Ep114: Pay-it-Forward Pizza Feeds Homeless with Slices & Sticky Notes

pay it forward

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Mason Wartman, owner of Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia. Over the past several month's Mason has become a media darling for his efforts to feed the homeless in his neighborhood. He's even appeared on Ellen!

Like all great ideas, Mason's is simple but powerful. When customers buy a slice of pizza they can buy another for someone in need. Rosa's walls are lined with sticky notes and well wishes that the homeless can redeem for a free slice.

Since the program began last year, Rosa's has given away 11,000 slices in a neighborhood that needs all the extra dough it can get.

During this episode, Megan, Mason and I discuss:

  • How Mason made the move from Wall Street to Main Street to sell pizza in his hometown of Philadelphia.
  • How it all started with one customer asking to buy a pizza for someone who was homeless.
  • How it took a year to become an overnight success!
  • How the program started with a sticky note but evolved into a register program that never lost its post-it note roots.
  • Why Mason never has to pressure customers to support the program. They ask to support it! 
  • How Mason's program can be easily replicated by other businesses
  • How the program has been good for the community and good for business - despite being in a poor neighborhood where he is one of the few businesses left!
  • How Mason's experiment with pizza compares to Panera Cares. Which one is better?
  • Mason's dream to expand his program and have several restaurants in Philadelphia.

Mentioned In This Podcast

Panera Care Cafes 

causetalk radio 114