So Pizza Hut is opening up in our town (8000 people 3 indys and now a pizza hut) and I’ve known about it for a few months now. Today I get this message from the COO of the franchise that is opening in our town.
“Message: Scott, As you know , we are planning to open a Pizza Hut location in Mount Horeb. Is their any reason we need to meet to discuss your pizza career. Jim Williams Chief Operating Officer Pizza Hut of Southern Wisconsin 434 South Yellowstone Drive Madison, WI. 53719 Phone: 608-833-2113 Fax: 608-833-2977 Email: email@example.com”
WTF? Why would they want to meet with me? How do I respond to this. Part of me wants to say, you guys should be worried about me not the other way around. And part of me wants to say buy me out and let me run your store or something.
I would carefully respond. You are in a small town so selling out to run PH and possibly hurt the other indies that have a following like your store does… might not be good for all. I would respond and just fish for some info. I would also talk to the other indies in town and see if everyone got an email. Does your town need 4 pizza shops? NO! Maybe get together and do a joint marketing program with the other indies and try to get the town to support the people that live and work there. If you can get the town behind you maybe you can push PH out before they get a hold on the people. A town that small should be able to pull together to support local. Build this relationship with the indie pizza places and maybe get all the local stores on board… “Keep It Local” campaign. It starts with PH and the rest will follow. Stop it before it can grow! Best of luck too you. :!:
Having lost many clients this year I know that at times chains can be very difficult to fight against…They can cash flow a losing operation much longer than most indies can…Good luck Scott…
Are they trying to get you to close your shop and go manage their store? Would that strategy work for them? I can’t imagine a more miserable existence for an entrepreneur than standing at the bottom of the organizational chart and having to deal with what pours out of the corporate pipeline…
This is a good time to look at & make sure everything goes out the door correct and timely.
If you provide a good service @ a reasonable price, i wouldn’t worry about it.
I’ll tag on to the advise Michael offered and push you to sit down with first, the other indy owners in town and get your game plan on. The second thing I’d do is set a meeting with the PH folks and see what they have in mind. They WILL end up hiring managers and your better staff from you and the other indy’s in town…plan now to keep your exodus to a minimum, or at least to only letting go your bottom-feeders if they exist.
We have had a Hut in town for over 30 years, heck I even worked there for about a year after college. They DO take care of their management staff, or at least they did back in the day. IF you’re store is in a weak position at least hear them out. You WILL see a significant hit in your business when they open, you know that. Start now to build your defense and be ready.
But, recognize that if approached properly, and pro-actively Hut and ANY of the other players are beatable! They sell a $10 pizza because they make a $10 pizza. Start now to push LOCAL-FRESH-HOME MADE- NEIGHBOR- anything that ties YOU into the community. Our local Hut frankly sucks in their product, their cleanliness, and in the attitude they present. Make sure your’s does too!
Why yes Jim, a meeting about my pizza career would be a wonderful idea. It would be a very fine gesture for you to take the time and show me the ropes of my future position. I’m sorry that you made the terrible decision to open in a town that just won’t accept you as one of it’s own. I really is a shame that Yum Foods is letting you go due to just this one small town failure. While you’re at it, can you advise me on a strategy to move to a better division of Yum, one that is actually seeing some sales growth? Whoops, I didn’t realize Taco Bell and KFC sales are down as well. Oh well, never mind. Please let Mr Novak know that I decided to stay where I’m at.