Making dough with Diane: 8 tips to revamp your restaurant

Diane Chiasson
April 05, 2011
Spring is here, which usually brings to mind one thing: spring cleaning! It’s important not only to physically clean up your pizza operation, but to also clean up other areas of your business, including your marketing, advertising, promotional and website materials.

Back and front of house
Now is the perfect time to clean your operation from top to bottom. Wash behind the hot line to get rid of grease buildup. Clean out your freezers, and empty and sanitize the ice machine. Sharpen the meat and cheese slicer, change any pest traps, and restock your first aid kit. Scrape out any burned pieces of crust and cheese from your oven. Clean the pilot lights on gas kitchen equipment. Call someone to clean your hoods. Wash all the walls and ceilings.

Move everything out of your pantry and dust off all those big cans of tomato sauce. Wipe down the dry storage area and throw out any products that may have expired. Get rid of all your clutter. A clean kitchen will feel like a new kitchen.

In the front of house, wipe down all your menu boards, scrape all the gum and other dirt off your tables, chairs and floors, clean your windows, dust your display units, and ensure that all your promotional materials are up to date.

Make sure that your patio is in good condition. This might mean touching up the paint on your fence, cleaning all your tables and chairs, and scraping up any pieces of gum or other dirt on the sidewalk. You also might want to consider sprucing up your outdoor area by planting some flowers.

Don’t forget to hose off all the salt and dirt collected on your outside signage so that your pizza operation stands out shiny and clean on your block. You might even end up attracting new customers!

Walk through your entire operation. Check for any bulbs that have burned out. Get on a ladder and wipe down all your lighting fixtures. Consider taking this opportunity to switch to environmentally friendly bulbs, or look into how you can reduce energy costs in your operation by turning off appliances that you don’t use on a regular basis. Install an automated light switch in your washrooms so that the lights only go on when the washrooms are in use. Calibrate the temperatures in your refrigerated units and ovens.

Be sure to check your fire suppression system and all your fire extinguishers.

Don’t waste time and money by sending e-mail or direct marketing to customers who don’t exist anymore. Delete all the contacts with e-mail addresses that are undeliverable, or mail that gets returned. Clean out your inbox. Make sure that you have replied to all your customers and filed their information. Add any new contacts that you have collected.

Just like a house, your website needs a thorough cleaning at least once a year. Ensure that there are no old promotions or menu items displayed, and that all prices are correct.

While you’re at it, update your content. This will also help with search engine optimization. After you have completed your website maintenance, track the results of your efforts. Check to see whether or not you have had an increase in visitors. If not, you will need to consider stepping up your efforts.

Work with your team
You won’t be able to achieve all the goals in your spring cleaning campaign without the help of your staff. Cleaning out a restaurant is hard work and a lot of labour is involved, so try to make it as fun as possible. Consider bringing in your whole team on a day when your restaurant is closed to the public. Crank up the tunes and order in some good food. This would also be a good time to do some team building and allow the staff members to get to know one another on a more casual basis. Make sure you reward your team for its efforts.

Include customers
Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning, encourage your customers to get started on their own. Offer a special spring cleaning pizza party promotion built around the idea that your customers can make it a fun time, invite their friends and family to lend a hand, and at the end of the day, hold a pizza party to celebrate a job well done.

Clean for charity
Another way to encourage your customers to do their spring cleaning is to have them donate their old clothes, electronics, and other working and usable items, to charity. Collect the donations at your pizzeria, and offer a free soft drink or slice of pie to people who bring items in.

Use these tips to help get a fresh start on summer and give your business a boost.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 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 .

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