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From the Editor’s Desk: Four ideas for right now

Four ideas for right now


July 24, 2008
By Cam Wood

Topics

Speculation be damned, this is
going to be a tough summer for pizzeria operators and consumers alike.
Gas prices seem to know no limits right now, despite a reduction in
demand in June. And many are adopting a new summer tradition – the
staycation.

Speculation be damned, this is going to be a tough summer for pizzeria operators and consumers alike. Gas prices seem to know no limits right now, despite a reduction in demand in June. And many are adopting a new summer tradition – the staycation.

These times, while on many levels, hold a healthy dose of doom and gloom in the foodservice industry, for pizza – which has been gaining in the consumer market share over the past couple years – there can be an opportunity to hold firm.

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With a little marketing savvy, pizzaiolos can see their way through, and maybe gain a few new loyal customers along the way.


1. Market home-energy savings

As much as we’re feeling the energy and fuel pinch in business, so is the consumer. One of the ways that may work to your advantage is to market how not cooking at home saves them energy and ultimately, money. On top of that, it’s an excellent opportunity to rework your home delivery strategy.

Tell me what parent wants to drive home from work in a hot car, only to crank up the oven? Didn’t happen a lot when I was growing up … this is an easy human habit to exploit with the right approach.


2. Partner with non-competing food businesses to offset delivery/fuel surcharges

Is that distributor making a drop at another neighbourhood location? Buying power may be increased by partnering with a non-competing business to offset the cost of deliveries to your facility on certain items. Granted we’re not talking about anything that can compromise food safety – but toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.

Check with your local chamber of commerce to see if local buying groups already exist.


3. Stress local

A recent Deloitte Consulting Inc. survey revealed a vast majority of consumers are apprehensive about food safety when the items come from offshore sources. Fifty-six per cent believe that imported foods are “not at all” or only “somewhat” safe. In contrast, 80 per cent believe that domestic foods are safe, and 76 per cent are more concerned about where their food comes from – and that means your ingredients.

The same survey added that 89 per cent of consumers would like to see more fruit and vegetables from local farms available in their grocery stores.

For pizzerias, localize certain ingredients and market the heck out of them.


4. Wal-Mart your suppliers

Feeling the pinch from some? Perhaps it is time to question your suppliers on their pricing. A little competitive knowledge is all you need to present a strong argument. Find out which suppliers are offering similar goods, get quotes, and push back. Your distributors are feeling the same pinch, except they are likely passing it on to you without a second thought.

While it’s likely true you can’t afford to switch from certain suppliers to others, this is an excellent time to press them about what initiatives they may have.

Keep in mind, your business is just as important to them in these times. Their business, like yours, relies on demand and meeting the customer’s needs.

This staycation idea could be something important to the food industry; while tourism will decline, our typical customers will remain in the neighbourhood and look for those little things that make their summer a bit more interesting.