Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Marketing
Making Dough with Diane: September-October 2013

Destined to dine - How to turn your pizza operation into a destination


With so much competition in the pizza business today, you need to make your operation stand out from the rest.

With so much competition in the pizza business today, you need to make your operation stand out from the rest. It’s time to turn your pizza place into a consumer destination for both locals and tourists, and draw new customers from beyond their immediate marketplace.

Instead of just being a local pizzeria that sells and delivers pizza, try to create an experience for your customers that is interesting and different enough to make customers tell their friends and family that they need to come check you out. Instead of being a place where people stop to pick up a pizza, you can turn your business into a place where people will want to bring their family, friends and out-of-town guests for a fun experience.

Here are seven ideas to help you become the go-to restaurant in your area:

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1. Get seasonal

Your most popular, basic and signature items should always be available, but it’s important for your pizza operation to continually offer new seasonal products. Get creative with your pizza toppings and offer new and fun pies to give your customers an incentive to keep visiting to see what you throw at them next. Always offer daily specials, and make sure the specials really do change daily. Hold special events or seminars to educate your customers on all the different types of meats, sausages, fresh produce and cheeses that exist in our world, and create delicious pizzas for them to try.


2. Expand beyond pizza

In order to become a consumer destination, it’s important to pique the interest of more than just those who are interested in pizza. Consider expanding your product line to sell a range of fun retail items. Turn your pizza operation into an emporium for cool books, knickknacks, toys, kitchen utensils and other interesting items..


3. Offer entertainment

The key to becoming a destination is offering some sort of entertainment for guests. Set your operation up so that your pizza chefs are front and centre. Get your pizza chefs to put on a “show” by tossing pizza dough and getting customers involved in making their pizzas. If your operation attracts a younger crowd or many families with small children, considering setting up a videogame area or a special play area so that parents can spend more time in your operation while their kids are kept entertained. 


4. Make sure your staff are on board

Friendly service is the key to creating a great experience for your customers. Ensure your staff are always friendly, courteous and knowledgeable about each and every single product you offer. Your staff should also encourage customers to try samples of your products, and make them feel at home. Keep children happy and busy by offering toys, colouring books, balloons and treats while they dine or wait for takeout. Make sure that your staff are on board with your vision by listening to their ideas, and allowing them to contribute creatively to your business.


5. Get your name out in the community

Get your name out by being an active sponsor and community member. Host themed events during holidays, and sponsor your local schools, sports teams and charities. Make your name and your brand memorable within your community, and the community will remember and recommend your pizza operation. 


6. Turn your store into a gallery

There are thousands of artists out there who are looking for places to display and share their work. Work with local artists in your area on consignment, and turn your pizza operation into a mini art gallery as well. But don’t just stick to paintings – consider ceramics, sculptures, bags or clothing. The additional products will help draw more interest and customers to your restaurant, and won’t cost you a thing!

7. Don’t be afraid to try new things
Finally, it’s important to be open to trying new things in your business. Some will work, some won’t, but the key is to keep changing. Your customers should experience something new and fun each and every time they walk through your doors so that they keep returning for a new experience each time.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 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 chiasson@chiassonconsultants.com, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.