"Beat The Clock" Deal

I read about someone doing this special somewhere and can find it. Have any of you done this?

It’s called “Beat The Clock” Customer gets a 14" 1-Topping pizza at the price of the time that they order. Order at 4:05 -Pay $4.05.

We have had some very slow Mondays and Tuesdays so, I was thinking about doing it for one week on Mon & Tues. we are open from 4-9 both those nights.

If you have done this what kind of response did you get?

Should there be a limit to 1 pizza or max of 3, or something like that?

Any other thoughts on this idea?

I did something similar once. The time on the clock is your dollar amount “off” the price of a large or extra large. So, at 8:05 pm they received $8.05 off their large or xl. (we have higher prices than most of you). This was done on slow nights and the idea was to bring in some sales as the night trailed off.

It was only advertised as a box topper and never really brought a response after about a month of promoting it. Coupons never hit big with us anyway and I suspect most people just didn’t understand this offer either.

I did this deal a few years back. It is a great thing to do to get your name out in the community. It creates a buzz and gets your product in thier mouth. There are downfalls to this idea, One is they all call at 4pm and want to pre order for later at the 4pm price. Most do not add toppingsi (i used an xl 18" plain hoping to gain the cost back in topping profit). Customers try and order 4, 5, 6 of them and expect the same price. my policy was the first one is what ever time it was. the next ones are full price. The customer also tried the I want to order one for my neighbor and thier neighbor and thier neighbors neighbor, you get the point. Just be aware of how they woudl scam you, be careful and make sure your RIO is awesome otherwise I would drop it.

I’ve been thinking about doing this pretty soon on 12" pizzas so we can build our customer data base faster when the new POS gets installed. I was going to start at 4:00 pm and anything before 5:00 would be $5, anything before 6:00 would be $6 and so on.

I like the idea of the price being specific to the minute though. What if you made it a carry out only deal and the price be the time they actually pick up the pizzas (also eliminating credit card orders over the phone that have a higher cost per transaction than swipes)?

Also, I don’t think I will do a strict limit (maybe stop at 5 pizzas per order). Putting 5 pizzas in the oven instead of 1 does not really seem to take that much more time.

MY thoughts exactly - your always going to get someone who is going to argue over the time - waht about the guy who calls at 5.59 then it goes to 6.00 - ots a bit of a mine field unless your POS has the exact time on the screen at some point and you put it in your terms and conditions. Buy I do agree with 5.00, 6.00, 7.00 etc good idea.

As an aside I would never take credit cards over the phone for a carry out deal - if they have a card they bring it down to the shop - sure fire way to get stiffed with a ‘I never used my card’.

As far as no restricting your limits, the name of the game is to get one pizza out and get your name out. This day in age you need to be worried about your bottom line and not satifying a customers demand of less expensive pizzas. If you provide a great product, great customer service, and fair pricing you will have them in your pos for life. We are all here in the end to make a living, if doing this for enjoyment alone was the reason, why do we collect money for the product? I have done this deal and it will burn you if you dont watch yourself.

I dont understand the nickle and diming of credit card transactions when you wont give a limit of the amount of pizzas going out, seems foolish to tell a customer your credit card cost me to much, give me cash. That may hurt you in the end because you may give the wrong idea that you will not take credit cards.

As far as pricing and limits once again, when you discount you pizza so low, you will see that it will not hold its value, when the whopper is 99cents, the sales of that burger take at least 4 o 5 months to make it back to the numbers they were pulling before the sale. GROSS MARGIN is crucial, dont give away your business, use it as a tool not a way of business. make add ons toppings, sides, beverages, desserts wings anything to grow your profit while you have them in the store. PICK UP only, you dont want a driver wasting time on a $4 pizza, they will not make a tip and you will loose money in labor for a $4 pizza.

A place in Seattle called Pizza Ragazzi used to offer this exact deal during the day on (I think) Tuesdays, it was always popular but they stopped the deal around the time that flour and cheese prices started to go up. Ragazzi is sort of a weird place, they are known for having awful pizza, but they deliver till 4am and will deliver just about anywhere in city limits so they have a certain popularity with the college set and habitual drunks. It’s not the way I’d choose to do business, but they seem to be doing well enough so whatever works I suppose.

Then rather making it exact time, then why not do this by the hour?

If you call in the 5 o’clock hour, you get a $5.00 pizza or $5.00 off, whichever way you work the promo…same for 6 7 8 9, etc.

Then stipulate one pizza per customer per day it’s offered (others full price and not to be combined with coupons), not valid on plan ahead orders (which would be a moot point if you are doing the pizza for the time price rather than a discount per hour).

ETA: Also, make sure there’s a stipulation of what size of pizza.

$4 pizza? Are you nuts?

$4 off maybe but not $4 pizza.

Dough 50 cents
Sauce 40 cents
Cheese 1.00
Box 35 cents

Cost $2.25


Heck, you are not even covering youor variable costs let along fixed costs. No thanks!

one of my busiest weeks of the year was spent giving away FREE small pizza’s - if its a promotion (like he said) then sometimes a loss leader can be very good - just upsell on the other stuff.

