Six ways to surprise your customers: Making dough with Diane

Six ways to surprise your customers in 2019
Diane Chiasson
January 30, 2019
If you want to surprise guests and keep them coming back to your pizzeria, pay special attention to the little things that can make a big difference during their visit.

Go beyond basic. Can you remember the last time a restaurant or business surprised you? A kind gesture can go a long way toward gaining customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace. Each customer should be waited on like a member of the Royal family and should expect to have a fun, stress-free experience.

Here are six quick and easy ways to delight and surprise your customers in 2019.

1. Meet and sincerely welcome each customer – Train your staff to offer a sincere welcome to each guest. Did you know smiling is infectious? When your staff members smile at guests, those guests will smile back at them and that smile will lift their mood.

Train staff to be on the lookout for first-time customers and to provide them with the best possible friendly and attentive service. Always establish a friendship with each of your customers and give them the warmest welcome.

2. Use your guests’ names – There is no word we love to hear more than our own name. Learn your customers’ names and give them the opportunity to share some brief personal information with you. More than anything in the restaurant business, making a great impression starts with having personal, attentive, kind and caring staff members who make your customers’ satisfaction as a top priority.

The next time a customer comes in, greet them by name and ask them how they are. You will greatly surprise them just by calling them by their first name. Take the time to listen to them, talk to them, and then recommend some of your favourite pizzas. In a busy, impersonal world, building personal relationships goes a long way with people, and they will pass your information on to family and friends.

3. Listen to what your customers are saying about themselves – Give your customers the chance to discuss and share personal information with you. This is a great occasion to create a database from the information you receive. If you asked their preference in pizza crusts or toppings, write it down in your database. Show your customers you have taken time to learn what is important to them. Follow up right away with an email addressing their unique preferences they shared with you: it’s a great opportunity to build a strong relationship with them.

4. Say thank you – Customer Service 101 is saying thank you. Make sure you and your staff members always thank your guests for spending some time at your pizzeria, and tell them how much you appreciate their continued business. Words are powerful. Let customers know you would be more than happy to serve them again on their next visit. Remember that if it weren’t for your customers, you wouldn’t exist. Make it real and don’t use scripts.

5. Send them personalized birthday greetings – If you keep a customer database, delight your customers with little touches, like remembering their birthday or anniversary. These little touches can go a long way. Birthdays are important days that should be recognized. A surprise can totally make anyone’s day. It can turn a satisfied customer into a delighted one. Your guests will know you care if you send them personalized birthday wishes via a beautiful birthday card. Many pizzerias have birthday incentives that invite guests by offering them a complimentary birthday discount or by treating them to a small gift card for a slice of pizza and a drink. Beyond your great restaurant operation and service, give each guest a reason to come back. Even something as small as a slice of pizza can be enough to get your customers coming back through your door. Make guests feel appreciated by giving them something beyond the usual when they least expect it.

6. Send postcards – You have no idea how big an impact a simple postcard can make in building a relationship with your customers. People love getting postcards! When a customer shows loyalty, a thank-you note is just the way to go. It will transform them into a lifelong, repeat customer. To show your appreciation, send a simple, handwritten and colourful postcard signed by a couple of staff members. Use a real stamp.

Keep it simple and let your customers know how much they mean to you. You will be surprised by the positive impact these personal touches have on your pizzeria.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit chiassonconsultants.com

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