I was just reading through the recent thread about Little Caesar’s and how they mostly cater to the “bottom feeders” those who are more concerned about price. It got me thinking about the times when people call my store and the first question out of their mouth is “What’s your cheapest Pizza?” Now I know they’re probably first time callers and I know I should try to make a good impression but the first thing that comes to my mind when I’m asked this question is all the hard work and effort I and my co workers go through to bring our customers a quality product at a reasonable price.
My response to these people is along the lines of, “If you’re main criteria for purchasing a pizza is based on price, we’re probably not going to be the right pizza place for you. I would, however be happy to recommend a few places that might better fit your needs and budget.”
If someone asks me that question I will probably say it an 8" Cheese pizza $5.00
I think what people are looking for is a starting point.
Kinda like a Auto Purchase Negotiation. Since everyone of us has a different price, the customer is just looking for some kind of baseline.
I get allot of people saying oh my god your pizza’s are so expensive, and I say yes you will pay full price for the first pizza, but I will only charge you half-price on the second pizza, and about 80% of the time they buy the 2nd pizza, without thinking about the first one at full-price. They average them out. 1st pizza $23. 2nd pizza $11.50 Cha-Ching!!!
Hello Robo, I definitely feel your pain…lol Butt-when a potential customer asks ‘whats the cheapest pie you have?’ Just simply tell them about one of your specials or just tell them the price of your small plain pie.This just may be the customer that comes back every other night and tells some friends.
In a similar vein we are often asked, whats your specials? Our stock response now is “How many people are you trying to feed tonight?” That way I limit it to the specials that they might actually be able to use. Why quote a 3 pizza deal for only 2 people eating. Why quote the dinner for 2 meal when you have to feed 14, does that make sense.
But I know how you feel. I have often wondered if they even cared what they eat as long as they get “a deal”. I WILL on my last day at the store quote the $2.99 large fecal pizza. And I bet I will get a person or two say “OK thats great give me 5 of those, cause you did not mention a limit so I can get as many as I want at that price according to state law!” I will laugh and hang up!
I personally would start by trying everything I could to first identify what the customer’s needs are and then meet them. Your scenario makes the assumption of price shopping and would leave me feeling snubbed . . . then I tell two friends and they tell two friends, and so on.
Had a guy last night try us out for the first time. He spent 2.68 for a 7" pita pizza and glass of water. We treated him like a regular customer, including a big welcome and a free individual dessert. He took a couple menus and a big smile with him when he left. I lost money on the $$$ transaction, but the value in marketing and community relationship I cannot even begin to measure.
I guess I am saying that if the primary goal is to have a respectful and human connection with every person contacting your business, then you will gain something with every call. You will build the elusive foundation of “word of mouth” that we all seek so vehemently. You make that price shopping customer feel cared about and valued, and they may convert to your shop just out of personal loyalty . . . THAT is value you cannot measure.
[list]“We finally scraped together that downpayment and bought our 1st home! Man, we’re on a tight budget now but I’ve been told by my new neighbors that your pizza is the best around and that I should really, really give it a try. What’s your cheapest Pizza?”We just had our 1st (2nd, 3rd, etc…) baby! My wife is gonna take some time off work and man are diapers ever expensive, so we’re on a tight budget now but I’ve been told your pizza is the best around and the nurses in the maternity ward said I should really, really give it a try. What’s your cheapest Pizza?"I just proposed to my girlfriend! Man, it took me forever to scrape together the money to get her that ring and now I’ve got to save for the honeymoon. I’m on a tight budget now but I was told by the jeweler that your pizza is the best around and that I should really, really give it a try. What’s your cheapest Pizza?"Etc, etc… do I really need to go on?[/list]
Robo, I’m in the same position as you. I really don’t have any cheap pizzas. Actually, I’m the most expensive in town.
But I would still take a different approach than you’re taking. I think maybe only 10% of people are “bottom feeders”. I think most people are looking for a good value, which I feel that we provide.
I would say something along the lines of “Our best values are our specialty pizzas; they’re offered at a discount from building them topping by topping… would you like me to tell you about them?”
I think you’re cutting them loose before you get enough information. They may try you and decide “wow, they’re worth the higher price!” The object is to get them into a pizza tonight! If you give them your prices and they decide not to order, then so be it… But at least you gave it a shot.
I think our goal as indies is to de-commodotize the market. We need to make pizza a great meal again, not just a cheap filler. We need to undo what the chains have done to the market over the past 15 years or so. Having that customer on the line is the first step toward that goal.
