Canadian Pizza Magazine

Five Ways to Win New Customers and Keep Them Coming Back

Colleen Cross   

Features News Business and Operations
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Proven results shared by pizzeria chain operators using Smooth Commerce

Photo: Smooth Commerce

Dill pickle pizza tested and loved

Maestro’s Gourmet Pizza is a family business that opened in 2019. They now have three outlets – two in Ajax and one in Toronto, both of which the local communities love. Early in 2020, they knew they could no longer depend on local walk-in orders and needed to put up a website to keep engaged with their customers. After several failed attempts to build a custom site with website developers, Maestro’s turned to Smooth Commerce, which provides white-label mobile apps and online ordering that drive revenue for restaurants and an enhanced food ordering experience for their customers.

Feroz Omar, co-owner of Maestro’s, really enjoys the creative side of the pizza business. “I invented a few new pizzas, so it’s good that I can play around with menus on my website and offer pizzas that are only available for a limited time. For example, I just introduced a dill pickle pizza. I’m so surprised how well it turned out. I got about 60 new customers within one week for that pizza,” he says proudly.

New menu offers and promotions posted online are just one way the new website and mobile app has delivered an entirely new level and type of customer engagement over the last several months that has been essential to Maestro’s success.

“Smooth Commerce is an easy ordering platform,” says Feroz. “The most powerful thing with Smooth Commerce is you can control how you communicate with your customers through the app. It’s more personable and we get to actually express our feelings to the customer, whether there was an error in an order or to give a token of gratitude to a loyal customer.”


There are now 5,000 customers ordering directly on Maestro’s new website that was deployed in November. Maestro’s is quite pleased that revenue has increased 20% across all locations and the up-front costs for the site were covered in the first month.

Easy push notifications with outstanding results

When Giuseppe Toppazzine moved his family from Italy to Canada in 1904, he brought the family’s secret Italian bread recipe. The wonderful recipe was passed down through the generations to his grandson, Ron, who opened Mr. Topper’s Pizza in 1982 and used the family’s famous Italian bread as the base of the pizzas offered. This instant success has grown to over 35 franchises across Ontario.

Topper’s deployed a branded mobile app on the Smooth Commerce white-label platform in 2018. Taking advantage of the easy-to-use push notifications capabilities of the platform, they launched a National Pizza Day promotion for a $5 two-topping pizza. Unlike text messages, the push notifications delivered using Smooth Commerce pop up on the recipient’s mobile phone screen whether or not the app is open and are delivered at no cost to the user. Topper’s also used email campaigns and social media to drive customers to download and order through the mobile app.

“The National Pizza Day offer was a huge success. Our goal was to drive app usage and to reward our most engaged customers with an aggressive and unforgettable deal. The results we received from this offer – and the push notification that we sent – completely surpassed our expectations. This deal one is of our most successful to date,” says Nicole Brenne, Digital Marketing Specialist at Topper’s Pizza.

From this campaign, $50,000 in sales were processed through their mobile app in one day, five times the average daily sales. There were also 1,300 new registrants on their mobile app.

Removing guesswork means more effective promotions

Famoso Pizzeria was founded in 2007 in Edmonton and grew to be a national chain by co-founder and COO, Jason Allard. He likes to say he was also the dishwasher, janitor, cook, server and bartender as the chain was growing, giving him a lot of experience as a hands-on operator. Today, Jason offers his wealth of experience in growing a successful pizzeria chain as a member of the Smooth Commerce team. He offered some sage advice for ensuring a pizzeria’s promotions are effective.

Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Meat lovers?
Jason suggested National Vegetarian Week as the perfect time to offer a promotion on a different vegetarian pizza each day of the week to customers with a history of buying meat-free pizzas. Existing customers are easily segmented this way when they order on a pizzeria’s website or mobile app built on the Smooth Commerce platform, Jason explains.

“Within an hour, you can easily segment those customers who are vegetarian lovers using the Smooth Commerce engagement portal, and then set up an email campaign to them in Mailchimp. An email can go out a few times, starting a week in advance, showing the daily offers, or a surprise offer could be sent out each day,” says Jason. “I think about all the times we didn’t have the specific customer information so easily accessible at Famoso to send out targeted promotions, along with the cost and time to send out something though Canada Post. Digital marketing takes the guesswork out of promotions and makes the campaigns so much faster, much more effective, easily tracked and less costly to do.”

Free Margherita pizzas and winning back customers
Who doesn’t love free pizza? As a promotion, it is virtually a guaranteed home run. Jason recommends offering the Margherita pizza as a free offering.

“The beauty of the Margherita pizza, which is a simple tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella pizza, is the food cost is quite low, and most likely those customers that redeem it are going to add toppings, and even if they don’t, you’re hoping to get the incremental orders from the rest of their family,” says Jason. “And the cost to your pizzeria for a free Margherita pizza is going to be quite minimal compared to the cost to acquire a new guest.”

“This is also a great promotion to win back customers who haven’t ordered for a while. It’s also easy to segment these customers with Smooth Commerce and send them an email or push notification,” says Jason. “It gives you a new opportunity to deliver a great experience, so they come back again and order when they next get the pizza urge.”

Mobile app wins customer loyalty

Another pizzeria with locations in six communities in Toronto is focused on building excellent relationships with loyal customers. However, delivering an exceptional customer experience was proving to be challenging when orders were placed through third-party delivery apps and problems arose with deliveries. Another concern was an inability to send special offers to the thousands of customers they have in an older database due to Canada’s anti-spam legislation. So, the pizzeria made the decision to deploy its own mobile app on the Smooth Commerce platform and used the free Margherita pizza promotion to move loyal guests onto their app.

“Even though we are not given customer information by a third-party marketplace, customers will call us directly at the restaurant if there is a problem with their delivery order, like a missing item. We apologize, but nine times out of ten it’s not our mistake. Often, the drivers pick up multiple orders and forget items. We tell the customer to go back to the delivery service to get their refund, but because our guests are important to us, we also offer them a gift card or free pizza. In those situations, there’s the possibility that we are taking multiple hits because I don’t know if the delivery company is going to refund us,” the pizzeria’s operations manager explains.

These problems were eliminated when guests moved onto the pizzeria’s own mobile app as they can now maintain a direct relationship with customers on the Smooth Commerce platform, which features a fully integrated loyalty program.

“When guests order on our own mobile app, we can engage with them directly and have ways to offer specials and discounts. They continue to have our brand experience with all the menu items they love, including our carefully curated wine list and desserts that are not available on the third-party delivery app menus, and we reward them for the years they’ve been with us,” says the operations manager. “We’re now seeing all of our loyal guests transition over to our app and they really appreciate earning loyalty points with every purchase.”

Digital commerce made easy

With Smooth Commerce, you get your own website that makes online ordering easy, your own branded mobile app that puts your pizzeria in the palm of your guest’s hands, customer segmentation for promotions, push notifications that influence purchasing decisions, an automated loyalty program, coordinated social media campaigns and more. Take advantage of the tools this digital commerce platform provides to pizzeria operators or chains to lift your revenue, shift to a more profitable way of operating, and thrive through data driven insights that guide customer engagement.

For more information on how Smooth Commerce enables pizzeria operators to win new customers and keep them coming back, click here.

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