Business and Operations
Getting your pizzeria ready for New Year’s: Making dough with Diane
By Diane Chiasson
New Year’s Day is one of the most internationally recognized and celebrated holidays, and it can be one of the most challenging times of year when it comes to managing your restaurant. However, with planning, organization and creativity, it also can be one of the most profitable times if you create a warm and inviting haven for your customers.
Shoppers are flooding malls, boutiques and other stores for their last-minute holiday shopping and bargain hunting. As these shoppers go from store to store, they will develop a hunger that will perhaps bring them to your pizzeria for something quick and tasty to eat on the spot. Or they may simply order your food to go.
Here are five helpful suggestions to get you ready for this busy time.
1. ADD SPECIAL LAST-MINUTE DECORATIONS TO CREATE THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE
Decorate and brighten up your pizzeria with sparkly garlands and other colourful, unique and festive decorations that complement your brand. Add soft, twinkling lights around your restaurant and windows. These elements will create an enjoyable atmosphere in your restaurant while customers dine or wait to pick up their orders. Before you start putting up your special decorations, have your staff go through your pizzeria and clean everything from top to bottom. Make sure your pizzeria sparkles and is squeaky clean. Dust all your fixtures, clean the windows, and make sure all your walls, ceilings and floors are spotless.
Add some New Year’s themed napkins and table covers, and play some seasonal music. Your customers expect a warm, comforting, attractive and inviting place where they can stay and enjoy a great meal. Just remember that your customers are looking for an enjoyable experience when they come to your pizzeria, and therefore you should create a space that not only looks great but also feels like home.
Make sure you have enough seating for all your customers. You should also have a plan for your table layouts if they need to change to accommodate larger groups. Make sure they are comfortable for all of your customers.
2. EFFECTIVELY ORGANIZE, SCHEDULE AND TRAIN YOUR STAFF
All these extra orders are great for your pizzeria, but you may have your staff stretched to their limits. As you know, one of the most important operational aspects of being successful is scheduling your staff effectively and giving them enough time to learn your systems in order to provide superior service.
Make sure you have plenty of seasonal staff to help you get through the rush of the New Year’s events. Whether it’s a cashier, a busser or an extra cook, making sure you have a full staff is key during this time of year. You may consider bringing in a few temporary staff members to ensure your pizzeria is prepared for the New Year’s rush and to provide customers with top-quality customer service.
Students will be looking for ways to earn a little extra cash during that time, and you could post your ad on college and university job boards. Use social media, post on your storefront windows and reach out to current employees for some help with your search. Be sure to give yourself enough time to select and carefully train your new employees before the rush begins.
Just remember that one of the keys to a successful dining experience for your customers is fast and friendly service.
3. KEEP YOUR KITCHEN WELL STOCKED
Running out of advertised pizzas is never the mark of a solid restaurant operation, and it is much worse when this happens during these special and meaningful holiday meals. There is nothing more disappointing than hearing the words, “Sorry, we’ve run out of that.”
Don’t leave your customers with a bad impression of your restaurant. Plan ahead by looking at your last year’s sales data and by ordering extra ingredients and supplies. Keep a close eye on your inventory, and make sure you stock up on your most popular items so that you don’t run out of anything. But make sure you don’t also incur waste from overstocking. You certainly don’t want to run out of ingredients on one of the busiest days of the year, so make sure you talk to all your vendors early so they will have exactly what you will need. Use your restaurants’ POS inventory management system capability to optimize stock.
4. ADD SOME SEASONAL OPTIONS TO YOUR MENU
Consider bringing in a unique and festive New Year’s menu to satisfy your regular customers who will be expecting new offers. Customers love menu items that incorporate holiday flavours and ingredients such as butternut squash, chestnut, and pumpkin spice. This is the time of the year when your customers will pay just a little bit more for those delicious seasonal offerings.
I looked online for some special pizza dishes and found one that I would certainly like to order that included carved roasted turkey breast, sage and onion meatballs, pork sausage, bacon, and a topping of cranberry drizzle. Yum! One good way to start the new year is by giving your customers something for free when they walk into your restaurant, such as a glass of bubbly or sparkling wine. Give something to your customers that they will remember, and you will entice them to come back in the future.
5. PROMOTE YOUR NEW YEAR’S MENU
Send New Year’s email greeting cards to your customers and remind them your restaurant is the best place for them to get their yummy pizza. Send out press releases to local newspapers, magazines, and nearby industrial and manufacturing facilities. Make sure you promote extensively to nearby businesses. Visit all the surrounding office buildings and drop off marketing material, New Year’s menu and catering menus.
Don’t forget to ask for the business! Train your staff to give customers a mini menu with each receipt. You should also spread the word about your New Year’s menu through your website and via your social media channels.
New Year’s can be one of the most challenging times of year, but with planning, organization and creativity, it can be one of the most profitable times if you create a warm and inviting haven for your customers.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping food service, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com