Canadian Pizza Magazine

Pizza on Fire: June 2015

By Tom Stankiewicz   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Winning ways

Lately I’ve been approached and informed that my business has won an award by a few companies that are very popular on social media. For a small fee, they tell me, this information could be made public and I could proudly display my achievement. Indeed, one of them has a website that is visited by millions of people searching for information.

This exchange prompted me to do some research and get a better understanding of different business awards available to small pizza business owners.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that winning a business award in any category has many advantages. The extra publicity should offer a significant increase in your business visibility. It lets you stand out from your competition. It shows that your business strategy is effective and consequently rewarded by your peers. But for each of us the question remains: which award would best represent the essence of my business?

There are two main ways to win an award. First, you could decide to simply enter a competition yourself. In this case, specific rules would have to be followed and they would be equally applicable to each contestant. This typically is a lengthy process that requires time to prepare as well as present, in our case, a tasty pizza to the judges.


On the other hand, your business could be added to a voting list from which the best in each category is selected by large group of people. This is normally used to show, for example, top 10 pizzerias in your city. It’s often utilized to demonstrate good customer service and product quality across different categories. Very often, you will find out about this only if you make it to the top 10 list.          

Ask yourself what type of award would benefit your business the most. You should give serious consideration to what value a specific award would bring to your business. By the time you’re ready to submit your application, you should know what your strengths are in comparison to your competitors’. For example, if your customers rave about your outstanding traditional pizza recipes, that should be the category you concentrate on. Winning an award for something your customers already appreciate would have a greater positive impact on your business.   

Some fellow pizzaiolos who have participated in various competitions say that next time, knowing what they now know, they would be more likely to enter in a category they are more familiar with in the future. While there is nothing wrong with trying something new, competing in a category you know very well will help you avoid making basic mistakes because you’ll already have had a chance to eliminate them over time. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Another reason to carefully choose each competition is the cost that is involved. It is important to be aware and keep track of the travel costs and entry fees. If after a while the business doesn’t see the benefits of competing and winning, then your strategy must be reviewed. Ideally, this additional publicity should cause your sales to increase and generate extra profit.

To minimize costs, however, it might make more sense to concentrate on competing in local competitions. Is the extra expense worth the time and travel costs? It could be more beneficial to focus on what’s available locally.     

Social media plays an important part in today’s business advertising. If you accept an award that was given to you by a virtual company, aside from the cost, it is important to understand how this information will be advertised. You must ask the presenter how long your business name will be posted on their website. The nice thing about these awards is that, if this information could be linked to your business website and Facebook, it is automatically displayed to all of your customers.

If it is a monthly rather than annual award, then it is a good idea to review its cost. There is a good chance many of your customers won’t see it in such a short time frame. A plaque that could be displayed at the pizzeria would allow you to advertise it for a much longer time. It’s also good to find out how visible the website offering the awards is. Chances are that if you’re pretty Internet savvy and you’ve never heard of it, many customers will not know about it either.     

Your business has the potential to win many awards.

However, it is wise to remember that winning is not everything unless it lets your business grow.

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.

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