Business and Operations
Six ways to keep your pizzeria sailing this winter: Making Dough with Diane
By Diane Chiasson
Winter is one of my favourite times of the year! It means warm, fuzzy sweaters, chilly evenings and the aromas of comforting foods. I love the smell coming from pizzerias – it’s a treat like no other. As people are extremely busy during the holiday season, you will experience more orders. Here are six ways to get ready for customers’ winter and holiday favourites.
1. Look professional
If you want to run a successful pizzeria that keeps customers returning for more, make sure you maintain a professional appearance. Who wants to go to a pizza place where everything is disorganized? Make sure your storefront is super clean, uncluttered and highly welcoming to all holiday shoppers. Your pizzeria will initially be judged on how it appears: Is it also clean inside? Does it smell bad or look bad? Are your pizzeria products prominently displayed in a well-lit case with bags or boxes for carry-out? Are there visible signs of wear and tear? These are all things that your customers will immediately notice. Your pizzeria’s interiors should encourage the upsell with lights, decorations and music.
2. Cleanliness is a must
When the weather gets colder, germs spread quicker, and you really want to start this new season off – most particularly during this pandemic – in perfect shape. Your team catchphrase should now be “holiday cleaning” and you should spruce things up around your pizzeria right now! Give your kitchen a thorough scrubbing, clean out all of your refrigerators and freezers, and make sure your seating area and restrooms are sparkling. Don’t forget to clean your front door, counters, shelves, tables and chairs.
Don’t forget that the cleanliness of your pizzeria is a direct reflection of your business and you. You certainly don’t want guests walking in to see dust and dirt. Recent research showed that restaurant cleanliness was a more critical factor to patrons than customer service. Keep it clean!
3. Sanitization and health code
You need to do your part to keep your staff, customers and the public safe and healthy. Here are some tips to help prevent the spread of germs:
- Provide ways to properly clean hands, by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Provide cashiers, drive-through operators, delivery staff and other customer-facing staff with hand sanitizer for their use only.
- Have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the workplace and after contact with surfaces others have touched.
- Include handwashing before breaks and at shift changes.
- Provide a safe place for customers to dispose of used sanitizing wipes and personal protective equipment.
- Clean washroom facilities.
- Sanitize frequently and commonly touched surfaces or areas such as entrances, counters, shelving units, kitchens, tables, chairs and washrooms.
- Sanitize shared equipment (where sharing of equipment cannot be avoided).
- Post hygiene instructions in English or French and the majority workplace language so everyone can understand how to do their part.
- Introduce more fresh air by increasing the ventilation system’s air intake or opening doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible.
- Minimize physical contact with customers.
- Maintain a safe distance while handing goods and taking payment, minimize or eliminate handling of cash and eliminate at-the-door payment methods.
- Assign staff to ensure customers are maintaining safe physical distances in congested areas like entrances/exits and check-outs.
- Add floor markings and barriers to manage traffic flow and physical distancing.
- Do not accept reusable bags or containers that are to be handled by your staff.
- Install barriers between cashiers and customers: this can include plexiglass or markings on the floor to ensure at least two metres between customer and cashier.
- Stagger start times, shifts, breaks, and lunch times.
- Restrict the number of people on site and where they work.
- Control site movement (by limiting the potential for workers to gather).
- Limit the number of people working in one space at the same time.
- Minimize the number of people using each piece of equipment in instances where sharing equipment cannot be avoided.
- Hold meetings in an outside or large space.
- Limit unnecessary onsite interaction among workers, and between workers and outside service providers.
4. Your branding should be consistent
As you know, the key to success for any pizza operation is making the most delicious pizzas around. You already know your great pizzas will sell themselves but only once customers know about them. Even if you own a small pizzeria, you need to have a recognizable brand. Branding is more than just a logo. A brand covers all aspects of a pizzeria business: type of pizzeria, style of your pizzas, packaging, stationery, social media, etc. Branding can cover a lot, but there are two main must-have elements when running your business: a recognizable logo and beautiful colour palette. Your logo should appear on every bag, box, sticker, badge, loyalty card, gift card, ad, napkin or item of clothing worn by you and your staff.
Being online is an excellent way to interact with your customers. Make sure you have a consistent logo on your website, blog, videos and your social media platforms. 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 operation.
5. Train your staff
When you think your staff members have been trained enough, keep going. If they lose some precious minutes or prepare the wrong order, it could equate to a huge loss in revenue and also in reputation. If you have recently hired some new employees, you will want to properly train them before they hide behind your pizzeria cases. Make sure that your new employees can wear multiple hats and are educated about the important elements of your pizzeria.
Your staff should know everything about every menu item you sell (including seasonal items), your operation and your customer service standards. Even your experienced staff members may need a refresher course. Offer ongoing training sessions to help your staff stay sharp, motivated, and become better customer service representatives.
6. Get social media savvy
Your pizzeria’s branding and marketing will not be complete if you are not active on the internet. Make sure you create a responsive, mobile-friendly web design for your customers that use portable devices.
Another way to get customers’ attention is with a strong social media presence. You need professional-quality photos and videos of your pizzeria and products, and consider posting them on Facebook and Instagram. Use social media platforms to promote your pizzeria, take orders, do networking and get customer feedback. Entertain and captivate your customers with fun stories, and share lots of ideas and images.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit chiassonconsultants.com.