Chain store opening on our doorstep

After many years without any close competition (or ones that were any good anyway) we have found out that the No: 2 pizza chain, Eagle Boys (Aussie group) will be opening 200 metres up the road from us in late March.

We have already commenced our guerilla marketing against this onslaught with blogs on our website on how the chains are not as cheap as they appear by outlining their undersized “large” pizzas, and things like hidden / extra costs from what appears on their glossy brochures that inundate our letter boxes each week.

Our FREE PIZZA letter goes to the printers this week and we will be distributing 200 a week right up to, and the opening weeks, about 1000 in total. We will be saturating the immediate suburbs to which they will drawing the bulk of their business. What we are aiming for is to pull in new customers who haven’t tried us (for what ever reason) knowing that our product once tasted will bring them back as customers - proven in previous scenario. Should they then try Eagle Boys because of their low price we are confident that they will come back to us. If the letter goes to existing customers it is worded as a thank you for your custom.

One thing they don’t do is roadside wobble boards, so we are planning a catchy wording to do our own on the roadside where they will be situated. One good thing is their position is in a bulky goods retail complex which has poor entry access - a side street off a major road that has a medium strip blocking direct access. They have to go up the side street and go around a small round about and come back down to enter the site. We can “ambush” traffic with our wobble boards as they figure out how to get into the site.

We now have Facebook fan page going and will use this to further promote our business and get “fans” to post how good we are in comparison to the chains. Plus we will have ongoing inducements to come in and then come in more often.

A newspaper advert is now at our graphic designer to get it ready in print format and we will be doing advertising in our local free paper with a 5cm high x page width box advert. The format is simple and is planned to get people to our website. It will just have our theme “Real Pizzas - Unreal Taste” boldly across the top 3/4 width of the advert with “bigger, fresher, tastier” under this then our website address in big bold letters under this with our logo and phone # on the right corner. No prices, deals or anything as we are on the high end of pricing and don’t want to get into a price war. We are aiming at the inquisitive nature of people to check out who we are. My indepth research has shown that if you promote a website and nothing else people will look at it out of curiousity - look and you will seek.

Following our free pizza mailout we will then letterbox drop our new menus to household in the catchment area.

About a week before they are due to open our shopping centre where we are situated will be having a 12th birthday celebration on Saturaday 20th March. There will be lots of activities going on and we will do free pizzas during the 11am - 1pm rush inside the centre. We will also be doing our childrens dough tossing activity, having a free raffle to win a $100 pizza party, as well as handing out menus and special offers brochures.

As I only found out about this yesterday (they have kept it very close to their chest) we are still planning other activities to combat them. We want to saturate our activity prior to their offical notice of opening so we don’t look like we are be reactionary and are in panic mode.

We know we are going to be in for a patchy ride for some months as people try them, and of course I expect them to be aggressively marketing themselves in the opening weeks, but hopefully we can jump the gun on them and have them on the backfoot to some degree.

My supplier has volunteered his assistance to gives us what ever help he can so we can heavily market ourselves. In the next few days I will be speaking to drink suppliers to see what they will do to help and also local business where we can cross promote.

Nothing like some stiff healthy new competition to get the brain working overtime :smiley:



that sounds like a really good plan. You won’t stop people trying them so to get them to try your beforehand is a great idea. Maybe a bounce back would be a good idea for new customers? You have a POS? Why not send a follow up for new customer with a really good deal, that gets them hooked onto trying you again. Even after they’ve had a free pie for the first time its worth maybe a free side or two to get them hooked.

Make sure your service is great.

Have you thought about renaming your sizes so that they are comparative? Whilst it could be a little confusing I think this is a very sensible move when you are offering larger comparative sizes than the competition. Customers only see large, medium etc they don’t think (and even when explained many don’t understand) that an 11 inch large is not the same as a 12 inch large etc

The only problem with doing all these deals is that if they get wind of it (which they will) they’ll start out with super competitive deal as well. Brace yourself for a drop in sales as it will happen but as you know stick to the basics and it will come back.

Try and find out when they open and have a good push two weeks before then forget about marketing for a few weeks when they open as there is little point in competing against the volume of mail they will send.

