Excellent Week

Hi all, hope you are all doing well.

We have been having the best week ever. It started a week ago today with netting $1000.00 or more each day over the weekend and then we have been netting anywhere from $700 to $900 through the week. Tonight we capped out at almost $1100.00 net.

It has hit us by surprise - our sales have slowly been going up, it’s all been word of mouth marketing and some door tagging. Everyday we hear “your pizza is awsome”, “you have the best pizza in Southern Illinios”, “when you first opened your pizza was okay but now it’s fantastic”. We had to make two trips to Sam’s last weekend because we weren’t ready for this.

Of course we aren’t out of the woods by any means, but it has been uplifting to have the sales coming back up to what it used to be when we first opened.

We’ve made some changes - longer buffet hours, more variety on the buffet, etc. One of the things that Bill wanted me to ask is does anyone have a good cookie recipe that we can make in our mixer? We’ve been buying cookie dough but we think it would be cheaper to make our own.

We would appreciate any input - as usual. Laura

What flavor you want? Crisp or chewy? Do you need a specific bake temp range? See, no question is simple on the Think Tank :smiley:

I have a few recipes, but want to know what you need before spoutin off with a bunch you don’t want or need.

<<Welcome back to the pool, Laura. I guess you heard we were askin’ about you again?>>

Great to hear of the strong sales Laura, and that Bill is getting into it by asking for ideas. It seemed for so long you carried the load while Bill was down in the dumps. Props to both of you.

Now you have hit the right chord and getting sales going don’t rest on what you are doing. I know you won’t, but keep looking to improve, be innovative and look to control costs.

Really glad to hear from you again because I was starting to wonder like all the others if you had fallen of the face of the earth. Nope, you and Bill have got your feet firmly planted in the flour and hopefully it won’t be too long before it forms to “dough”.

Dave

yeah gob, u know were kind of in the same boat this week has turned around for me to,a very good Friday. Im glad 2 hear your still sticking in there. Makes me feel like Im not aloooooone :slight_smile:
Anyway got a good brownie mix not cookie…

There are a lot of different cookies you can purchase already portioned in dough ( that may be what you are already getting ) that are high quality. I have made my own in the past and found it doesn’t save you money. The ingredients add up to close to what you can get the premade for, and when you factor in time / labor…it really isn’t worth it. just my 2 cents, but i’d stay with what is easy so you have more time to work on the things that really build your sales.

cookies will be more costly - consider baking brownies & cinnamon rolls like CiCi’s…

The local indy buffet place here in town makes a Choclate Chip Pizza everyone raves about. They simply take yellow cake mix and mix choclate chips in it, put it on a thin crust dough and cook it till it’s about 85% done, pull it out and drizzle a sugar glaze on it and serve. It’s really good.

We are already doing brownies and I have been making a cinnamon cookie thing out of pizza dough that the kids love because it’s small and messy - kind of like pie dough left overs that our Moms would put cinnamon and sugar on . . .

I told Bill that making our own cookies would probably cost as much as just buying the pre-made dough, but he wanted PMQ’s input first.

I have to admit guys, that I haven’t been on PMQ here lately because we have been so busy working on saving the store. I’m actually home today trying to get a schedule made for next week. Bill told me to be dressed and ready to drive down to the store if he calls - which I’m sure he will around noon time.

I’m not sure how to do my schedule for next week. I have cut down labor so much but after this past week, I’m afraid not to schedule more people. It was really hard having all these deliveries with a 3 man crew. I actually called in people that used to work for us to help us out (ones that I had to let go or left us on good terms)- and they came in.

Bill is actually telling me to start looking into a Direct Mail program again. He told me to see how next week goes and then we need to start it up again as it brought in a lot of sales for us when we had it before.

This weekend is the big fireworks and festivities out at Rend Lake. Lots of campers, lots of tourists. We’ve had a lot of deliveries out at the campgrounds and the Conservancy District has been really great to us - the campground hosts have been passing out our flyers (we’ve been giving the hosts a free pizza when we get a lot of deliveries out there). We are also running a special on large 1 toppings from 4pm to 7pm this weekend. It’s a ready to go special where we have the pizzas already made up and ready. Customers just have to pull in pay their (don’t kill me) $5.00 and leave. It’s not going to make me a bunch of money, but it gets our name out there, they taste our pizza and hopefully remember to come back to eat.

Back to the original cookie recipe. Bill wanted a simple, easy to make but good, cheap recipe.

gob,

Here are a few thoughts on the last message.

I dont fault you for the 5 buck pizza hot and ready, it is being done quite successfully by LC and others, so I think it is a good approach.

My comment is you have to DRESS the pizza like a 5 buck pizza, portion it to be a 30-35% food cost pizza based on a 5 buck price point, not like one of your high end pizzas.

I would suggest trying to advertise that for takeout on the store front. I dont remember seeing you had signage and I know your front doesnt have huge windows, maybe you could get a worker onto the roof and put up a pole banner? When I worked for a fast food chain we did that and it had good results.

