Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features In the Kitchen Ingredients
Pizza on Fire: September 2009

Creating signature sellers


September 23, 2009
By Tom Stankiewicz

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Picture this scenario: After a long and hard day at work, you can’t
wait to get home for a good home-cooked meal. You have plenty of
chances to stop at various fast food restaurants along the way. You are
hungry as a wolf but you decide to wait until you get home because you
know it is worth waiting another half an hour for what is at the dinner
table.

Picture this scenario: After a long and hard day at work, you can’t wait to get home for a good home-cooked meal. You have plenty of chances to stop at various fast food restaurants along the way. You are hungry as a wolf but you decide to wait until you get home because you know it is worth waiting another half an hour for what is at the dinner table. The half an hour seems like forever but you finally arrive home and are greeted by the most wonderful aroma of your favourite dish. When you make up your mind about eating something specific, you are able to forget about every other food out there. You will do whatever is necessary to have at least one bite of it. 

The above scenario is also applicable to an item at a specific restaurant. When restaurants are creating their signature dish, they are counting on this type of mentality to get you to come in. They want you to think of it as often as you can because that means increased profit for their business. It is important to have a signature item because that allows you to differentiate yourself from other businesses that are out there. You need to give your clients a reason to come in to your store over somewhere else. You have to make it worth their while because their time is valuable and can’t be wasted. If there are three pizzerias offering the exact same food, for the sake of saving time I would simply pick the one closest to my house. As a business owner, this is exactly what you want to avoid.

For example, there is a restaurant in my city that is famous for their Caesar salad. What could be so special about a Caesar salad? Many restaurants offer it. In this particular case, they add something to the salad dressing that keeps clients coming back for more. Your signature item does not have to be complicated but it does have to taste good. Very often, your signature item does not generate major sales for your business but rather helps to sell whatever else you offer. 

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More often than not, a signature dish is something that has a unique taste and your restaurant is known for it. Customers know that they can only buy it at your restaurant.  You want people to have the same craving for your dish as you had for that favourite item waiting at home for you. Once you get them hooked, you know you pretty much have a customer for life. More importantly, they will bring other customers along with them and expand your customer base. Who doesn’t love advertising for free? It’s good for business too, because you know that no one will come in and buy, for example, just a salad.  Customers are ordering full meals even if they are only thinking of that one special dish. That translates into sales for you. It’s not just a salad for $6.99. It’s a full meal for $45.99. An easy way to capitalize on this is to include your signature dish in every advertising campaign for your business. Let people know that this is the number one selling dish at your pizzeria and your clients can’t seem to get enough of it. Create an advertisement that will get them curious enough to give it a try next time they place an order.

There are various ways to create a signature item. Some of us put a lot of thought into it, spending time creating a recipe and unique design. This could be a lengthy process that would involve improvements along the way. You might have to change some ingredients or adjust their quantity. The final product would definitely take more than one day to create. For others, the signature item kind of creates itself. One day you realize that most of your customers are always including one specific item with the whole meal. For example, most of them ask to add your special blend of spices to your regular Hawaiian pizza. This is an opportunity to take it one step further and advertise it as a signature item. Your customers are already telling you that those two items work great together. In any case, most likely you will have people tell you how delicious and tasty it is. You should also notice that the sales of that particular item are very high in comparison to other foods you offer. 

As you become older you become more certain of what you like to eat and what your favourite taste are. For some, it is a steak that you can’t imagine surviving without while for others it might be apples. Whatever the food, you know it’s something that you have to have almost every day to satisfy your cravings. Usually it has to do with a certain way that the food is prepared to give it a unique flavour. At the end of the day, that is exactly what food businesses are counting on and going after. They want you to try their dish and start craving it, which will ensure that you will be coming back again and again.


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