Making Dough with Diane: September 2009

12 ideas for your promotional calendar
Diane Chiasson
September 23, 2009
By
Autumn has arrived, which means that the end of the year is nearing. Now is the time to start preparing your promotional calendar for 2010. You need the extra few months to start building and cleaning up your database as well as plan your budget. You need to start thinking about what types of promotions you want to run and how long it will take to prepare each promotion per month, so that you have enough time to put together your direct mail, advertising plan, and promotional and marketing campaigns.

When planning, remember to keep in mind your marketing goal and how you will achieve it, your target audience and what type of marketing plan you’ll use to reach them (direct mail, radio/TV ads, etc.), your identity and of course your budget.

January
The excitement of the holiday season is over, and people are feeling the extra weight from over-eating, as well as their empty pockets from having spent so much on presents during the holidays. Most people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and become healthier.

January is the perfect month to offer a low-calorie pizza at a discounted price, a “half the calories for the half the price” type of promotion. Create a leaner pizza using a super-thin crust, fresh tomato sauce and low-fat cheese, with fresh and raw vegetable toppings.

You can also team up with your local fitness centre/gym to offer some sort of promotion. Join the gym and get a discount on your low-cal pizza, or buy a pizza from your operation and get a free workout at the gym. 

February
Love and romance are in the air for this month, which is always dedicated to Valentine’s Day. Use direct mail to send out notices that you will be offering a special romantic pizza during the week of Valentine’s Day. Offer a free box of chocolates with every purchase of your romance pizza and hand out fresh roses to your female patrons.

Organize a pizza-making class for couples. Let the champagne flow and teach couples how to roll out pizza dough. Offer a wide variety of culinary aphrodisiacs like shrimp, oysters and chili peppers as toppings.

March
Aside from offering a green pizza for St. Patrick’s Day, March is also national nutrition month. Take the month to promote the nutritional value of your pizza. Offer free samples of your line of nutritious pizzas and snacks. Set up displays that feature information on where you source your produce and cheese as well as how you use your ingredients.

April
Spring has arrived, which means more focus on fresh and clean items. Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight your environmentally friendly products and introduce or push your line of organic pizzas. Create a display using bamboo baskets and other earth-friendly materials filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. For the kids, celebrate Easter by offering some free candy eggs with their purchases.

May
There are several holidays in May to choose from including Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. May is also national barbecue month, a great opportunity to create a line of grilled pizzas with smoky, barbecued toppings. Set up a barbecue outside the front of your store, and offer passersby free samples of your grilled pizzas, along with a flyer inviting them back to your restaurant for more deals.

June
Welcome summer by throwing open your doors and selling freshly-made lemonade and ice tea with your pizzas. Definitely make a plan to celebrate Father’s Day with a special treat for dads. June is also national dairy month, so it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment with different cheese toppings for your pizza. You can also pair up with a local artisan cheese maker to set up cheese displays in your store, offer free samples and educate on how the cheese is used to make your pizzas even more delicious.

July
In 1984, President Reagan designated July as national ice cream month in the United States. Who says that we can’t have that here in Canada? Pizza and ice cream make the perfect pair, especially for kids. Use July to market to children, and entice parents to bring in their kids with offers of ice cream specials to go along with their pizza.

August
With fresh tomatoes and fresh fruits in full bloom, this is the month to push your fresh tomato pizzas, or create a line of fruit pizzas to be sold as desserts. You can also create a line of homemade fresh tomato pizza sauce that you can sell as a retail item.

September
Back to school means families are suddenly rushing around trying to get back into their regular routines with school and work. Help out busy families by offering special family deals that include salads, pizza and dessert for a set price. Or designate a special night at your restaurant as family night, with special deals and events for kids. For example, you can hire a clown to entertain the kids or set up a bouncy house out front.

October
The celebration of Oktoberfest is perfect for pizza operations. Decorate your restaurant with strands of pepperoni and sausages. Partner up with a German beer distributor to offer a special sausage pizza and beer combo. Host a sausage-making event. Invite regulars to come in to make their own sausages, which they can then use as a pizza topping to make their own pizzas.

Celebrate Halloween by giving out special treat bags to kids who come into your restaurant dressed up in costume. Also offer free delivery specials to families who are too busy to cook dinner before they take the kids out for trick-or-treating.

November
The holiday frenzy starts in November. Prepare a marketing campaign to sell gift cards to your pizza operation for stocking stuffers. November is also Latin American month. You can create a line of fiery Latin-American pizzas, or feature a different Latin American country each week with a Cuban pizza, a Peruvian pizza, etc. Create a fun atmosphere in your pizza operation with Latin music, and colourful decorations.

December
Another year has gone by, and the holidays are here again. Continue pushing your gift cards to sell as stocking stuffers and presents, as well as gift certificates to cooking classes that you will hold in the near future like pizza-making for couples and kids or wine appreciation nights.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 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 at1-888-926-6655 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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