How to approach local businesses with freebies of your food

Our lunch business is slow, so I’m considering adding delivery during the day to local businesses. I plan on heading to the businesses in the area, introducing myself and letting them try my product for free.

How have you guys done this in the past?

Do you just load up the car with some pizzas and drive around and ask who’s hungry after introducing yourself?

Do you ask them what type of pizza they want, call it in and then bring it back fresh?

Just pizza, or do you give them free run of the menu?

How do you approach the follow up calls?

Any other tips or tricks into getting these people to become repeats?

From what I’ve heard, it seems that this method can have some good results. I’m interested in hearing about how you guys have gone about this, what has worked and what hasn’t.

I recently used this technique to drive lunch sales M-F. Every day I had my guys deliver food to 1 business around 11:45 proportionate to how many employees we believed they had. The response has been decent. We ended up hitting about 30 places over 7 weeks. Lunches M-F were totaling about $700 when we started. We are now up to about 1200-1400. We havent hit any in the last 5 or 6 weeks though. I think its time to start sending some out again.

We sent out pizza and subs and let them know we offered free delivery for lunch and left some menus.

I’m looking for some details.

Did you go in once, ask what they wanted, and then brought it?

Did you randomly show up with food one day?

We just randomly showed up. Noone seemed upset with receiving free food though. Did it at 11:45 so they could have it in time for the lunch break if desired.

I started out years ago just bringing in some food. For the last several years I have printed business cards with $15 or $20 OFF and dropped them off to be used when they wanted to. Good news is that they often spend more than that and just use it as a discount.

Also have a look at my facebook page for the various things we have done with recognizing local businesses and workplaces. That has been VERY popular.

Hi Everyone,
Here is how one our largest customers successfully attacks the businesses with strategic free food offers.

Attached is a picture I took of a small flyer like he distributed and below is his exact email to me with regards to how he executed it and the results. **Please note this flyer attached was one that he had done for another one of his pizza shops Parma Pizza. The one he is referencing below is for a new store and concept that they just opened called “Vinny Vegas.” He gave me the green light to share this. Not sure if the jpeg is large enough to read. There is a file size restriction. If you can’t read it, just drop me an email and I can send a larger file.

Hey Josh,
We just did a free slice day at Vinny Vegas about two months ago.
We printed about 2500 cards, circulated about 2000 on a Monday and Tuesday and had the free slice day on Wed and Thurs from 11 to 2. ANY slice and a fountain soda free. We had 520 people come in total between the two days. Prior to the free slice day lunches were about $250 per day with 0 - 2 deliveries. As of the Friday following the free slice day lunches are rarely under $650 with 4 - 6 deliveries.
Feel free to have anyone interested call me for details.


Josh Davis
Vice President of Sales
Mail Shark
4125 New Holland Road
Mohnton, PA 19540
Direct: 484-948-1611
Mobile: 484-269-3715
Fax: 610-621-5241

I think it is a great marketing plan to get your food into new potential customers mouths but I like Steve’s discount cards or similar ideas over just showing up. I might feel I am getting some delivery mistake or something. Spend a slow day delivering menu’s and depending on size of the location… hand write some “coupons” good for enough pizza to cover the staff. Just pizza…and kindly inform these soon to be customers about you great other offerings you have and find a nice way to say “please order somne sides with my free pizzas!”… almost makes me like Steve’s dollar amount over free pizza the more I think about it. That almost makes them order extras or more than the coupon amount. :idea:

I did this in my pizzeria and it worked very well. I visited about five businesses a day between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning. I talked to someone at the company for a few minutes about our restaurant and the things that made our pizza unique. We offered a free large one topping pizza and delivered it when they wanted it. At the same time I offered anything else on our menu at half price.

The response was very positive - Out of 30 companies I visited over a month about half ordered again and half of those became regular customers. The regular customers ordered lunch for staff meetings and special occasions, and a Harley dealership ordered about 10 pizzas every Friday.

I think this was the best promotion we ever offered. I would have continued but I left the partnership to start a software company!

We use free pizzas on Facebook quite a bit by asking people to mention a local business they like and then we bring free pizza to the business at the time we work out with them and take picture of the crew with the pizzas. We have done similar things with employees nominating their workplace and telling why it is a great place to work… feel-good points all around.

We use the business cards for a variety of purposes:

  1. Trade. If we do $1000 in trade with a radio station for ads we give them 50 X $20 cards.
  2. Promote to local businesses as desribed above.
  3. Twice a year we visit all the front desks in lodging (remember we are in a resort town) and give them a $15 card for EVERY person that works the front desk. Yes, if they have 8 front desk clerks we give them 8 cards. Those lodgin referals are huge.

The cards are not valid with any other discount or promotion.

I remember a place in college that used to go around to businesses and drop off 12" pepperoni pizzas and fliers with his personal number on them. “5.00 and I’ll try my best to have it to you in under 30 minutes.” I am sure he was just putting some cash in his pocket, but we ordered from them a lot. Main thing is let people know you are there and that you have a good product. If you have a delivery charge, maybe offer free delivery before 4:00 for businesses, or something like that. I am sure you will see a worthwhile response. I personally hit the hotels pretty hard. Front desk get coupons and or 25% off and I keep them stocked up with menus.