Looking for ideas to build lunch business

I’ve been open for about 9 months and I’m looking to build my lunch business. Where I’m located where are a lot of buisness’, a hospital, a few schools but also a lot of food eccentric business’. I was wondering if anyone can share there experiences of what worked and what didn’t. All the help is much appreciated.

Do you have seating or are you looking for delivery business?

I have 16 seats. The walk in trafic is okay but looking to build the delivery business.

Take flyers out to the local businesses offering a delivery special.

We have done sample packs. Packed a big pizza box (half sheet) with samples of our products: medium pizza, wings, breadsticks, oven baked subs. Throw a salad & some ice cream in with it. We would do 2 businesses at a time - they would each get half a sub, half a bread (a whole pizza). This is a nice way to sample a lot of your products to potential businesses. Start by doing this to large businesses where you are more likely to get a return on your investment. Send with it a flyer explaining what they got, send your menu. You can send coupons or specials if you want or have them. Hopefully your food will speak for itself!

Do you phone the companies before doing that durbancic or do you just deliver it without warning?

Rico: When you talk to the admin staff at local businesses, explain how they can place a group order through your online ordering site too. Give them the link to your Start a Group Order page. For anyone who has to organize lunches for groups, this is a huge time saver – and a reason to choose your place over another restaurant.

We called ahead - I believe early in the day when we arrived, giving them a couple options of times for arrival. We would do 4 businesses per day, 2 per driver. We tried to make sure the businesses were right next to each other to make the trips as quick as possible for the driver.

Thanks for the replies. I’ll give those a try. Who would you ask to speak to when calling a medical office or any kind of office? I feel that I would want to make sure I’m talking to the correct person that would organize the staff lunches instead of just bringing the receptionist lunch. I would ask if I could speak to the person in charge of ordering staff lunches but is there a more professional way of asking?

Sampling is the best approach. Pick out 3-4 businesses nearby a day to sample. Hire a cute girl with good motor skills to present your product, label her your “marketing coordinator” or whatever. In 3 weeks of 5 days/week sampling, you’ll have 45-60 businesses sampled. Keep sampling, never stop. Before you know it, you’ll only be worried about hiring enough people to handle the biz!

One thing that has boosted my lunch sales was creating a small bundle to try and steal some of the Subway customers and “DP Dough” customers. I have an 2 Topping Calzone or 8" 2 topping pizza + 20oz bottle of soda for $6. Food cost is low but the perception to the customer is high value. Delivery or carry out…just the other day 4 guys did take out and that’s $24 when they could have spent like $16 to split a pizza and less if they wanted to do a 2ltr soda. I offer 2 sizes of the calzones but the smaller one is a great lunch option.

i was thinking of adding a lunch buffet but do not know where to start

When I deliver the samples is there a particular person I should ask for instead of just leaving and explaining everything at the front desk?

Don’t just show up unannounced. Call ahead and ask for the person you should talk to when you get there. Once you get there you can explain it to them at that time, or leave them literature. You would be better off if you can explain it (they might not read the paper).

Stop in the office that morning or the day prior. Secretaries are your best friend as they are who orders lunches. Just say can I buy your office lunch tomorrow? Never get turned down. Every so often I buy flowers and a gift card to the secretaries who order a lot. Keep a journal of who you have sampled so you don’t double back. Always be a few mins early with business deliveries. Reliable lunch is huge in business deliveries. Before you know it, you’ll be lit everyday!