Making Dough with Diane: April-May 2014

Making the most of your space
Diane Chiasson
April 25, 2014
By
If you have been thinking about expanding your pizza operation by opening more stores, you might consider expanding your existing store instead to increase your income. Opening a second store involves looking for real estate, dealing with construction and hiring a brand new staff – in other words, a huge headache!

By physically expanding your existing operation, you have the opportunity to increase your sales and business, delve into other business opportunities and turn your pizza operation into a destination.

Here are a few suggestions on how to grow your operation in its existing space.

Add a cocktail bar
If you already have a dining area in your pizza operation, consider adding a cocktail bar to make your place a fun nightspot. Serve fun cocktails that pair well with your pizzas and other menu items. Play interesting music, host theme nights, run trivia nights and invite local bands to play at your place. Offer board games and books to keep guests entertained.

Offer lessons and demos
Build a demo kitchen with glass doors that can open and close. This way, the kitchen can serve as a setting for two activities: pizza-making demos on weekends and classes at other times. Hold scheduled demonstrations and let customers try samples afterwards. The demonstrations and classes are great ways to draw new people to your operation. Also consider offering corporate pizza-making classes for companies seeking team-building activities.

Rent your kitchen
There is now a strong demand for cooking classes and not enough venues to hold them. Instead of holding cooking classes every night of the week to recoup your money, consider renting out the space for public relations or media events, for corporate cooking classes or to caterers looking for kitchen space.

Rent your space for parties
To generate additional income, consider renting out your operation for private events. Install a good sound system, put in an area that can be used as a dance floor, and set up a “bar” area. Offer to supply the food (pizza) for their party at a discounted rate.

Offer KIDS’ birthday parties
Parents are constantly looking for new ways to celebrate their children’s birthdays, and will pay extraordinary amounts of money to avoid hosting it at their own house. If your pizza operation has the space for it, consider investing in a bouncy castle that you can pull out and inflate for children’s parties. Offer a party package that includes kids making their own pizzas, a cake and loot bags. Get connected with children’s entertainers like clowns or magicians that you can call in. Offer packages at various price points. This is also good marketing for your pizza operation, as parents of the guests who may not know about you yet will have to visit your operation to drop off or pick up their children. Be sure to include a coupon to visit your business again in each loot bag.

Work with local restaurants/caterers
Get in touch with local restaurants or catering companies to see if they would like to use you as an outside vendor to supply their pizza dough or tomato sauce. Many restaurants and caterers offer pizza on their menus, but do not have the time or resources to make their own dough or sauce. This is also a good way to get your products out to the public. Do cross-advertising and promotions at both places to double your exposure. If caterers are not interested in working with you directly, consider asking them to refer you to their clients and offer them a small percentage in return.

As you can see, there are countless options for physically expanding your existing operation. These options can help increase your sales, open up other business opportunities and make your pizzeria a destination. 


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 revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. 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 www.chiassonconsultants.com.

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