Keep us updated!


make the best of it…nothing like that to give your marketing a big kick in the rear

not sure if they are a discount chain but you gotta love that office store commercial about getting a sign that says “We fix $6 haircuts” when the barber notices a discount chain opening a store across the street

we “conveniently” held our customer appreciation day on the same say as our competition that opened across the street…with all the giveaways we had going on it dwarfed anything going on over there and we were the talk of the town instead.

Focus on what you can control and put some gloves on!

I’m a short little fella so I know about pucnhing above my weight :twisted:

Thanks for the input


Not going to change our size as our whole marketing theme is “BIGGER, FRESHER, TASTIER”

I have cotinually slammed their misrepresentation of what a large pizza is. The industry norm here is 13" but the slimy chains have been constantly downsizing and ripping customers off going down from 13 to 12to 11.5"

If it is a company store then they will go hard for a month but if it is a franchise I don’t think they could maintain it too long as the franchise cost for their stores is around $400k and you have to sell heaps of $6 pizzas to recoup that

One of their current franchisees (about 10 minutes away from us) has not seen us as a threat to him because he says his customers are purley price orientated and my customers wouldn’t buy from him because of our quality and his couldn’t afford to buy from me. Hope his thinking is spot on when the new one comes along.

ok - understood re the re-sizing although I personally think you’re taking a very subtle line which will miss loads of customers. When I rang PH when I opened to see how big their ‘large’ pie is the girl who answered didn’t even know the size just that it was large. Even when I’ve explained our large is bigger than the competion I’ve had people walk out and across the road to get another large pie for a little less money - large is large is many people eyes regardless of what you tell them.

Please take this as a ‘helpful comment’ but the ‘bigger’ comment isn’t that prominent on your website, menu (the online one) or your facebook page. If this is a key ‘tool’ in your fight against the competition then I think you need to make much more of it and have it as a strap line on every page under the logo. If it is so important it needs to be there in front of your customer eyes all the time not buried away on page 4/5 of the site.

Bigger, Fresher, Tastier mean something much more when its had an explanation but without the explanation it might be a bit too subtle. Without the explanation its just a throw away line IMO.

If it were me (and I know your not me!) I’d have a logo or something made up being really blatant and having catchy wording even something like our Large is 20% bigger than the competition. As long as its factual then you shouldn’t have any problem. Also remember a lot of people don’t understand %'ges. 20% bigger may not mean much some people (I know its hard to believe!)

Maybe on the front page (or every page) have a quick BRIEF summary of what bigger, fresher, tastier means:

BIGGER - get value for money - our large pizza is 20% bigger than xyz’s large pizza
Fresher - we make our own dough every day in the store, we don’t use … like xyz
Tastier - you get the gist

what do you think?

I saw a place down here for sale for $15000. I looked it up to see what the problem was. Fifty feet away, there was a Papa John’s franchise. I assumed the little guy went out of business because his pizza wasn’t good. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t make an offer on the dead place.


I saw an Eagle Boys commercial a few years ago where they were making fun of the competition(Dominos I think) and they put the smaller Dominos “large” pizza box inside their own box to demonstrate the size difference. Maybe you can turn this on them and do the same.

You ae 100% correct with that advert Paul. I totally forgot it. In the past we did consider doing that, but, also buying one of their pizzas (and Domino’s) and taking photos to show the difference. Time to revisit that thought. Thanks for the reminder.


The rep my supplier contacted me yeaterday and said that the owner wants to assist us by funding some advertising to combat this opening. I am meeting with them next week so they can see our strategies ans best work out how they can help.

What I am thinking about is to knock their opening day by giving away 100 - 200 free pizzas from our 5pm opening time and advertising this in our widely read free local paper. We need to restrict the number of pizzas given away as capacity to cook will be deciding facator. We don’t want them waiting a long time, plus we don’t want to jepoadise regular customers who order on the night. We also want to ensure that our quality is not compromised.

As I don’t just want to feed freeloaders who we won’t see again I am thinking about doing restrictions such as 1 per person - max 2 per family. Everytime our shopping centre we are located have any special activity going with FREE this or that , we get inundated with certain family groups who never come any other time and they just grab everything they can get for free. You never see them until the next free activity is on. At times we have had to ban them from our tasting booths as they just stay there feeding themselves and their families and block other people from tastings - greedy ba$tards !!!. They only once entered our shop, the one time we gave out free pizza vouchers, and they abused it so much by grabbing handfulls of vouchers from the back of our stand. I want to discourage this type of person / group who will only be there because it’s free and then abuse it to boot.

