Business and Operations
Pizza on Fire: April-May 2014
By Tom Stankiewicz
Full speed ahead
By Tom Stankiewicz
Digital technology is moving forward at a very high speed these days.
Digital technology is moving forward at a very high speed these days. It is being continually improved upon and what is considered new today could simply be old news next month. Our customers are quickly catching on and using various social media to access our business information. If we want to keep up with the constant change, we need to embrace and use some of the digital technologies that have become so popular. At this point, it is a must rather than a maybe to explore them.
It is rather surprising that some businesses still do not have a website registered. A couple of people I have asked about it said they felt it would take up too much of their time and they didn’t understand how to create one. In my opinion, that is a mistake that is costing them money and potential new customers. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least 80 per cent of people search for a business website before contacting the business. It allows them to review what’s available as well as the product prices. It’s a huge time saver for customers who are getting better and better at multitasking. The good news is that it helps the business as well. If a prepared customer calls and knows right away what he wants to order, the phone time required to place the order is reduced at least by 50 per cent. This, of course, translates into more sales within the same time frame. Also, staff productivity should increase as this additional time that would have been spent with the same customer is now freed up to complete other tasks.
Methods of marketing your product have definitely changed from what they were 10 years ago. For example, many customers choose not to have any flyers delivered to them. Many are choosing more environmentally friendly ways to locate information. This particular segment of our population is growing each year. If we don’t adjust, then we won’t be able to reach a big chunk of customers who will simply turn to our competition. I have seen a decrease in the number of pizza menus we need reprinted.Customers have said that they don’t need menus as they can check the offerings on our website.
Many businesses now specialize in creating websites for those who need help with the task. A website is an invaluable tool that allows you to reach your desired customer base 24 hours a day. Pizza specials can be posted or updated daily on the website, a convenience not possible when printing. This is especially helpful in situations where a particular pizza special wasn’t profitable or needed to be adjusted for whatever reason. In the case of a flyer that a customer brought in, it would generally have to be honoured. On the other hand, updates to the website would quickly eliminate that issue.
It also is a tool that can be used for creative advertising. In comparison to the method of paper advertising, the digital update on the website would incur just a fraction of the cost. This could allow you to change the advertising message more frequently. Or you could have a pizza special designed for each day of the week and have that posted for the customers to view. The website would allow you to present your pizza brand in any way you think best.
Twitter also may be used to enhance the image and increase the revenue of your pizza business. In existence since 2006, it has become quite popular. From my experience, the Twitter account is beneficial because it provides you with instant feedback from your customers. It could be good or bad; however, it lets you know in real time about your customers’ experience at your pizzeria. Customers use it because it is a convenient way for them to talk about your product and service. What’s more, it is another advertising tool by which customers are the driving force behind the message about your business. These days, most people are connected to the Internet not only through computers but also via iPods, iPhones and BlackBerrys. Again, this allows them to communicate with business owners whom in many cases they would never meet.
More and more people are using it as a primary conversation tool and that is why it is imperative for small businesses to enter social media communication to ensure our continued success.
Tom Stankiewicz has been in the pizza business for more than 15 years. He has been the proprietor of Bondi’s Pizza in London, Ont., since 2000, and is president of the Canadian Pizza Team.