From the Editor's Desk: July/August 2007

Catering to a new opportunity
Cam Wood
June 30, 2007
By Cam Wood
Catering to a new opportunity

Sometimes the success of a project is determined by whether or not you have the right tools. Of course, sometimes we have the necessary tools, but don’t see what else they could be used for.

A pizza oven is a pizza oven, right?

Skepticism is easier to accept … pessi-mism even easier … procrastination – well, we’ll talk about that one later.

When someone tells you they know how to increase your bottom line by up to 50 per cent, it’s not hard to be skeptical. When they happen to be telling you this at a meeting in Las Vegas, the pessimist settles in. However, after all that, it’s really the procrastination that causes the downfall.

Pizzeria operators have at their disposal, the right tools to turn their business into tremendous money-making ventures if they are willing to explore a somewhat non-traditional method of food service: social catering.

Sure, the concept has been around … but for how many pizzeria operators?

We can look at those who have the school contracts and say that fits the catering bill, but there’s greater opportunity.

Our industry in Canada managed to claw its way back into fifth spot on the top 10 list of favourite foods in 2006, with pizza taking about 10 per cent of the consumer’s choice when it came to meals purchased outside the home. The industry saw a staggering increase of … two per cent.

Catering, on the other hand, enjoyed a 7.7 per cent increase in sales in 2006, and climbed 17.6 per cent in the period 1998 to 2003. Pizza has lost three per cent in sales for the same timeframe.

With the economic impact being felt in the industry right now – from energy costs to the endless bane of cheese price hikes – it’s extremely important for operators to find ways to shore up their revenue streams.

The status quo just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the competition is rapidly headed into the dreaded “price wars” mentality.

Now that school is out, and that lucrative business is on hiatus until September, there couldn’t be a better time to launch a plan to grow the business and spend the summer prospecting for a whole new crowd to cater to.

Pizza is pizza … it’s everyone’s favourite food; it’s our favourite food. And it makes sense for operators to seek new and creative ways to bring pizza to the consumer.

As independents, the advantage falls to the ability to deliver on a more customized menu, at a reduced cost. The flexibility that exists by not having to adhere to corporate/franchise standards allows the operator to take their food to a new level – and win the loyalty and appreciation of a potential base of new clients.

Best thing yet – the tools are already right there in the pizzeria. The only effort required is a little “umph” in marketing savvy and a commitment to work the business, instead of working for the business.
More in this category:  |  Marketing Insights: Smart Growth »

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