Hideaway Pizza has managed to maintain its cool for over 50 years.
The pizza restaurant is just as famous for its atmosphere — with colorful decor and often colorful employees — as it is for its pizza. So how has the restaurant, which first opened in Stillwater 52 years ago, moved gracefully into the future?
Creativity. "We have eccentric-looking employees,” said Janie Harris, Hideaway’s marketing director. "It has helped our customer base see through their own prejudices.”
It’s not uncommon to have a waiter with an unnatural color of hair or see a tattooed cook flipping pizza dough in the kitchen.
"We hire people who have outgoing personalities,” said Darren Lister, co-owner of Hideaway 2 — which includes all the stores but the original.
That business practice has helped reduce turnover, he said, because employees like to work "where they’re accepted.”
But the company also encourages its patrons to be creative, through its collage project, a 50th anniversary T-shirt design contest and other ventures.
A new generation
It’s no surprise, then, that the notoriously hip restaurant chain is now on Twitter.
Hideaway’s new social media program is run by Ryan Walker, a public relations student at the University of Central Oklahoma, who started out waiting tables at Hideaway five years ago and now manages the Edmond store.