No Phones, No Sales for One Austin Business

    “Phone Problems May Kill Business” the thought of this would send shivers down any business owner’s spine. It was the title used by the Austin Business Journal to describe a huge snafu that nearly cost J.D Torian, owner of well-known local restaurant Austin’s Pizza his 12 stores.

    It’s fair to say that May could’ve been one of the worst months, business wise at least, for Torian.

    It all happened when service provider AT&T cut off service to every Austin’s Pizza location multiple times for apparently a billing issue on AT&T’s end. Torian was shuffled around to different reps several times, every one of them providing no solution.

    The service interruption, which lasted several days, was a huge blow to the restaurant. About 80- 85 percent of Austin’s Pizza sales come from to-go orders which, you guessed it, are processed through a central calling system.

    “It’s the biggest component of our business. We wouldn’t be in business without the telephone, and we have a real understanding of that now,” said Torian.

    The problem, he says, began in November and Torian estimates cost his business about $275,000 dollars in revenue. Connection problems not only jeopardized Torian’s future but the jobs of his 225 employees.

    After a number of complaints, and public humiliation by local media AT&T sent out Tech crews to repair the problem. They said a circuit had been damaged apparently from all the connecting and disconnecting of service.

    Why The Right Business Phone System Matters:

    Stories like this reinforce the importance of a reliable business phone system. In the case of Austin’s Pizza phone service was cut off on a Friday, a Friday! It only lasted several days but Torian says it killed the momentum in sales the restaurants were experiencing at the time.

    A month after the outage Torian says he remains skeptical of his phone service provider. It’s not a good feeling to have, but he remains positive.

    There is a happy ending to this story. Once AT&T got their act together and the issue was fixed the phones started ringing again. Pizza lovers from all over central Texas even made sympathy purchases, hoping to keep the business afloat.

    Sales, the day the phones were fixed, went up almost 30 percent. Although the increase in sales has come back down, revenue is higher than last year at this time. Still, it’s doesn’t make up for the thousands of dollars in lost revenue. The one positive thing in all of this, he says, is his loyal customers came through to make sure Austin’s Pizza, all 12 locations, remained.

    “It was wonderful. You want people to feel good about your product. We knew they liked us, but we really got to experience it,” said Torian.