Business and Operations
Don’t stop marketing, Part 2: Making Dough with Diane
By Diane Chiasson
Welcome to part 2 of marketing your pizzeria during this economic downturn. Here are six additional ways to market your pizzeria during this slowdown. See Part 1.
5. Support your distributors
This is not the right time to tie up your money in excess inventory. Overpriced supplies can also ruin your budget very quickly. As a pizza owner, you need a business partner who will actually listen to your concerns, who will respond quickly to your pizzeria’s needs and who will be as invested in your store’s success as you are. A good distributor-pizza relationship is like a marriage. Honest communication is vital. If your distributors treat you poorly, it’s time for a change. Look for vendors in your area that supply pizza stores with the types of items you need. Discuss with your suppliers and distributors what really matters to you and your pizzeria. Is it prices, product offerings, delivery timelines or service? You should rank those four criteria by how important they are to your pizzeria, and then use them to evaluate your distributors. Be very careful when switching to lower-priced distributors. It can ruin your relationships with your distributors and could affect your brand image. Discuss with your distributors extended financing or better terms as well as return and refund policies. You should try to get a small discount for paying early such as one to two per cent off for paying within 10 days. Consider using a charge card to further extend your payables. Just remember, the best way to maintain a good relationship with your suppliers and distributors is to pay on time.
6. Keep your staff members informed
Excellent communication will help your team work together seamlessly during these difficult times. As you know, in a pizzeria, teamwork is vital to keep service running smoothly. You should definitely have quick, regular chats with your employees to see how they are doing. Try to schedule meetings with different employees 10 minutes before or after their shift just to answer the questions they may have and to have them share ideas with you. You will be surprised by what you may learn and how much you will be able to make your employees feel comfortable in just a 10-minute conversation. Studies have shown that feeling valued and appreciated makes employees feel more motivated at work. Make it a habit to compliment your staff for a job well done. Saying thank-you also goes a long way: it’s a great way to motivate your employees because it shows the work they are doing matters.
7. Be creative and always try to tempt your customers
How is the scent coming from your pizzeria? Since the weather is a lot warmer, consider keeping your doors wide open. It will not cost you anything to open your doors. You need to be tempting your hungry customers and passersby with the mouthwatering aroma of your products.
When you are marketing to your customers, you should always be tempting them with new, unique, and healthy options. It is perhaps the best time to give a new twist to some of your signature pizzas. You may consider developing a whole line of pizzas that are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-reduced, GMO-free, vegan, organic, sustainable, or anything else!
You should discuss with your staff what makes your pizzeria stand out from the one around the corner.
Think outside the box and make some of the craziest pizzas around. How about a ramen noodle crust pizza, or a falafel pizza, or a peanut bacon pizza, or a smoked salmon, cream cheese and caviar pizza, or a hot Cajun pizza with three kinds of sausages? You could also tempt your customers with a new flavour or signature pizza that complements your current theme. What about making decorating your pizza by applying your sauce like a Jackson Pollock abstract painting with a few splotches here and drizzle there. Just make sure to avoid putting sauce right at the edges of your crust. How about promoting your pizzas made with some ripe farmer’s market veggies and fresh herbs?
How about smaller pizza portions, single-serve pizzas, or simply comfort food to go? You should discuss with your staff what makes your pizzeria stand out from the one around the corner. Is it your creativity in making unique and delicious pizzas, or is it the excellent customer service that you give at your store? When marketing your pizza operation, emphasize the qualities and products that make your pizzeria a great choice.
8. Develop a strong business website using good SEO, and include online ordering
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have and develop a professional website. Websites have become a necessity for any small business that wants to succeed. Every business must have a website. Being visible and memorable to your customers and potential customers is crucial during this economic downturn. A presence on the web is a very cost-effective way of letting customers know about your pizzeria. This will allow your pizza operation to inexpensively post up-to-date information on your products and services. Even if you have a business that does not normally promote through the web, you could still have a simple website that contains basic information about your pizzeria such as contact information, directions, etc. You can buy your website domain name for cheap and, if you can’t build it and maintain it yourself, outsource these tasks. It is also essential to have good SEO (search engine optimization) to improve user experience and to also make your website easy to use. You could publish a newsletter about your pizzeria virtually for free and create articles about your pizza operation. You should also have an easy-to-use ordering system on your website so patrons can get their pizzas on the go. Include a call-to-action button in the sidebar of your website that says “ORDER A PIZZA NOW.”
9. Revisit and optimize your online presence and use social media effectively
Before you start posting, take some time to understand social media marketing. On social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, people don’t want to be sold to constantly. People like to browse photos, videos, and catch up with family members and friends. It’s best that you mix interesting and entertaining content, education, advertising, promotion and a little conversation. Just be honest and communicate well with your customers. There are some pizza promotion ideas that will work well on social media in raising people’s awareness of your brand. To give your pizza business a personal touch, try to show the behind-the-scenes of your cooking process and introduce your entire pizza team to your followers. Hold fun contests, offer some freebies and collaborate with some influencers.
10. Ask for reviews from your customers
Today’s customers understand the power of reviews, and you should always ask for reviews from satisfied customers! Good reviews, after all, will bring a lot of credibility to your business. You should ask for a review right after a customer purchases a product or service from you. Reviews will range in quality, and every pizzeria will eventually get some negative ones. It is very important to respond to any and all reviews that you come across. If someone says they loved your pizzeria products, respond with a thank-you note. In case of negative reviews, try to remedy the issue right away and turn the experience around for the customer.
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, revenue-increasing marketing strategies. Contact her at 416-926-1338 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit chiassonconsultants.com.