I MIGHT also suggest advertising at the camp grounds that say at 6:30 you will be bringing up 30 pizzas at “X” per pizza and they will be cheese and pep and first come first serve…circulate flyers, have a sign at the front, with the approval of the camp ground guys (maybe you bring a pizza for them for free)…you could also have your phone number on the signs and flyers for custom orders, offer cheaper bread sticks, sodas…

On the weekends if there is a huge camp population there, or you could do it during a boat show in the afternoon if that exists…I dont know the dynamic. If I were sending a runner out there I would try and turn it into a larger profit event…try to expand it and catch a few extra sales…

As for the cookie thought, my personal opinion is if you can spend just a LITTLE more and get a MUCH better product I would do that…I like cookies quite a bit and most fast food cookies suck…they really are bad and people know it.

I know you can purchase cookie dough through places like Otis Spunkmyer and if done right, you can get a cookie oven with it for free…I am not the biggest proponent of pizza oven cookies so if you could get a side small oven and you do enough volume it would be worth it. The only way I have seen a conveyor work is if you have like a triple stack and can turn the bottom one on the right temp…still with the horizontal blower on pizza ovens, it just doesnt make cookies very well.

Long winded answer, but I hope my rambling thoughts helped a bit.

the recipes I have for chocolate chip and peanut butter varieties are not ineqpensive versions. they are really good, but are more expensive than the recipes you find on a jar of peanut butter/bag of chips. Heck, the recipes on retail packaging are pretty darned good if you bake them at the right temps. Oversized ones can be made easily enough.

Old Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens cookboos are other good sources. There is a large quantity cookbook published called “Food for 50” that has institutional volume recipes for various foods. It’s mostly geared, I believe, toward cafeterias and schools and such, but several of their recipes are pretty good. I haven’t tried teir cookies, but they have the portioning there for large scale batches. I got mine at a used book store. They sell current modern editions at stores, too.

Actually, we have 6, six foot by six foot windows on the front of our store, we have a huge 20 foot lighted sign road front plus one of those arrow signs. We put up a banner across the road frontage ditch advertising the special plus on our lower arrow sign - both sides.

We also have a convection oven so we bake our cookies in that - not the pizza oven. We also bake our lasagna in the convection oven along with our baked potatoes, etc.

Guys, for a small town of 6800 we got stomped bloody tonight. We had six people working and my girls were making the tips. We ended tonight at 10:00pm with a net of $1294.00. That was after some cash payouts and paying one person cash to work for us. All except $300.00 was made between 5:00pm to 10:00 p.m.

What a WONDERFUL DAY!!!

Glad to hear somebody’s busy. The last two weeks have been the worst we’ve had all year. :cry:

my wife bakes the cookies for our buffet, spends about 10-15 dollars a week and everyone LOVES EM. they are homemade, easy to do and alot of blue collars take them to go, much better than pre made, when she could make them we bought dough and everyone could tell.

well gob,

I guess im not in ur league anymore Sat. was horrible I did better on thurs. or fri. than today . Give me ur secrets. I had banners up and streamers and the town made me take them down :frowning: & the arrow from the street were not even allowed to have.
good job

Hey Laura congrats! I am glad you guys are getting thru the as I like to call it the ‘pizza point’.This point usualy makes or brakes an owner.My advice to you is to now more than ever keep pushing as far as marketing is concerned.The more the people see your name in papers/flyers etc…the more you’ll see customers.Everything you guys strived for may just be starting to happen.
God bless ya,
Niccademo [keep your dough off da cieling]

No secrets other than we changed our cheese, sauce and started making our own dough about 2 months ago. I think word of mouth has finally starting working. We have been doing door hangings but can’t afford any other advertising. We also extended our buffet hours, started seating customers and serving their drinks and pre-bussing. We dropped delivery during the week since we extended our buffet hours and only deliver during the weekend except to the campgrounds - we do deliver anytime to them.

Gobpile,

 How is your daughter and the pizzahut thing going?   Glad to see things are shaping up........  Keep it going.

My daughter and son-in-law moved to St. Louis and are working as delivery driver and “fill-in GM” respectively for Papa John’s. My son-in-law is looking for work out of the pizza industry and my daughter is finishing her college education at UMSIL. They are working their “butts” off and my son-in-law is working about 50-60 hours a week. But, they are constantly giving us ideas on how to do things (good ideas) and my daughter is helping me with marketing, making flyers, etc.

We ended tonight just under $1000.00 net - not usual for a Sunday, but last Sunday was the same way. We made almost $1000.00 more this week than last week. I hope this keeps up and was not just a fluke. We know that we need to keep the ball rolling with marketing, consistency and service.

Thanks for asking.

Now’s the time to get everyone upselling on every order. You have the confidence of your customers now going on your sales increases and comments you are getting back from them. With this confidence they will now be more open to looking at buying more if your staff do “suggestive selling”.

The $5.5K your doing will soon become $6K then 7 then 8.

Keep up the good results and keep us all posted. It’s been a long journey from your initial heartbreak and we are all here with you as your drive back, and we want to share your success stories.

Dave