Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: September-October 2012

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Retail your way to more money

Pizza operators can have great fun when it comes to selling retail and promotional items.

Pizza operators can have great fun when it comes to selling retail and promotional items. These items can also help you enhance and strengthen your brand image and bring in extra profits.

Provided they know about it, many of your loyal customers will want to buy your merchandise as long as it is unique and interesting. Ensure that your products are displayed prominently in your operation and on your website, and that the prices reflect their value. Set up a display case at the entrance of your operation, and use tent cards, signage, POP materials, or even e-mail marketing to inform your customers of your new and exciting products.

There are also almost no drawbacks to selling retail products. Not only will you be able to create another stream of income, but each piece of merchandise that is purchased also acts as free advertising for your pizza operation. And if none of your products sell, you can always give them away as gifts for upcoming promotions.


Here are six ideas for developing a line of retail products that you can sell in your operation to increase profits and create free advertising.

Gift cards
Gift cards or gift certificates are a must-have. They are easy to make and easy to sell, especially during the holidays. Sales of gift cards are pure profit, as research has shown that nearly 25 per cent of them never get used. Gift cards are also great for bringing new customers into your operation since quite possibly the recipient of the gift card has never visited your place. The majority of gift card users also end up spending much more than the value of their gift card, thereby increasing your average cheque.

Pizza operators can have a lot of fun with T-shirts and other clothing items, especially those sporting funny logos, slogans, images and characters. Humorous puns and irony are particularly popular among patrons. T-shirts are also inexpensive to produce. Since kids tend to be big pizza lovers, be sure to create a separate line of fun and colourful T-shirts just for them.

While T-shirts and other types of clothing can be covered by jackets, your logo/slogan on a hat will always be prominently displayed. Hats are also inexpensive to produce and act as a great marketing tool. Ensure that you source good quality hats that fit well and are stylish so that customers will want to wear them.

IPhone cases
Phone cases are no longer used just for protective purposes. They are now considered a fashion accessory, and people change their cases to match their outfits or to make a statement. Sell branded iPhone cases with funky designs and fun slogans targeted at the youth market.

Pizza toys
Kids influence where the family eats when they dine out, so they are a key market to target. Sell a line of pizza toys that are fun and affordable. Create a collection of items that offers a new collectible for a limited time period each week/month so that you can draw repeat business driven by kids who want to purchase the entire collection.

Candy and confectionery
Consider selling pizza-themed lollipops, gummy pops, chocolate, packaged candy and other confectionary products labelled with your brand as souvenirs for kids (or adults) to take home. Because candy is fun and colourful, it is easy to set up a large merchandising display to not only increase sales, but to attract kids as well.

Up-selling your customers with fun retail items creates bonus fun for your customers and bonus profit for you.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides 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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