Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Six quick ideas to get ready for spring: Making Dough with Diane


For businesses with dining rooms, extra time will be required to clean and sanitize. Determine how much time is needed to do this work and make sure you have the materials and personnel to do it. Photo credit: © interiorphoto / Adobe Stock

Winter is almost over. Soon enough, your customers will shrug off that winter coat, pop out into the sunlight and take a relaxed walk to their nearest pizzeria. It’s the perfect time right now to start thinking and planning to freshen up your restaurant for springtime. Here are six quick ideas to get you ready for the season. 

1. Always maintain a professional appearance
How you organize, decorate and freshen up your pizzeria store for the spring season will significantly influence your customers’ buying habits. If you want to run a successful pizzeria that keeps customers returning for more, make sure to always maintain a professional appearance. Who wants to buy at a business where everything is upside down? Make sure that your storefront is extremely clean, uncluttered, and highly welcoming to all shoppers. Your pizzeria will initially be judged on how it appears. 

Is it also clean inside? Would your customers trust the food served at a visibly dirty restaurant? Projecting a super-clean image to your customers is critical to your pizzeria’s continued success. Does it smell bad or look bad? Are your products prominently displayed in a well-lit case with bags or boxes for carry-out? Do you see signs of wear and tear? These are all things that your customers will immediately notice. At the very minimum, you should deep clean your entire business, from your kitchen to your service area. Your pizzeria’s interior should encourage the upsell with lights and stylish decorations.

2. Be consistent
As you know, the key to success for any pizzeria operation is making the most unique and delicious pizzas around. You already know that great products will only sell themselves, but only once customers know about them. You need to have a recognizable brand. We all know that branding is more than just a logo. A brand covers all aspects of a pizzeria business, that is, style of pizzeria operation, style of your pizzas, packaging, stationery, website, social media, etc. Branding can cover a lot, but there are two main factors when running your business — a recognizable logo and a beautiful colour palette.

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Your logo should appear on every bag, box, sticker, badge, loyalty card, gift card, ads, and napkin or on an apron, hat/cap, scarf, shirt, jacket, uniform that’s worn by you and your staff members. Being online is an excellent way to interact with your customers, make sure that you have a consistent logo on your website, blog, videos, and on your social media platforms. You should always order these items in a colour that matches your pizzeria colour scheme. The key is to have a cohesive and recognizable image throughout your pizzeria operation.

Your pizzeria menu, along with your restaurant’s interior design, are what communicates your brand to customers. You need to make sure your menu’s visual aspect corresponds to your pizzeria’s image and the kind of dining experience you want your customers to have.

3. Refresh, update and simplify your menu
Updating your menu is a must for your spring preparation. Your menu should represent the spirit of your pizzeria, stand out from the competition and grow your business. Do you have some data to help you analyze your past sales? Hopefully, your point-of-sale system will allow you to quickly pull some sales reports. Data is the best way to quantify your menu’s effectiveness, measure results and increase profits. The way you price your menu items should account for the cost of goods sold, labour and overhead expenses, and you should still be turning a profit with each sale. 

Suppose you have a very good understanding of your menu item’s profitability. In that case, your next step is to create a spreadsheet to categorize each menu item based on its sales volume, popularity and profitability. Take a hard look at your food cost on each item and determine its profitability. You should really understand which menu items are the most important for your pizzeria’s financial success.

Many places have slimmed down and improved their menus for delivery and takeout. It’s the right time to take a good look at your menu items, take out the weak products and keep only your customers’ all-time favourites. 

Draw attention to the high-profit items on your menu with colourful photos and signage. You should bundle products in a way that will increase your price per customer and overall margins. 

4. Make a plan for the spring holidays
As you know, Mother’s Day is one of the restaurant business’s most popular and busiest days. You’ll want to plan way ahead for your Mother’s Day promotions to avoid additional stress. 

Why not start thinking and working during February on your unique “Show mom love this Mother’s Day” menu, or even on a Mother’s Day brunch to-go menu and promotional schedules. You will probably have most of the ingredients on hand from your pizza toppings to prepare a beautiful antipasto plate for the entire family with grilled vegetables, olives, cured meats and cheeses. You could put together a unique and complete delivery package with an antipasto plate, pizzas, desserts, beverages, and a little something extra such as a mini birthday card, flower, candy or other small treat.

5. Keep your staff enthusiastic and happy
Your staff members should be in the spring mood 24/7. This is perhaps the most important “‘ingredient” of running a successful pizzeria – keeping all employees happy. Ensure each customer is greeted by smiling staff: it will make your customers feel good and encourage them to return. 

6. Get social media savvy
Your pizzeria’s branding and marketing will not be complete if you are not active on the internet. Being online is always an excellent way to interact with your customers. Make sure that you create a responsive web design for your customers with portable devices. Another way to get customers’ attention is with a strong social media presence. You only need professional-quality photos and videos of your pizzeria products and consider posting them on Facebook and Instagram. Use social media platforms to promote your pizzeria restaurant, take orders, do networking, and get customer feedback. Entertain and captivate your customers with fun stories and share lots of ideas and images. | CP


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative, revenue-increasing marketing strategies. Contact her at 416-926-1338 or chiasson@chiassonconsultants.com, or visit chiassonconsultants.com.