What I have in mind is to have a coupon in the advert that they have to hand in with a section for their details and have someone at the door collecting vouchers and monitoring who comes in. The free pizza will be for pick up only and for orders at the shop, no phone orders. I am doing this because I want the maximum amount of people lining out of the shop so we can get photos to use for future advertising - e.g. “our pizzas are so good customers wait in line to get our pizzas” etc. The coupon will also help our data base for potential customers as well as being a control to eliminate multiples.

This activity will be something new in the pizza industry here as outside of the chains most independents are not motivated to do anything except for menu / deals letterbox drops. I think we can generate a fair bit of interest from this activity.

OK. What happens if we flooded and more people turn up wanting free pizzas than we have stipulated?
Options are: free small pizzas with any 2 large / family size ordered; free drink or garlic bread with any order; free voucher to be used at another time (conditions apply); discount if they order a paying pizza etc… throw myself on the floor in a ball and scream NO MORE … HELP :lol:

As you guys have done similar things over the years I would appreciate any feedback, problems occured etc. One thing is that pizza eating is not as big as it is where you are so we don’t expect to see the numbers that npizza had at his free give away - heck we couldn’t possibly do 1800 in the time he did.


Rather than a “giveaway” might you consider a ridiculous low price point, say $2 for any pizza/any toppings…that will slow down some of the free-loaders while offering a great deal & covering some of your costs, while gathering data…you might also consider making them “text” you/or a certain # & capture that info making it easy to re-market those folks in particular…

put an advert in the paper you were speaking of, saying “text PIZZAZZ to xxxx for a $1 or $2 (your price point) large pizza with FREE toppings this (date)” It will cost you less than a dime for each # & you will have those #'s to use…run that special all week, maybe confine the hours to 5-7 or something to still generate the lines you seek…

Many here may chastise the use of text messages/blasts, but I touch ALL my customers several times a month, @ less than 5 cents each time…but doing it in this fashion, they are giving the info on their own, and will have the opportunity to opt out any time after you send them any text…(you can pre-key in #'s to speed up ordering on your POS)

We indies can’t compete with the marketing $$$ of the BIG chains, but we can far more nimble in our marketing efforts & menus/products…

Couple that with facebook & facebook ads (same text model) and you’ll spend less upfront dollars, you’ll have less resistance to customers filling out forms (database entry)…and have usable, marketable info

Just a thought…

Best of luck to you! I hope their opening day is completely overshadowed by your venture. ^^

We’re looking at this with excitement and a challenge to how far we can boost our business, not as a detremental affect to us.

I am not sure about fighting. cuz u are not competing with them. Cheap people eat their inferior corporate soul less pizza. People who love pizza eat your fresh, delicious soulful product.

Concentrate on what you are that they aren’t. There word is corporate. They are the corporate pizza spot. What’s your word? U said something about kids, So here is an example of “family” pizza spot ideas.

Make friends with some local schools, this is a great promotion I found out about when I was a little kid. Sponsor a school’s class of the month… or student of the month. Give them a free pizza party. and if they will let you give them ( the whole class) coupons that are conditional, (free wings with mammoth pizza) as an incentive to come in.

Make better friends with the businesses in your area. U don’t want it to be a choice, when someone asks a hairstylist in your mall, which pizza place is the one to go to. The ideal is to have the hairstylist bring you up. “man is that place good…” Make sure interactions with neighbors are Exciting. Free food will get you thought of in a nice light. Champagne and chocolate strawberries will get them to be your best advertising money can buy. Or at least breed several young stylish ladies as loyal customers. I remember a bride’s shop next to us. I went and made friends with the owner. so when the brides were getting tailored, the grooms were getting trashed at my pizzeria. Must have made for some interesting conversations on the way back home.

I think most people go towards crafting “new” business. There are lots of opportunity in old business, that is mostly overlooked. I look at it in this way. give a rose and chocolates to a new girl, and she gets excited. Give a rose and chocolates to your girlfriend, and she pays you back! Find out who your best 25 customers are and focus on them. Figure out why they chose you, and play to that. U probably have huge advantages in fresh made dough and unique atmosphere.

