Canadian Pizza Magazine

From the Editor’s Desk: November 2007

By Cam Wood   

Features Business and Operations Customer Service

Yes, that is it

From a customer’s perspective, among the least desired reaction to a pick-up order is to be asked: “Is that it?”

Yes, that is it

From a customer’s perspective, among the least desired reaction to a pick-up order is to be asked: “Is that it?”

There is an expectation of the upsell; the almost mandatory inquiry regarding a side order of garlic sticks or two-litre bottle of soda. In this day and age, it’s an integral part of the customer-business relationship.


It’s a constant message in the pizza industry: excellent customer service, combined with great pizza, will help keep the business name in a top-of-mind position with the market served. It’s one of the few advantages independent operators have over the powerful marketing dollar of the large franchises.

Ineffective phrases like “Is that it?” suggest that one’s patronage is almost an inconvenience, a hurdle in the passage of time between the beginning of a shift, and the moment of clocking out.

This was the response I received recently when I dropped into a local pizzeria to pick up an order. You might think that this is a pretty common response from a teenage staffer, working another counter shift that interferes with their cell phone relationships. But no, this was from an older employee. The teens were actually in the kitchen prepping orders.

For this pizzeria, that was it. It was the conclusion of a brief and not very profitable relationship for the operator with a customer. In a competitive marketplace, the level of customer service was substandard and we can’t even say the conveyed impression of regard was strictly economic.

Had this staffer cared for either the customer, or the money, there might have been an effort to either: look after the customer’s needs, or upsell for a better ticket price.

At the conclusion of the experience, I felt fleeced. Not as someone who had been taken advantage of like a rookie on the World Poker Tour, but I felt fleeced of my value in the process. The impression was neither my patronage, nor money, mattered.

Customer service has always been a primary element of success. As Canadians grow out of the honeymoon stage of having a high dollar in the global market, and come to see the risks involved to our long-term economic health and climbing interest rates, they are going to cocoon that little bit of disposable income and question even more where it gets spent. Even more so in the manufacturing sectors where economists are predicting the biggest hit as Canadian exports become less attractive.

Wooing these customers back into the pizzeria will require great effort, greater focus and a renewed commitment to feeding their ego and appetite. Sales tactics such as an off-the-cuff “Is that it?” will not register high on the resell meter for your shop. It may not stick as a top-of-mind issue, but how do you want your brand … your pizza … your business … remembered?

“Is that it?” Only if you have your next business venture in sight. •

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