Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: July-August 2015

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Five tips for pleasing the summer crowd

The summer holidays can bring many tourists to your city or community and a lot more local customers into your neighbourhood for events and summer activities.

Here are five tips to help you improve your business with the summer crowd and capitalize on summer opportunities.

1. Be tech savvy
Today many people can find you locally when in your area through your website and social media sites, so make sure you have these and that they are operating well this summer. Your sites should also have many tantalizing photos of all the great food you have to offer. As a restaurant, you must take high-quality images, even if it means hiring a professional photographer. It is incredibly cheap to do these days and it lets people see what you can deliver and gets them excited.

With Facebook or Twitter, you can generate a following by offering special social media deals. Offer weekend specials and send out a tweet before the weekend to all existing customers, especially if there is any kind of summer event going on in your area that weekend. Offering a 10 per cent reward to followers who bring their friends in to your pizzeria could make you the destination of choice for someone going to an event in your area with their friends. The power of social media is undeniable, and it’s an essential tool to marketing your pizza restaurant this summer.


2. Don’t forget parents and kids
Pizza can be a life-saver for parents in a strange place, where perhaps their kids are not familiar with the food. Pizza tops almost every kid’s list of favourite food items. Most kids I know like only cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza, while most parents I know would prefer more sophisticated toppings. By offering a child-sized pizza at a reasonable price, you can satisfy a whole family without forcing them to calculate the best way to order.

A free balloon is another easy and inexpensive way to attract kids, along with their parents, to your pizzeria. It also gives you a great way to advertise your name around town. There are lots of ways to attract parents and kids: just make sure you do some of them this summer.

3. fulfil tourists’ needs
Tourists are far from home, so offer them something that they might need, such as Wi-Fi. Most people travel with their smartphones and need to keep up to date with their emails, but many do not want to pay the exorbitant roaming charges telecommunications companies like to charge.

At the top of most tourists’ lists when they come to a location is the local cuisine. Tourists are looking to try new flavours, and experience local and regional cuisine. Promoting the “Canadian” pizza prominently on your menu and websites could well make you stand out from the crowd for the international visitors. Perhaps even try putting some local flair into a signature dish, dessert or cocktail to attract more out-of-towners.

4. Serve healthy side dishes
Pizza is filling and serves as the main event in a meal. However, many people struggle with what to serve alongside a pizza. Most pizza operators probably already offer typical sides such as garden, Greek or Caesar salads, chicken wings, and garlic bread. Today’s health-conscious eaters may be looking for something more nutritious to alleviate the guilt of eating a pizza in the first place. Set up an antipasto bar with grilled vegetables, seafood, olives, cured meats and cheeses. You may already have most of the ingredients on hand. Customers can grab a take-out container and serve themselves. For delivery or drive-thru customers, offer an antipasto variety plate.

Try more unique and healthful salads that customers would like to buy even if they don’t want any pizza, for example, salads made using special grains such as quinoa or bulgur, bean salads, lentil salads, and whole-grain pasta salads. You could also serve sides of vegetables such as sautéed rapini in garlic, braised kale or roasted sweet potatoes.

To encourage more health-conscious parents to buy your pizza, create a pizza sauce that blends carrots, broccoli, red peppers and other healthy vegetables into a smooth sauce that is indistinguishable in look and taste from regular pizza sauce.

5. Become the first choice
In order to stimulate potential customers, target them by providing some sort of discount. The percentage should be enough to attract the targeted group of customers and make you a profit. You can also offer two side salads for the price of one, which is a very useful way of attracting new customers, getting customers to try your salads and standing out from the crowd.

Whatever strategy you choose, it is important you make yourself stand out as the place for pizza this summer through what you offer and through the ways you offer it.

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

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