Pizza is a huge part of Chris and April Robinson’s lives. The Somerset, Kentucky couple has been “Slinging Pies” for most of their working lives. She managed a pizza chain for 15 years and he has been in an out of the business ever since he got his drivers license. Chris Robinson telling Radio Ink, that keeping Eubank Pizza serving the community during these challenging times is very important to him. To do that, he continues to advertise on local radio.
Robinson: Imagine yourself in a race car, coming down to the last lap and there’s a crash ahead. You see the crash, but you have confidence in yourself and your team and the machine you’re driving and you see a way. You can either slow down or build off of that confidence and go for it. That’s how I felt about the radio advertising. You know if you start reducing your advertising in a time like this you’re just going to shoot yourself in the foot. Now it’s more important for me to do the radio advertising than ever before.
Radio Ink: Tell us about Eubank Pizza.
Robinson: We lived in Illinois, near Chicago, everything in the area didn’t really line up for our family as far as taxes, location and value. We vacationed in the Somerset area a number of times over the past decade. We decided we wanted to move here.
We had been discussing opening a restaurant in the area for about 10 years. We talked about if we could bring Chicago style food down here we could do really well with it.
One day when we were moving into a house in Somerset, I went out to get the obligatory moving day pizza. I popped into the closest pizza place to the house and and I thought if I could have a place like this, that would be perfect. Then I didn’t think about it for another two or three months. Then Eubank Pizza came up for sale. I couldn’t believe it, this is the place that I had walked into and thought about owning. I looked into it and it was in a price range that we could afford.
We bought Eubank Pizza in February 2018 with three employees. Here we are, two years and a couple of months later with about 30 employees at two locations.
Radio Ink: Then, suddenly in March;everything changed.
Robinson: Yes it did, but I had a responsibility, for my family and my extended family; my employees. If I see something or have an inkling that there is trouble on the horizon, it’s my duty to do whatever I can do to mitigate the risks to my family.
I saw early on, before the ordered closings and other restrictions, the potential for this to be a lot bigger and more serious than what was commonly known.
I made a bunch of changes to the business. I divided my employees into teams, I took temperatures coming and going. I doubled down on our sanitation procedures. We stopped having dine-in customers before the order was given. At my South location I was able to build a make-shift drive-thru. Mitigation of risk is what this is all about.
Radio Ink: You are on WYKY-FM and the sister stations WTLO AM/FM. What has it been like working with them?
Robinson: I told my Sales Rep James England with Forcht Broadcasting that I’m not going to desert you in your time of need because you’re not deserting me in my time of need. We are going to ride this until the wheels fall off. I told him that I don’t need to be hitting the brakes, I need to be hitting the gas.
Radio is the best way for me to get the message out to everybody. You know, we have a nice following on Facebook but that doesn’t nearly extend our message as well as the reach of radio.
We are on a local radio, we sponsor local sports teams. Everywhere we can in this community we feel it’s our duty to give back. I’ve seen it come full circle, this community has started to give back to us in this time of need. I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
As far as radio advertising goes, I didn’t see it as a time we should be backing off I see it as a time that I should be going on, full out blitz. I have to do that to keep business going because I have a business that more than 30 families are relying on. If I fail at doing my job right then I fail my family, their families and my community.
Radio Ink: What type of ads are you running?
Robinson: I’m working with our local radio stations because their reach is further than mine. When it comes to distance and the number of people they can talk to compared to the people who actually come and visit our restaurants.
What we are doing is Birthday Shout-Outs. I mean what goes better with a birthday party than pizza? Every morning we sponsor the Eubank Pizza Birthday Shout-Out. All week long the station collects the birthdays and then on Friday we have a drawing and give away a free pizza and cheese sticks.
I had signed up for some spots on high school sports broadcasts and now that those sports seasons have been basically canceled because of all this we reallocated the resources to the AM sister station to a daily program call Swap and Shop.
We decided to sponsor that particular show because I figured with more people staying at home, not going to work everyday; the reach that we were able to get with daily commuters on the FM side we might be able to pick up on those not listening in their cars but sitting at home listening to Swap and Shop. It’s a very popular show.
Radio Ink:What has the response been from the listeners, the customers?
Robinson: Our customers are the best customers in the world. We have not seen a drastic loss in business, we have seen a reduction in business. But it’s not that substantial enough to put us out of business.
My goal is to survive this. To become stronger. To become more efficient. This has given us the opportunity to do things more efficiently. We have had to find other ways to do things because of this. We are going to learn some lessons here that we can use in the future.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for other businesses going through this?
Robinson: With respect to advertising, there is no better way to get your message out locally than radio. You can get your message out pretty quick if you use radio. If you are a small business, partner with your local radio station and find a message and get it out.
I firmly believe that this time is not the time for me to be backing off my advertising. I need to be full on with every penny I can spare to advertise. I need to be spending the money now, otherwise I’m just shooting myself in the foot. If people don’t know what our message is they’re not going to come see us now and they most likely won’t think about us after this is all over.
Radio Ink: What does the future hold for Eubank Pizza?
Robinson: I feel like God’s Hands were all over this. I mean look how we ended up in this area, the things that had to happen and the way they happened. This to me was suppose to be. Grace be to God for giving me the wisdom and the ability to navigate this and make the decisions that have kept us alive so far. We will come out of this much stronger as long as we survive it.
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