BIG ONE. Honor the competitor coupons. You don’t have to advertise it, you don’t even have to follow the coupon. If someone comes to you and says, I have a coupon for this and this, but I like you guys more. reward them for that. No one understands a policy, when it is used as a reason to tell them no. And nobody really cares about the struggles of the rich, successful and good looking pizza guy to make ends meet.

If u have a website, use video testimonials.

Bribe the police. give them an incentive to waste tax payer money eating pizza instead of patrolling the streets and they will take it. give officers a percentage off their tabs. Police officers know where to eat. and when people see that you have some in your restaurant they will make the association. like attracts like. so i guess you could bribe anyone.

I like the dough rolling and spinning idea, have you promoted it. Show cute little kids making dough, put videos on your website, and tell them now accepting applicants to PIZZA University or whatever you call it.

my philosophy is not really about competition. The same way there exists a Thai restaurant, and a Burger restaurant. People are sophisticated enough that there can be, a GREAT pizzeria, and one that is the same ol same ol.

U got your head on straight so this will probably work out better than expected. A whole bunch of hungry people who like pizza headed past your restaurant is fantastic. Make them want to stop in, on their next pizza outing. I mean I go to mcdonalds when I dont have any time or it is a convenience. Not when I can actually make a decision about where I eat.

Success awaits. Can’t wait to hear about your new marketing lessons.



whilst I understand you’re ‘excited’ about this don’t lose focus about what you are trying to achieve. If it were me I’d be:

a) trying to lock in my existing customers and stopping them trying the new guy or re-enforcing what’s good about me
b) trying to attract some new people - but I’m always doing that so really ‘a)’ is the prime reason.

If b) is your main reason then don’t do this at the same time as the new chain - what’s the point bearing in mind there will be two of your doing this at the same time? Why market something at the same time as someone else doing it at the same time. You’ll be p***ing money down the drain (so to speak)!

Will giving away free food help retain existing customers? unlikely. Will an advert in the paper for free food help retain existing customers? nope. What happens to the 501 person or the 540’th when your only giving away 500? Does this really push the buttons for your existing customers?

As I’ve mentioned a few times we ran a free small pie offer with the local paper. Killed us in the store (even with extra staff) and killed our delivery service as we were so busy with all the free pies. Wouldn’t do it again as why do something which is going to kill your service for the people who order regularly and pay full price?

I agree with the above comment about a low price rather than free. Whatever it is you need a good ‘reason’ to do it. A customer appreciation week might be a good idea with very low prices. Box top every order for 2 or 3 weeks and run it their opening week. That’d be my approach.

I really want this to work for you, at the moment you could have all this lined up, they pull back a week then come back with a similar offer the week after and all the people who came to you for free pies will go to them for free pies as well.

Hope this gives you something to think about.

p.s. Pizzaboy - accepting the competitions coupons is not a great idea unless your products are similar. What would you think if a high end restaurant accepted a low end coupon? Dave offers a high end product much different in quality and size than the competition. To accept a competitor coupon IMO would devalue his product. Sure it can work for some but they have to be comparable.

Well the Eagle Boys Pizza chain finally opened up against us on Friday night. We didn’t know exactly when they were opening but second guessed very close to the date. They had problems getting gas to the site - even big corporations stuff it up sometimes.
Anyway Friday ended up being our 4th biggest night ever and only $200 off the best and our biggest night for over 18 months. Tonight was a bit slower than normal but as tomorrow is Mothers Day I expect a lot of people were saving eating out until then.
On last Thursday we had 8,000 leaflets inserted in the free local paper which covers our immediate area with our FREE PIZZA GIVEAWAY. On this coming Tuesday we are giving away 150 free small (10") pizzas. We are expecting a huge response because people are talking about it already. We are primed with extra staff, extra stock, special order pads (with a limited range of pizzas available for the freebie to make it smoother sailing), staff trained to upsell to the next size at a small cost and other “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed.
The week after we are having the postman deliver 200 random addresses letters for a free large pizza to our immediate suburb, and followed up every 2 weeks for another 4 suburbs. All told we will be giving away 150 small pizzas on the night and an additional 1,000 over the next 10 weeks. If we hit current customers the letter says this a thanks and if it hits a new customer it is an offer to try us absolutely free.
Now knowing that the comp store is a franchise and tied to head office marketing and not able to quickly respond to our activity we have various guerilla marketing activity planned to cut off any response they finally do. They respond - we hit an new activity. They then respond again and we hit with another strategy - just like the little dog biting at the Great Dane dog, never laeving them alone.
We have just received our new style fridge magnets and 2,000 of these will be dropped in every letter box in the immediate threat zone around this new shop to keep our name in front of the public. They don’t do fridge magnets so this gives us an advantage and we are now running a campaign where customers bring 3 of competitors magnets in and get a free large pizza of their choice.
I’m getting really wired with this activity and am loving the thrill of driving our business onwards.
With all this I am well aware of stirring up the hornets nest, but I need to make a strong and aggressive stance, not only to maintain my customer base but to grow our business from strength to strength. Our customers are liking what we are doing in the early parts of our activity and the more times our name is in the face of the public the more chance we have of attracting them to us. The little guy standing up to the big greedy chains.


