Business and Operations
From the Editor’s desk: Invisible value
By Colleen Cross
We at Canadian Pizza are tweaking our staff roles. Laura Aiken has moved into the position of managing editor, and I am thrilled to take on the role of editor. Laura has been serving the Canadian pizza industry since 2008 and those who know her upbeat presence and keen eye for issues that concern you will be pleased to know she remains a vital part of our team.
We look forward to helping you find the tools and information you need, improve your bottom line, and we are excited about horizons near and far: among these Saputo Foodservice’s Pizza with Purpose contest, which closes Dec. 31 (hint, hint), a close look at trends affecting the pizza industry and a week-long focus on the perfect crust.
A happy day spent with operators at our recent Canadian Pizza Show reminded us that Canadian pizza makers justly take a lot of pride in their product.
I hesitate to use the word product because I suspect many of you don’t label it that way. After all, it is your lovingly handcrafted, one-of-a-kind creation and the result of uncountable hours of experimentation, trial and error and more than a few necessary quality-control taste tests.
But call it a product I do – if only to emphasize that while you are selling something so tangible that appeals to the senses and is made from quality ingredients, it also represents invisible elements like creativity, hard work and time away from family.
And your customers need to value those intangible costs in a very tangible way by paying a fair price for the quality pizza they are getting. That truth can get lost in the business process when pizzaiolos take their talents for granted. Make sure you price your product to reflect its true value and remind customers your pizza is worth that and more.
Pizzaiolos don’t set out to sell themselves short, but sometimes they do. Michelle Brisebois’ thoughtful column about the dark side of offering complimentary meals (see page 18) encourages pizzeria operators to step outside their product and see it for the valuable commodity it is.
Just as you need your customers to value the invisible work that goes into your product, so you need to prioritize the invisible tasks that don’t always yield obvious or immediate results.
One of these intangibles is great customer service. Jeff Dover, in his seminar at the show, provided tips on how to ensure customers get more than they expected from you. People make decisions about what and where to eat largely based on emotion, he said. What they remember most is how they felt the last time they ordered your pizza or walked through your door, and that feeling results from how staff greeted them, saw to their needs and handled problems that came up.
So don’t lose sight of invisibles like service, promotion and pizza-making skills that go into your pizza and your business: they are as important to your bottom line as the flavours and textures and quality that keeps your customers clamouring for more.
On behalf of the Canadian Pizza Show team, I’d like to extend a sincere thank-you to our generous show sponsors Saputo Foodservice; PizzaMaster distributed by Alfa Food Service; Stanislaus; and Dairy Farmers of Canada. Heartfelt thanks also go to Saputo Foodservice and Moretti Forni distributed by Euro-Milan for sponsoring the Chef of the Year competitions, which grew by leaps and bounds this year.
Last but by no means least, thank you to our exhibitors, speakers, judges and pizzeria operators, whose participation and feedback made the annual event a pleasure to host. May you all have a productive, joyous Christmas season and a prosperous 2016!