Making Dough with Diane: Five easy ways to boost your pizzeria’s visibility and sales
Diane ChiassonFeatures Business and Operations Marketing Premises
For most people, winter is all about staying indoors, watching movies at night, and only stepping out of the house when necessary or for an emergency. The cold winter months, especially just after the holidays, can be the most depressing time of the year. Weather can significantly affect consumers’ buying habits, with many restaurant operators reporting that cold weather brings a decline in sales.
As a restaurant owner, you must think outside the box to attract customers during this time. Here are five easy ways to boost your pizzeria visibility and sales this winter.
1. Offer soup of the day
When soup’s on, sales can go up in cold weather. Did you know that you can boost your cheque averages by up to 15 per cent by offering a soup of the day? When creating your menu in the winter months, think about all the delicious warming foods people love to eat when the temperatures get really cold. Homemade soups, stews and classic comfort foods will be surefire winners with your hungry customers. More people eat comfort foods, with pizza being Canada’s favourite and most popular comfort food.
For many pizza franchises, bad weather and winter bring higher sales since many people crave comfort foods. When it’s cold, it’s natural for people to want food that will give them warmth. Consider working with good high-quality premade soups and adding your special touch with yummy ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, such as diced tomatoes, minced fresh garlic, crisp bacon, pasta, diced fresh bell peppers, fresh veggies, grated Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons.
2. Pair your pizzas with winter beers
Your pizzeria will never go wrong with seasonal beers and winter brews that can be easily paired with existing pizzas on your menu. Your pizza’s gooey texture, and cheesy and savoury flavours will find a great partner in a malty, hoppy beer. There are many flavours and types for each, so make sure to test and understand each one. Think of winter beers, such as stouts, for mushroom spinach pizza, porters for seafood pizza, and barrel-aged varieties for sausage, meatball, pepperoni and bacon pizza. Porters and stouts pair deliciously with intense flavours, such as roasted, smoked or barbecued meats, and they also are delicious with desserts and chocolate.
3. Sell your branded items
You are already using a lot of ingredients in your pizzeria. Could you not package and sell some of them? How about these Italian tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil from Sorrento, artichokes or truffle salt? How about these at-home pizza kits with all the ingredients needed to make a margherita pizza at home? Selling something you are known for as a branded product is one surefire way to generate a secondary revenue stream. But, of course, you also want to make sure to give your customers the best quality at a reasonable price.
You could always put a price tag on t-shirts, caps, aprons, mugs or sauce bottles. However, if you decide to go ahead with selling branded products, make sure that these items reflect your image and brand.
You could sell these items directly near your cash register or on your website and promote them on your social media platforms. You could also assess what other local places offer, making it easier to differentiate your products and find a market niche.
4. Ramp up delivery and takeout promotion on social media
People are less likely to dine in during cold weather, but they can still enjoy your food at their convenience. During winter, consumers will opt even more often for the comfort and convenience of takeout and delivery. The food delivery market has more than tripled since 2017. Therefore, you should invest more heavily in digital technology, if not in money, than you invest in time. Your primary goal is to make sure your customers think about your pizzeria this winter. Chances are, most of your customers are active on social media platforms, which means you should be too. Hence, the best way to increase your sales is by exploiting this force and making your pizzeria presence felt on these platforms.
Think about running social media promotions on delivery and takeout deals. Limited-time offers are great strategies to promote new or unique menu items such as a new appetizer or a beverage to go alongside pizza.
5. Be warm and inviting
Irrespective of the weather outside, you need to make sure the inside of your pizzeria restaurant is warm, cozy and inviting. Your pizzeria’s atmosphere plays a vital role in providing a great dining experience.
A good pizzeria layout doesn’t just try to fit in as many customers as possible. Make sure your seats are not crammed together and that there is enough space between tables. Avoid placing any tables next to the kitchen door or under harsh lights. Small tables are generally meant for couples or individuals, while large tables are meant for groups or families. Always think of couples or individuals who are looking for privacy.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 35 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, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com
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