Appetizers and desserts.... going for average ticket increases

Overall, due to the nature of our market and our efforts to sell pizzas with a lot of toppings, we have high ticket averages.

In general, an increased ticket is the most desirable way to increase sales. There is no change in basic costs such as rent, utilities and, if you are making simple items that do not require prep, labor. Additionally, and most importantly, your transaction related costs are either unchanged or minimally changed. No additional delivery cost, CC swipe fee is paid, order taking costs tend not to increase.

We are doing a periodic menu revisit. I ran the reports for the last 250K in sales to track what is selling and what is not. We will drop a couple of slower selling combos and add a couple of new ones, drop a couple of drinks and ice cream flavors etc.

The bigger change I am going for is focused on increased ticket averages. New pizza combos do not tend to increase sales even though they do give us something to talk about in advertising and encourage repeat sales and provide differentiation. The reason they do not increase ticket averages is that they pretty much only replace other combinations that the customer would have purchased but appetizers and desserts tend to increase the ticket.

The best add-on sales for us are things we can keep in the freezer and put straight in the oven with no prep. Mozz sticks are ideal in that way. Zero waste, zero prep. Wings are not bad but we have to thaw them first and we have some waste as a result.

I made it my food rep’s problem and they have come up with some good looking ideas that we are going to move forward with: Chedder/Jalapeno Churros, pig in a blanket, bacon wrapped scallops and some desert ideas that go from freezer to oven. We are getting in samples to test whether they work with our oven settings. It is OK if they need less than a full pass or a pass an a half. We can deal with that. I am also OK with shorter margins when there is no prep and very little make.

For the most part we are lookiing at prices between $5 and $8 which go straight to the sales total as these tend not to be couponable items.

We found some really good items from Molly’s Kitchen which are stocked by our vendors.

Of all the desserts ive tried (cakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecake, fried dough)
CANNOLI- far and away the most popular, Im not sure you could get $5 per, but they have such a nice eye appeal I keep a jar of empty shells as a decoration near my POS. We sell about 140 a week. You already buy ricotta. They take 10 seconds to fill and powder one. We fill them to order. If every order, not customer added a cannoli to their order Id profit over $2300 to my bottom line every week. They also make great
‘Im sorries’


Looking for $5 per order, not necessarily per each. So if it was 2 or 3 canolli for $5 or $6 or $7 that would be fine as long as cost are line.

Please describe your whole receipe/process.


Heres cost breakdown
Cannoli shell .27
Cannoli cream .24 (2.5oz average)
Single clear hinged container 5x5x3- .10
$.61 per cannoli- I charge $2.89. I profit $2.28 each one. I was in San Diego last month and was seeing an average price of $5, they were upscale places though

First buy a quality shell Golden Cannoli is what I use, Then buy quality ricotta polly-o ny style for me.
buy these, no tips needed simply cut the tip of the bag

Use an empty spice container as a pastry bag holder for easier fillingIMG_1099.JPG

IMG_1100.jpg Use a rubber band to secure top of bag. I use scrapbook scissors to cut the tip of the bag to give the look of a pastry tip without the hassle. I use this same method for ricotta for our pizzas

IMG_1101.jpg Yesterdays order

Thanks! We do the same thing for ricotta on our pizzas and that is the same ricotta that we already have on hand.

Hey December you don’t sweeten or flavor the ricotta?

We added spicy cheddar churros to the menu. It is stocked frozen and goes directly to the oven. One full pass through the oven and pushed back for another minute or so seems about right. An order of 8 with a side of ranch. We are also offering a larger serving of 20 for people ordering for parties etc.

Also added Pig in a blanket. Classic small hot dogs wrapped in dough. Also stocked frozen and straight into the oven. About 1.5 passes is right. Also 8 in an order with a 20 piece option. Very popular with kids. Served with a large packet of ketchup.

We dropped a couple of drink flavors and added some others. Cut back to five flavors of ice cream. Added a couple of new pizza combos and dropped two others.

The new menu is printed. The items are in stock. Next steps are FB posts, emails, text blasts and employee incentives.

I built up-selling pop-ups into our ordering system. If there is an order for pizza that does not include an appetizer or dessert the system will pop up prompting the order taker to suggest those items. For online orders only the dessert popup happens. This is easy to change. I can promote any item or group of items and tie that promotion to the order requirements. For example, one future popup I plan to do is to suggest our family size salad on orders that include 2 or more pizzas.

I am also building incentives for the manager.

If average ticket increases by 5% for the 2 week pay period (over the prior year) he gets $100. If it increases by 10% he gets $200. Over the past three years in our high season our ticket average is about $39-$42 In low season it tends to be $32-34. This means he needs to produce about a $2 increase in high season to hit the first bonus and $4 to hit the second. He stands to make as much as an extra $5,000 per year if he hit the upper goal for all pay periods in a year. On my side, if we hit a $4 increase in average ticket for all orders in a year that would produce a very significant increase in sales for us.

We are also tracking the number of Salads, Wings and Appetizers ordered in comparison to the total number of orders placed. Over the last two years we have averaged about 400 units ordered for every 1000 orders placed or a 40% ratio. Our goal is to increase this to 60%. So, in a month where we might take 1500 orders and have been selling 600 units between these categories we are hoping to sell 900 units between Salads, Wings and Appetizers. In months where we hit 50% he gets $100. If we hit 60% he gets $200. (Yes, I realize that if we hit this it helps hit the first incentive too)

Since some orders include more than one appetizer or a combination of wings and dessert we have seen about 30% of all orders including one or another of the three categories. Salads are $7-$14 for single serve & family size and depending on whether then include chicken or bacon. Deserts are $4 ice cream & $7 for cinnamon bread, wings are $5-$9-$17 depending on order size, appetizers run from $6-$15. If we succeed in adding two units for every 10 orders placed (higher goal) that would add about $14 (Average of about $7.00 up-sell) for every 10 orders which would be an increase in average ticket of $1.40 per order. This alone should take care of more than half of hitting the first ave ticket goal and about 1/3 of the higher goal.

Any results yet from your push to increase average ticket?

We let our wings thaw naturally in our fridge over night when we need them and the next day they’re able to cook in our conveyor on 1.5 runs. Also, have you tried doing Garlic Knots? Extremely easy and profitable. We sell an order of 6 for $5.99 with a side of sauce. It’s just dough, garlic, baste them with butter before and after the 3/4 run in the oven then dust them with Romano once they come out. With to-go container cost included, my total cost on them is $0.38/order, no joke! Tasty as can be and we upsell an order successfully to each pizza order most of the time. Easy sell and you’re not adding anything you don’t already have in your inventory.

We have tried garlic knots, but haven’t come up w a good procedure. Would love to add them to the menu in place of our garlic bread. Could you provide the procedure of how you make them?

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Sure, 8 oz dough ball. Run it thru the sheeter once and again a second time long ways. Cut dough into two strips about 2 inches wide. We use a fork to place the garlic in the middle of the strips. Pinch the dough together almost like making a tube so the garlic is stuffed inside. Cut each strip in 3 pieces and tie like a knot. Baste them with butter and add them to a pan. Bake them for a 5 min run, toss them in a bowl (like when you toss wings with buffalo sauce)with more garlic, garlic butter, and romano cheese.