My goal is not to be “busy”. I don’t have any doubt at all that it is possble to be busy while loosing money. I need an average ticket around $15 as a bare minimum and I don’t see getting there adding salads to $4 pizza.

Selling pizza for $4 devalues the product. I am better off giving the pizza away for free at targeted events where my target customer is present. I can do it with no incremental labor cost and I get great local promo value out of it. Attracting cheapskate customers with deep discounts does me no good in the long run.

Aren’t you in a resort town that relies mostly on tourists for your customer base? I think your situation is not one where you would want to do something like this, but it could work for a lot of other shops. For me, I need to have people remember my little shop when they want pizza and not just call the chains because they’re easier to remember. If I can make a couple extra bucks on a slow day while also getting people in the habit of calling me for pizzas, then I’m all for it. I’m paying for the labor and overhead whether I get those customers or not.

To me, every pizza I sell is not purely about profit margins.

How about 4$ for the 2nd pizza

If you’re planning on doing this as a “one-time” deal - like for an anniversary or a customer appreciation day or just to generate some publicity - then I think the classic ‘order a pizza at 4:05 for $4.05’ would work out just fine. Just set the starting time and pizza size at a break even point (food + expected labor). Make it for carry out only.

Don’t set limits and make it as outrageous as possible. Try to say “yes” to all the things that would normally bring cries of “scammers!” For example, you would actually welcome people to call in the afternoon and place their order for “4 pizzas at the $4.00 price… and I’ll be there to pick them up at 6:45.” That will give you an opportunity to prepare orders ahead of time and just cook them before they arrive. Remind those customers to “tell all their friends and coworkers!” I could see something like that snowballing into a frenzy… if that’s what you are looking for.

If you’re wanting an ongoing promotion for say Monday and Tuesday nights, you could set it up as “order a pizza before X o’clock and get it for the special price of $Y.” Set a price you can live with and reward customers for planning ahead. Make some box toppers, mention it in all your marketing materials, and hammer away with it month-after-month and year-after-year. Become known as “the place in town to get pizza on Monday/Tuesday night.” Perhaps you could turn an otherwise slow night into one that makes other shops jealous?

We did this for a number of months a few years back and it was a hit. We started at 4pm and went till 8pm every Monday for 2 months. The rules were it was for a 12" it cost whatever time it was ordered for so if you called at 4:10 but wanted it for 5:25 it cost 5:25. There was a max of 3 pizzas and a max of 2 topping, each additional topping was 1.00. Back then we didnt have a POS but w did have call display and it was max 3 pizzas per phone number even if they wanted to order for “someone else” we told them that person had to call in. We also did it for pick up only no delivery unless they wanted to pay full price. The best part was after the special was over People would call us up on Mondays and order and when we told them the regular price they would ask what happened to the special and we told them it was for a limited time only and was now over, by that time they had decided that they were going to have pizza for supper so it was to late to decide to do something else and thay would still take it. It kept our Mondays busy for about another 3-4 weeks after the promotion.

I could see doing it with military time. 4PM is 16.00

But seriously, this thread has given me an idea for a promotion I would call “double time” where the price for a 16" pizza is double the time on the clock. That would work for me if we started at 5PM on a slow day in the off season and could add toppings at the regular price. I think I would not mess with the minutes though, and just do whole hours or half hours.

After reading this thread and everyone’s opinions I think that a big hit would be something like this:
Call in for any pizza after 4pm Mondays and Tuesdays. Get $4.00 off each pizza!
Call it the $4 off after 4 offer!

I like these ideas, notes taken, and the 4 after 4 sounds like a GREAT idea!


Yeah, I wrote about that in one of my posts a couple years ago. “Beat The Clock” was a promotion we ran back in my old Domino’s days in the late 80’s-early 90’s.

It was a great special that usually worked well with the younger demographic (i.e. college students, military guys) as long as they were close to the store. I’ve found that the further out the fliers were distributed, the lower the return percentage. Unfortunately, I can’t back that last statement with facts; only recollection.

A couple things to remember about any aggressive special like this:

  1. Make sure the customer area of your store is extremely clean, inviting, and customer friendly.
  2. Make sure the fliers are distributed at least 3 days before the “event”
  3. Speaking of event, treat this as such and encourage your employees to do the same to generate excitement and staff participation on Beat The Clock day, and in the distribution of the fliers.
  4. Don’t plan on making money on a day like this. These promotions are used strictly to increase your customer base.
  5. Make sure every box is boxtopped.
  6. Make sure every employee is in proper uniform or has a presentable appearance if uniforms are not used.
  7. Make sure every pizza is perfect. You want them craving pizza from your place the following week.

Good luck,

  • J_r0kk

Build the base . . .then hit them with a captivating “bounce back” offer on the box top. That boxtopper is the hidden key to this venture. If you can get them to try your place with the event, then youcan seal the deal with a good offer to gert them to come back. The more often you get them putting YOUR great pizza in their pie hole, the stranger that habit becomes.

Once is accident, twice is coincidence, three times is habit.