A bit perplexed at the moment.
The new cheap chain opened last Friday and our sales haven’t been stronger for ages.
Friday - our biggest night for nearly 2 years and our 4th biggest ever
Sat - a little bit down but so was every foodie where we are - subway, fish & chips, indian food, chinese, but Mother’s Day was the next day
Sun - our biggest Sunday trade ever
Mon - 60% up on a normal Monday
Tues - our free pizza giveaway but still did about $200 more than a normal Tuesday
Tonight (Wed) - a strong night considering the huge night before with the giveaways. Nice to see 2 new customers who first tried us last night with the freebies come in tonight, both spending close to $40 each.

As I pointed out in an earlier post here that they are situated in a blind corner in a bulky goods complex with poor access and with little exposure from the main road. Their new signage format is a modern slimline sign and it does nothing to draw attention to their store, especially with their positioning.

I’m not getting cocky or over confident but I am extremely surprised at their non action. The had an obscure advert stating their grand opening and the advert was a real washed out looking thing. No excitement & soft specials. One thing is they had a small advertorial for the opening and their corporate boss claimed they would be making in excess of 2,000 pizzas a week. We have had this area to ourselves for sometime and only do about 700 per week, albeit at a higher retail price and larger sizes as well. If there is another 2,000 pizzasa week out there we would have been getting a share of it so I don’t know where they are going to get them from. Our area is a high middle to low high income area with house values between $600k - $2mil and I think they probably go more for restauarants or home entertainment. Quite a few now also have home woodfired pizza ovens in their outside entertainment areas. I think they will be pushing it uphill with a small stick to get to 2,000 pizzas a week.

None the less we are being very agressive with our marketing (not price wise but other areas) ready for when they decide to get aggressive.


Keep in the back of your mind the Big Dave’s (guerilla) Guarantee . . . . for that time when your sales might sag a little and theirs get going. Basically the “We fix $10 pizzas” offer. You can find it on the internet somewhere for his working, but he basically told customers that no one should have to eat bad pizza, and that if anyone tried the competitor, and found it to be not to your excellent standards that you encourage them to bring the uneaten portion of the pizza, and you will replace it with as identical a pizza as possible. One per customer, because you are not in the business of fixing ‘poor judgement’.

NOt needed today maybe, but could be a bullet for the marketing gun later.

Thanks Nick. I have considered that but my wife is not keen on the idea. The general consensus with our customers is that the opposition pizzas are cr@p and even though they have gone to great lengths in improving them and spending heaps on TV advertising the mud has stuck very firmly in our market area, probably because we are in a higher income, better taste community.
I think looking at the “fixing a $10 pizza” would only draw people looking for our $16 - $20 high quality upmarket pizza for the $6.95 they paid for a smaller and inferior competitor product. They would just buy from them eat a slice and then call and ask for our pizza free, getting a 35% larger pizza with superior toppings, our special sour dough base and all the other superior things we do to make our pizzas the best. These people would just “use” us. If they lived in the area they would be buying from us now if they wanted a good pizza. If they weren’t they would be the bottom feeders who would never think of paying our price even if the product was better.
Becaus e our market is based on specialty pizzas and not single toppings the “Big Dave” theory wouldn’t be feasable in our market. I can see it working well (and Big Dave proved it) in your type of market where the single topping is the main sellers or promotional item.