Business and Operations
Five spring marketing strategies: Making Dough with Diane
By Diane Chiasson
Spring is in the air and with it comes unique holidays, celebrations, events and activities – all great opportunities for friends and family members to celebrate. Many people view springtime as a fresh start, and so should you. For many restaurants, April is a transition month, a time to get ready for the busiest time of the year. After a long, cold winter, it’s time to ramp up your pizzeria marketing strategy in time for the spring season.
Here are five ways you can prepare your pizzeria for the spring.
1. Write down a good plan for spring holidays and events
Many view springtime as a fresh start. With major holidays, celebrations and the graduation season around the corner, you should spend some time coming up with a plan for the next few months. Creating a spring plan will allow you to analyze every detail of your potential business. As you know, Easter is one of the busiest days of the year for the restaurant business. Don’t forget that there are other celebrations like Passover, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and graduation time: arguably the busiest restaurant periods of the year. A solid spring plan will help you stay organized and stay focused. When creating your plan, be sure to answer these questions: Will you have a specific theme for each occasion? Will you have any special recipes or promotions? Will you have specialty items? Will you be updating your website?
2. Clean, declutter, organize, decorate and make it festive
Give your restaurant a spring cleaning. Even the best-maintained restaurants need a deep clean at least once a year. Power wash your exterior facade, have your carpets steam cleaned, degrease the hood, and toss out things you just don’t need. Just like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, the spring holidays are where you can really put a spin on the feelings spring evokes in all of us. Don’t forget to match your décor to fit the occasion. Set the scene with fresh flowers, colourful napkins, and plates, creative signs and banners in your windows. Add some quirky pizza pie merchandising displays. Don’t be shy to use bright colours: colours will make your customers happy, boost their appetite, and make your pizza operation more inviting. A positive experience is just as important as the food and it’s a powerful tool to bring guests back.
3. Create a brand new spring menu
Take advantage of the warmer weather to add some new, interesting and mouthwatering pizza items on your menu. You don’t need a full menu overhaul; just rethink your menu layout to emphasize your existing menu items in some new and exciting ways. Stay away from heavy items and put lighter menu items in the spotlight. You should also try to add some new “pop” to your menu design. It’s the perfect time to remove heavier cheese-based items to give vegetable-based pizza the spotlight. It’s also important that you review your menu prices to make sure food costs are in check. Above all, focus on good food and great customer service.
4. Offer something extra special for the kids
It’s always a good idea to organize some creative activities to keep children from getting bored. Set aside one corner of your sitting area as a kids-only zone. Stock the tables with some papers, markers, colouring books, board games and even some modelling dough, or plasticine. There are many ways to keep kids occupied and enjoying themselves while parents have a little break. Whatever you decide to do, make it prominent in your marketing material so parents will know your pizzeria is a great place to bring kids. Don’t forget that if the kids have a great time, they will ask their parents to return to your restaurant.
5. Evaluate your pizzeria’s website and social media plan
Be sure to get the word out about your pizzeria and your special spring promotions. You really need to take some time with your staff to review your website and current social media plan. You should infuse your web presence with the spring spirit. In addition to greeting your guests on your website with some special promotions, you should also revamp the look and feel of your website to reflect the spring season. Don’t forget to update your website regularly with pictures of your delicious new pizza items as well as a clear call to action to boost sales. Offer plenty of information on your website and in your social media posts.
Depending on your budget, you may consider running a targeted ad campaign for Facebook users in your area. Don’t forget to share at least three messages to your followers. To decide on the ideal media plan, you should think about what kind of experience you want your customers to have in your restaurant.
Early spring is a good time to do some spring cleaning, evaluate your social media plan and get ready for the major events and themes relevant to this time of the year.
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.