Menu lesson: the Trainwreck

When we built our 1st menu at our relocation, too long ago, we put in place a “pricing anchor” to draw attention to itself. It was created with the sole intention of being a gaudy, expensive pizza that made our signature line of preassembled pies look more affordable and attractive. It also set the impression that we are NOT economy $5 pizzas.

Enter THE TRAINWRECK. 20 toppings of rhythm killing insanity. It weighs in at $30 for a 16" pie, has 20 regular toppings, and COG of 38%. Contribution Margin is $18.60! Does anyone out there make $19 profit margin on one pizza?!?!? I don’t know enough owners who do. To do it over again, I would price it $5 higher and make it still more prominent in our marketing . . . with a contest and all. We never got to that point.

Make sure you have something ‘premium priced’ on the menu to draw the heat off the standard higher pried offerings. Even if it is a ‘combo’ sort of affair, or a fanciful pie like I had. 2 pizza deals aren’t the same effect these days. Make it practical to stock and prepare on Friday night at 7:00pm or you’ll regret it.

The original intention was to have a conversation piece that no one else in the market offered, and to draw attention away from our “Works” 8-topping pie costing 22.50 as folks were balking at the price. “Works” is really underpriced for the pie, but the market was balking. We had no intention of ever selling a Trainwreck, just using the visual anchor to make the Works move better. It worked. As soon as the menu hit the streets, The Works started selling at a faster clip . . . . . and so did that d@mned Trainwreck! We had to find a way to make this beast that takes about 6 to 10 minutes just to assemble!! We were flat-footed the 1st time it was ordered. Laying out that many toppings was killing the line every time. Shuts us down for one pie, and backs the whole line up. Soooooo, we took a 1 gallon food container and measure each topping into it, then shake it vigorously and pour on top. We place the ‘flats’ directly on the pie: pepperoni, ham, tomato, bell pepper, onion. Still takes extra time, but much quicker. We even store our table cheese in a container to use on this pie. CLEAN and temp SAFE fall-off from the make table is held in cooler.

Well, on this final week of our business, we have had a record of TRAINWRECKS in one hour we made three of them :shock: and three more the next night, then another the following night. 7 'Wrecks in one week is just unheard of in our world, but all those lovers want a last one, and those who have “always thought about getting one” are gonna try it in their last chance week. It will be hard, but $19 apiece will make it worthwhile.