Making Dough with Diane: December 2014

7 ways to attract a lunch crowd
Diane Chiasson
November 26, 2014
By
As your pizza operation taking advantage of the lunch crowd? According to a recent survey, more than two-thirds of the working population will go out to buy their lunch, and on average, spend around $2,000 a year.

While most pizza operations already offer some sort of a lunch meal deal that might include a slice of pizza and a beverage, there are several other strategies that you can use to attract more people.

Here are seven tips to help attract a bigger crowd to your pizzeria during the lunch hours.

1. Be fast
Most people have less than one hour for their lunch break, so it is important for your pizza operation to offer fast service at lunch. Consider a lunch promotion that guarantees customers will be served their entire order in less than five or 10 minutes. This way, those who are short on time will be more inclined to eat lunch at your operation as they know for certain that they will get their food quickly. 

2. Give out free samples
If your pizza operation is new to the neighbourhood, consider bringing free samples to all the local businesses, office buildings and schools nearby with copies of your menu and a stack of coupons. But don’t just drop off the pizza or stand there silently. Be funny, loud and gregarious to attract attention so that next time people are wondering where to go for lunch, they will remember you.

3. Establish relationships
Walk around your area and introduce yourself and your pizza to other (non-competitive) shops and businesses. Ask questions about what they do and find out more about their business. It is important to establish personal relationships with other business owners in your area. This way, you will be more inclined to support and help each other.

4. Offer group specials
Many people often go out for lunch in large groups, whether to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday or for a lunch meeting. Consider offering a group special, such as a 10 per cent discount if you have more than six people in your party.

5. LET customers order ahead
On your website, give customers the ability to pre-order their lunch that includes a specific and accurate time as to when their order will be ready. Have a separate line in your operation for customers to pick up their food. This will help eliminate waiting in line.

6. Target stay-at-home parents
Many businesses target the workforce or students for their lunch business, but don’t forget about the plethora of stay-at-home parents with young children who might enjoy a leisurely lunch.

To attract the attention of this group, you may want to consider creating a special kids’ menu with healthier items on it, for example, a fruit smoothie instead of a soft drink, or keeping a small stock of jarred baby food or small snacks, like dry cereal or crackers, on hand for little kids.

Have small toys, colouring books or a small play area to encourage parents to meet up at your pizza operation for afternoon play dates. Be sure to have high chairs, bottle warmers, a changing station and any other items that would make the dining experience an enjoyable one for a parent with a young child/baby.

7. Use social media
Generate a following by offering a special social media deal every day. For example, send out a Twitter message at 11 a.m. saying that the first 20 people who walk through the doors for lunch will receive a free drink, or reward your followers for bringing their friends to your business by offering a 10 per cent discount to anyone who brings a friend for lunch.

The power of social media is undeniable and it’s an essential tool to marketing your lunch business.

Try using these social media and other strategies to help gain a bigger slice of the lunch crowd at your pizzeria.


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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.


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