Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: December 2015

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

10 ways to market on a shoestring

The slow economy and potential recession is all anyone is talking about these days, and everyone seems to be struggling to keep his or her businesses afloat. So what are you doing to keep your pizzeria alive?

During difficult times, businesses should not be decreasing their advertising and marketing budgets, but rather increasing it. Your competitors are all probably looking to cut back and save on costs right now, which means you can push yourself to the front of the line for marketing and advertising.

Here are 10 easy, inexpensive ideas you can apply to your operation immediately to help increase sales and visibility.

1. Business cards
Since everyone may already know you, put your photo on your business cards and make sure that you have lots of business cards on you to give out at all times. You should use the back of your business card for a special offer or promotion such as a free dip, drink or dessert.


2. use database information
Send information in an e-newsletter or a printed newsletter with photos of yourself and your staff. You can also send a thank-you card or a personalized, hand-signed customer appreciation letter to your best customers, or a postcard at least every 21 days to your contact list. Make sure you always ask permission to add them to your mailing list.

3. Use your car to advertise
Have your pizzeria name and logo professionally painted on the side of your car, so that when you drive around town, you are acting as a moving billboard to advertise your establishment.

4. Get out in your community
Get out there and meet the locals. Build your business by networking and attending your local chamber of commerce, service club or local associations’ meetings to meet potential customers. Check online to see what conventions are coming to your area.
Don’t forget to include in your marketing plan a monthly calendar of community activities with events such as school nights, sports sponsorships, girl and boy scouts, local animal shelters, Special Olympics, and troops and veterans support. Charity fundraisers are also a good way for you to get involved in your community; participating will help you gain new customers and provide goodwill.  

5. Call on everyone you know
Make a personal phone call to invite your friends, family, regular customers, and old business acquaintances to see how they are doing, and remind them of upcoming specials and promotions. Telephone calls are a great way to let your customers know they are valued and also serve as a great reminder of your pizzeria.

6. work with other businesses
Do cross-promotions and co-op advertising with non-competitive businesses. For example, work with your local movie theatre for a “pizza-and-a-movie” promotion. You could also sponsor a sports team from the local high school or an adult league. Print in your name and logo on their team shirts.

7. Attract local businesses
Get in touch with local businesses and offices in your area, and deliver mini “special- of- the-week” menus to local offices. You could also compile a list of email addresses to send them your weekly menu specials. Again, make sure you ask permission to add them to your mailing list.

8. Give out free samples
Use food samplings to highlight new menu items and create excitement. Pass out mini bites of pizza samples to your existing customers and to people in the community; it will help you introduce people to your pizzas and get them through your door initially.

9. Staff attitude
Make sure your employees find out the names of regular customers and tell them to always recognize them when they return.Train your staff to go out of their way to ask how the pizza tastes, and simply say “hello”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” Make sure everyone on your staff treats your customers like royalty, and I can assure you that they will come back for more. Don’t forget that good customer service will automatically boost word-of-mouth advertising. The number 1 reason people don’t return to a restaurant is indifference or lack of concern from employees.  

10. Use social media
Even if you don’t have a website, you can effectively market your pizzeria. Social media marketing is free and very powerful. Open accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and … get the word out! Invite people to try your pizza, and ask them to tell their friends about the “best pizzeria in town.”

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or,    or visit

Print this page


Stories continue below