced red onions) and Lucy Sunshine (mozzarella, parmesan, artichokes, garlic, with dollops of their signature red sauce), or create their own pizza, choosing from more than 28 featured toppings. Regardless of what toppings are chosen, all pizzas are the same price ($6.88) and are individually ordered, prepared and cooked in 800 degree display ovens within 2-3 minutes. We also offer a selection of salads along with draft beer, wine, pizza knots, milkshakes and old fashioned Ding Dongs. We like to call it “Simple Foods for Complex Times”. Can it get any better than that?

CC: Is pizza the ultimate rock & roll food?  More so than hamburgers?
MOD: What’s more classic than pizza and rock & roll? Both transcend the generations; where both old and young can come together. Both in our pizza and rock & roll, you can be a little irreverent.

CC: Tell us about the music playing at MOD Pizza.
MOD: Rather than try to describe it let me list some bands we love:

  • The Who
  • Smithereens
  • The Ramones
  • Elvis Costello
  • Van Morrison
  • The Clash
  • The Jam
  • Talking Heads
  • Decemberists
  • Rolling Stones
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Death Cab for Cutie

CC: Why is music important to the MOD Pizza atmosphere?
MOD: The importance of our music is that it provides a perfect backdrop for our customers to enjoy the MOD experience.  It is an integral layer of who we are. It’s about feeling good about what you are eating, and where you are. We like to say that MOD takes you back to a time when “the music was loud, life was simple and style was everything.”


CC: How can music make a customer’s visit to a restaurant a memorable experience?
MOD: It brings a smile to my face watching both the investment bankers and the kids singing along to Billy Idol and the Jam. The best thing is, most don’t even realize they’re doing it, it is just a part of their experience. We like to take people away from their everyday life for the time that they’re with us, and music can do that.


CC: Do you play your special music mix mostly for your customers, your employees or both?
MOD: For both. Who doesn’t like working alongside great music playing all day? Life is really too short to not enjoy where you work. We strive on keeping our mix fresh and constantly changing. That way, our employees and customers get a unique visit each time they enter the store. It puts our employees in a great mindset, as much as it puts our customers in a great place when they walk in the door.

CC: Why is it important that all MOD Pizza stores play the same music mix rather than having employees at each store pick their own music?  
MOD: Whether our customers are stopping in our downtown store during work or at our Capitol Hill store before a night out, we want the experience to feel the same.   The demographics of our customers vary from location to location, but they all have the same experience.   We also have MOD Music Channel on our website, so our customers can listen while at work or at home to exactly what is playing in all of our stores.

CC: What five songs best describe the MOD Pizza attitude?  
MOD: Do I really have to limit myself to five?!  How about six?

  • “I Can See For Miles” by The Who
  • “London Calling” by The Clash
  • “All I Want” by LCD Soundsystem
  • “The Place I Love” by The Jam
  • “That’s the Way It’s Gotta Be” by The Poets
  • “Down at the Club” by The Pioneers

CC: Will we be seeing MOD Pizza outside of the Seattle area in the future?  What are your expansion plans?
MOD: We have our sixth Seattle store opening this month, with our eyes on two additional Seattle area locations, which we hope to open by the fall.  Beyond that, the sky is the limit, and we hope to bring the MOD experience to every great city in the U.S.

CC: Recommend a pizza topping or combination for us.
MOD: At MOD it’s all about getting what you want.  Although we have ten signature pizzas I tend to be a bit rebellious! I like a special that we ran called the “Ava Jane”. It’s a combination of sweet mixed with a bit of spicy to keep it interesting. And really, who doesn’t like bacon?

Ava Jane pizza: Our fresh dough made daily; signature red sauce; 100% whole mozzarella; garlic; red onion; pineapple; bacon; jalapenos.

CC: You’ve got to be in the Seattle area to taste MOD Pizza. But if you want to hear MOD Pizza music for yourself, they’ve got an Internet radio channel, powered by Custom Channels, so that their fans can get the MOD music experience anytime.


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