Business and Operations
Boost your pizzeria’s income right away: Making Dough with Diane
Boost your pizzeria’s income right away
By Diane Chiasson
Increasing your income is one of the first steps to expanding and growing your pizzeria. Some of these easy tips below can be done quickly to immediately improve your pizzeria’s sales and profitability, and these ideas can be applied with great ease. Don’t forget that these small changes can have a big impact on your budget.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR COMPETITORS
Take a look around your neighbourhood. I am positive that you are not the only restaurant around selling pizzas. Do you know who your real competitors are? Your competitors are not always who you think they are. Even if you aren’t close to another pizzeria, your competition could be a food truck, a coffee shop, a deli or even a farmer’s market. Is there a convenience store down the street or a large grocery store?
You should ask yourself the following questions: Who are my competitors? What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? What are my competitors’ next moves? How can I set my pizzeria business apart from the competition? How can I differentiate my pizzeria from the rest and make it profitable? Should I talk to my own customers? How is my competition talking to their customers?
Learn to identify your competitors to better position and sell your pizzeria products and services. Take the time to visit your direct competitors’ stores, and study their menus, prices, ads, brochures, promotional materials, website and social media campaigns. You should also consider purchasing some pizza items at each location, incognito if necessary. By studying your competition, you will always find different ways to set yourself apart and find a particular niche in order to prosper.
2. EVALUATE YOUR MENU
Although you will want to always offer your most popular and signature items, it is a great idea to change up your menu periodically. Depending on where your pizzeria is located, updating ingredients for warm and cold weather makes great sense. To maintain profits, your menu should absolutely be updated at least once a year to make sure that your food costs are in line. Always evaluate the profitability and sales for each individual item to determine if it is priced properly. Instead of looking at your prices monthly, try to watch them weekly to find changes that could lower your profits.
As you know, your most expensive menu items may not be your most profitable. Breaking down the profit of each item on your menu is very important to see which items are your biggest moneymakers. Take immediate control of your food costs by sitting down with your suppliers every quarter. Make sure to ask them for a price break on some important items and most particularly on items with a high percentage of increase. Train your staff to sell your most profitable items rather than the most expensive items, and make sure they upsell every chance they get, offering drinks, appetizers, desserts and sides to go along with pizzas. In addition, keep in mind that another way to keep food costs in line is to reduce food waste; when you end up throwing away food, it costs you money.
3. PERFORM REGULAR AUDITS
You followed your passion, but you are also in business to make some profit. You should always keep a close eye on your expenses. Review your food costs and menu prices. You should know your prime cost, which includes all those things you pay for on a day-to-day basis to keep your pizzeria running. It’s also important to look at seasonal ingredients, portion size and current food trends in your industry. Consider not only your pizzeria menu items but also the staff needed to keep you in business.
Perform quarterly supplier reviews and compare your suppliers with other local and national suppliers. If you are not performing a regular supplier review, you are missing the boat. You should identify and react to price increases quickly as this will have a direct and immediate effect on your profit. Understanding your food and labour costs should be a top priority for a pizzeria owner.
4. CHECK YOUR INVENTORY
Educate your staff on the importance of taking inventory and how to do it right. Your food costs typically account for around 30 per cent of a restaurant’s budget. Do your research with your team to make sure you are getting your necessary ingredients at the best price. Even if you are running a small operation, buying food and packaging products in bulk can be a real money saver. Contact your local wholesaler, distributor or manufacturer directly to ensure you are getting the best deal. The larger the quantity of an ingredient you buy, the cheaper it will be. As you know, suppliers increase and decrease prices daily: it’s important to keep track of what prices you have paid in the past and compare those to market price. Use a spreadsheet or an app to keep track properly.
You can also dramatically reduce inventory errors by identifying one staff member to be your receiver. This will increase your efficiency and lower your COGS (cost of goods sold).
Do you have enough storage space? I am a big advocate of proper food storage as it will reduce your expenses and boost your overall profit. Add extra shelves and storage containers to maximize the efficiency of your space. A good idea is to use clear, airtight bulk storage containers with lids that seal, so you can see what’s in them. Label each container with content name and date of purchase or use-by date.
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