“You never get a second chance at a first impression”. There is no excuse for being rude to any customer, I would hope that none of your employees would be allowed to exercise such behavior to any of your regulars, and you NEVER know who could become a regular if you just start the relationship off on the right foot. I think you should take the advice of a few others on here about just answering the question honestly, a small cheese pizza is …, and go from there. Ask them questions, “how many are you looking to feed?” “what kind of toppings were you looking for?” Get them talking, and be excited about what you have to offer, no matter the price. Some of the most financially “well off” customers are those that are always looking for the “best deal” that’s how they got to be in their position. Even if they are looking for a $5 pizza, they may be interested in buying ten of them at a time!
Thank you guys so much for your advice and constructive criticism.
It was never my intention to be rude to customers. I just felt that if you preface something by price, then you’re missing out on the value. There are so many pizza places that sell a crappy “filler” pizza for dirt cheap. We’re not one of those places.
That said, I have already taken a different approach when someone asks me what our cheapest pizza is. I say our small cheese pizza starts out at $9.00 and it goes up from there. If I’m pressed further I say we have a thirty year reputation for having a great quality product at a reasonable price. I’ll offer our current specials. Tell them that their pizzas are going to be really great and give them an opportunity to try us.
We had one person in particular that said he found us in the phone book, he wanted to know how we compared to one of his favorite major chains.
We sent him out one of our 16" all meat combos and a dozen garlic rolls. He called back about forty minutes later to say his pizza was out of this world! That made me feel great!
I anticipated the same kind of thing, whether they ask or not.
I purposefully have a 8" cheese pizza for $3.39, my cost of goods around
Subway has an 8" pizza for $3.99, really a poor looking and tasting pizza.
…eventhough my margins are good on the 8" pizza, it is a far less $ contribution to the store than if they orderd the 20" pizza, which is more than 6 times(314 sq. in. vs 50 sq. in.) for $16.99…more $ contribution, better value for them…or if they are by themselves, it is like a “no-brainer, get the 8” pizza…
toppings on my 8" pizza are $.40 and $.60, sorta pricey so I make up some there…I think, as I am reopening for the season on September 20th, they may end up ordering our 14" pizza for $8.99 since it is 3 times larger…
I got the square inches and everything on my menu so they can see…
in addition, I let them know our dough is mixed on site, hand tossed,
the sauce is made from fresh packed crushed tomatoes, and that we use 100% real cheese, not that “pizza cheese”
…so all things being the same and they go elsewhere, I assume they are a darn good reason to do so and I do not feel jilted
hope that helps,
How many are you looking to feed and do you have any kids?
Then I ask if they were looking for multiple items or just a pizza.
Then I will quote a bundle…say like.
16" two topping with an order of breadstix and a 2 liter for say $19.99.
Now you just fed 4 hungry people for 20 bucks…can’t do that at Micky D’s… and they see the value.
Then you won’t get into a price war.
Put the ball in their court so you won’t quote something they are not looking for. And if you just say well I have a 14" cheese for 5.99 but you have to pick it up I feel you did them a disservice…because even though they started with price they probably already have the toppings in mind and are hoping you have that pizza cheap…just a cheese now will not cut it and you might lose them. Get them talking…they will give in.
Here’s how we anwser…
Jimmy’s Pizza how may I help you?
Customer : Yes what are your specials this evening.
Me : I have lot’s of specials going on… first…how many are you looking to feed?
And then the customer will tell you and you can fit them in something…they are looking for direction with the assumption now that you are looking out for their pocketbook and they can still feed all the mouths looking at them while they are ordering
I think it is easy to loose sight of what we are doing on the phone. If a customer is price shopping so what? Every call is a chance to get a new customer. I am the most expensive pizza shop in town. I am unapologetic for that. My pizza is worth the price I ask. I make the only hand tossed pizza in town and I am also the only one in town who delivers all over town. (Second biggest town in Mass.) Like otherws have said, qualify the customer by asking a few questions. THe customer may be looking to feed a little league team. 20 of your cheepest pizzas beats the heck out of 1 of your specialty pies.
i would say these are my prices if this your first time trying our pizza i ll be glad to take a couple of dollars off your purchase just so you can try our pizza because once you try it you ll understand that we are different in quality from the other guys
many people that are on budget would still like to get a high quality pizza regardless of the price but they have to try it first