Who’s running Pi-Hi’s social media?


Julia Koziol

Thomas Szyszka and Jonathan Rodriguez holding the Student $5 Menu.

By Julia Koziol

Students at Lane like senior Leyla Truong have noticed that the familiar restaurant Pi-Hi has been popping up on their feed on platforms such as TikTok. This phenomenon has left students wondering who is behind the account.  

Thomas Szyszka, another senior at Lane, is the media manager for the restaurant and has been making videos since the beginning of this school year. 

“As Pi-Hi’s social media manager, I create short video clips and post pictures in order to try and promote the restaurant and their deals,” Szyszka said. “I work closely with ‘Flaco’, the owner, and he has me taste test his new recipes and menu items and make suggestions on things to add or change.”

Making videos isn’t the only thing that Szyszka has been doing to help Pi-Hi owner Jonathan Rodriguez — he has also been helping implement ideas that would benefit the Lane student-customers as well.

“One of the biggest things I have helped with is bringing back the $5 Student Menu,” Szyszka said. “I helped convince Flaco that it would bring in more customers and would be more profitable for the restaurant despite being cheaper than what current prices were. This change has brought in a lot more students every lunch period because of the affordable prices and delicious food.”

Out of all the Lane students, why did Rodriguez choose Szyszka as his social media manager? One of the main reasons was the fact that he ate there every day.

“He was at Pi-Hi every day, seemed like an outgoing person, and overall just a very nice kid who I got to know during his time at Lane,” Rodriguez said. “Tom was the first person I thought of being able to help me market the restaurant in exchange for free lunch since I knew he liked our food so much.”

Szyszka’s media management has brought in more customers than ever, which Rodriguez has noticed since the pandemic hit. 

“Business now is similar to how it was before the pandemic. The pandemic years were hard for us because very few people were coming to school, and there was no word of mouth since the new students didn’t know about us from upperclassmen,” Rodriguez said. “Social media is something basically all students use, and advertising on TikTok and Instagram has greatly increased the amount of students who have heard about Pi-Hi and have then come to check us out. I’ve noticed a lot of new customers and many have become regulars after trying our food which I am very happy about.”

Truong has been going to Pi-Hi since her freshman year, so she is very familiar with the restaurant. However, she noticed that this was the first time she had seen Pi-Hi on her social media.

“I have seen a lot about Pi-Hi on social media. Often their TikTok pops up on my For You Page,” Troung said. “They informed me about the heart-shaped paninis they had for Valentine’s Day and made me want to get one!”

Not only did Pi-Hi have changes with their social media this year, but they also had an interior design change, which students seemed to have noticed.

“Pi-Hi has had a lot of changes this year,” Troung said. “I remember when they changed their interior design and painted their walls black. I talked about it with my friends and I didn’t believe them so I had to see it for myself.”

Truong says the restaurant has many great qualities, but due to the increase in customers, wait times have been getting longer.

“As a customer, I am happy with many things but we always run into a problem of food taking too long to get made if you don’t order right away,” Troung said. “This can make us late for class but I feel like it isn’t their fault and there isn’t much they could do about it. It takes time to make quality food!”