Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making dough with Diane: Nine tips for a jolly Christmas

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Winter is fast approaching, which means the holiday rush is nearly here.

Winter is fast approaching, which means the holiday rush is nearly here. This is a busy time for many people, with plenty of events, family gatherings and parties to keep everyone bustling! This is also a great time of year for pizza operators to promote your business, boost sales and generate more interest in what you have to offer.

The following tips will help you bring in the green this holiday season, even if the weather outside is frightful.

Promote Stocking stuffers
Gift cards are great stocking stuffers. Sell gift cards in denominations that are enough for a slice of pizza, a drink and a dessert.


These gift cards are perfect for kids or students who want to grab a quick lunch during school. Be sure to promote your gift cards by keeping a stack next to your cash register with proper POP materials. Make sure your staff is suggestive in selling these gift cards to all your customers by pointing out that they make ideal stocking stuffers because they are useful, inexpensive and would be greatly appreciated.

Offer Delivery specials for family gatherings
The holidays are all about family, friends and visiting at each other’s homes. Cooking can be too overwhelming for the host, especially if they are preparing a holiday dinner for a large group. Come up with a delivery special that caters to a large crowd.

Make sure your special includes a festive tablecloth, plates, cutlery and cups. You can also add some fun things for the kids, like Christmas crackers, candy or a small gift. During this busy time of year, no one wants to be cooking and cleaning up after 20 people every night.

Festive designs for pizza boxes
Get into the spirit of the holidays by putting together a collection of pizza boxes that feature a gift wrapping design, complete with an ornate bow and gift tag, wishing your customers a happy holiday. Include a coupon with your gift tag for something your customers can cash in on in the new year.

Run a mobile sweepstakes campaign
To help build your database for future marketing, get in touch with a mobile network and put together a mobile sweepstakes campaign, allowing potential customers to send a text message ballot for a chance to win a grand prize. People who text in would immediately receive a text message back with a coupon for a free slice of pizza or a free drink. The holidays can be expensive, so people usually appreciate receiving something for free during that time. Environmentalists will also appreciate the paperless coupon.

Decorate your store
The Christmas holiday season is a fun and festive one, and people really get into the spirit of giving (and spending). Get your pizzeria in the holiday spirit by decorating your store and playing holiday music. Have your staff wear red and green, or put on a Santa hat. Hand out candy canes or other small treats to kids and adults alike.

Send out a catering menu
Use a direct mail, e-mail or fax campaign to send your catering menu to all the office buildings in your area. Most offices will throw some sort of year-end office party to celebrate the holidays, and pizza is a popular choice for food.

Partner with another business
The holidays are all about gift-giving, so give your customers a gift with their purchase as well. Partner up with a non-competitive local business in your area like a toy store or video store to give your customers a $10 coupon or a free movie rental.

Create a Christmas menu
If you run a full-service restaurant, create a Christmas/holiday prix-fixe menu to help customers book their Christmas parties. Include a choice of either a three- or four-course sit-down menu or a cocktail party. A prix-fixe pizza dinner is ideal for large groups of people who are looking for a place to have their party on a tighter budget.

Give to charity
The holidays are also about helping others. Consider putting together a food drive, where you give a 10 per cent discount or a free drink to anyone who brings in a non-perishable item. Stack all the items at your store entrance, and put appropriate POS materials to let customers and passersby know what you are doing. Also consider donating a portion of sales from one of your popular menu items to your favourite charity.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, 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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