Pizza Gutt uses Instagram as shortcut to pizza fame

What started out as a way to destress from a job he hated has become Daniel Gutter's sole way of earning a living. His secret recipe? Instagram.

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Social media has shifted the way we shop, the way we find news, and the way we communicate. It’s also shifting the way we eat, specifically the way that we eat pizza.

Introducing “Instagram’s first pizza shop,” Pizza Gutt in Philadelphia.

Pizza Gutt began a couple years ago when Daniel Gutter began posting pictures of his home-baked culinary creations on his Instagram account. Gutter, who worked at Fishtown’s thin-crust artisan pizza shop, Pizza Brain, was no novice to the craft. He even carried out a short apprenticeship with the iconic Joe Beddia, who’s known for making the “best pizza in America.”

Seeking a new outlet to make his pies, Gutter started doing pop-ups throughout the city using Instagram to post menus and take online reservations. His Detroit-style pizzas with their focaccia-like dough and crispy edges, were a quick sell. He started operating regular pop-ups at W/N W/N, a collectively-owned coffee shop and bar, and now he earns his whole living from Pizza Gutt.

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Daniel Gutter holds a plain pie he has just pulled from the oven at W/N W/N coffee bar. Gutter began his residency at W/N W/N in August 2017 and posts menus and reservations via his Instagram account. (Rachel Wisniewski for WHYY)

Gutter’s success is part delicious pizza and part clever marketing tactics. “You have to have influence and also product,” Gutter said. “If you don’t have a niche or something to stick out on it’s going to be really hard.” That’s why Gutter began referring to Pizza Gutt as “Instagram’s first pizza shop,” mostly to distinguish himself from his competitors. And with 13,400 followers on Instagram, Gutter’s marketing scheme is working.

Not only does Instagram serve Gutter as a free platform to take reservations and post menus, but it’s also where he crafts his brand image. With a repertoire of oozing pizza, pints of local beers, and nature photos, there’s a certain carefree quality that Pizza Gutt represents. He’s sending a simple, but effective message that draws people in.

“[People] really like to see things and they love to feel immersed in it and Instagram is great for that,” said Meegan Denenberg co-founder of Little Giant Creative, a marketing and branding agency. “[Brands] can kind of entrench people into the feeling that this pizza’s the best or this t-shirt’s incredible or this lifestyle is incredible. So you have to sort of buy my product in order to have that lifestyle.”

Gutter is marketing a brand of pizza. His success means that he can bypass the hassle and financial burden of opening his own brick and mortar restaurant. Really all Gutter needs is an oven and customers willing to wait in line. As Gutter put it, “I have the ability to pizza wherever I am at.”

Until March 2019, Pizza Gutt will be serving 50 pies every night, Wednesday through Saturday at W/N W/N at 931 Spring Garden Street.

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