Need a little help

Hello To All You Pizza Gurus,

Let em start by giving you a little background on my shop. We opened about 8 months ago. The town is a suburb of approximately 30k people…on the outskirts of a city with about 120k people. My shop is in an area that is made up of middle to upper class families. There are 3 other pizza shops …plus a Dominoes (gag) in my town.

We serve a New York style pizza and cook it on a Bakers Pride deck oven. We offer dine in for about 70 to 80 people and we also offer delivery and of course…take out. We also have a salad bar that brings in people who come just for the salad bar…it has a very good reputation as the best salad bar in town.

When we opened we were slammed…to be expected of course. We made some mistakes, and made some customers mad, and did some things good and kept some customers coming back. As expected, our sales spiked at about 2 months and then started to decline at teh end of November and continued to drop until we leveled out at the end of January. Sales when we opened were in the 10-12k a week…now we have leveled at 4-5k a week. But sales seem to be slowly increasing as we improve our customer base.

My questions for you all are the following:

Does anyone know how to jump start the delievery portion of my business? We currently only do about 50 delieveries a week.

Anyone have any suggestions or referrals for a marketing campaign…one that really works? Or should I just do door hanging through my employees? I know we have good pizza…honestly the best in town…I just need to get people to buy it.

Whats the best way to get a better lunch crowd going? Our lunch crowd fluctuates with Friday being very busy but the rest of the week is blah…anyone have any good marketing ideas to get a constant lunch crowd going?

Bottom line is I want to get my sales back up to where they were when we opened…wishful thinking??? Probably, but I think I can get atleast halfway back to those numbers on a consistent basis.

All input and advice is greatly appreciated! Thank You.

One thing you have to consider is that your product is not what you market wants…Sure folks will try it when it is new but unless it is too their liking you may not see them again…

You say you have the best “salad bar” in town…That is great but if it does not meet your market’s price expectations folks will not come…You might need to survey folks that do not come to ask them why they do not come…Often folks will say they do not like your food or it is too high priced for them…Neither is what you want to hear, but you need to know…

Aside from food folks want to buy, pizza is mostly a marketing business and you need to be in peoples faces all the time…Door hanging is often the best method to get delivery sales…Although you have to work hard at it and be consistent…

  1. I wouldn’t hang your hat on the salad bar - good or not. Your a pizza place and that’s what most people will only think of. Its that way with any concept. Only a small percentage look beyond your core product.

  2. Why try to promote delivery – the least profitable sales avenue??? Just promote your business in general and delivery will grow to its appropriate percentage for your area. Let people know that you deliver in every marketing medium you do but “just promote your business in general”.

  3. Imo, the number one, best thing you can do for lunch is go out and visit local businesses and entice them with offers to come in for lunch. Another great idea, that was mentioned on these boards previously, is to collect business cards for free lunches. It helps build your customer database and a great deal of the time when someone wins a free lunch they tell other people in the office and others come with!

  4. If you can count on door hanger actually getting there its a great medium. The best responses you will get is from offers you send to your “existing” customers. Send out postcards once a month to everyone in your database. Great response, keeps your name on the mind, keeps them in the habit.

Imo, your biggest issue is just lack of sales “in general”. Don’t focus on your slowest times or revenue streams. Just build sales – period! I don’t mean to not to special promos for slow times; just don’t make it your main focus until you get your “general” advertising going.

I posted this on another thread and several people said it was helpful.

Whilst your case is not exactly the same, the ‘my pie is the best’ scenario has some similarities to the other thread.

You have stated (and continue to do so) that you see PIE QUALITY (what every that actually is) as THE key driver and to you it is the key reason why businesses succeed or fail - even when we pointed this out that it wasn’t, you’ve posted a similar comment in this and another thread!

Quality is ONE of many reasons a business can succeed. Lets go to basics.

You may have the best tasting, quality or whatever pie in the world but…

without marketing (enough) people won’t know you’re there
without an appropriate price people not want to pay that much / be able to afford
without a suitable location people can’t park
without good systems people may have to wait too long to collect/get delivery
without reliable equipment you may not have consistent product
without a clean and presentable shop people may perceive you as dirty
without excellent delivery service people may prefer to get a pie quicker from the other shop
without cost control you may go bust
and so on and so on…

Likewise if you had all the above things sorted but had a dreadful pie then you may not succeed as well.

I have a very good quality pie in my market (in my opinion its the best quality). So am I the only successful shop? Nope, because my prices are (relatively) high compared with other and some people don’t want /can’t afford to buy my food. Not everyone thinks it is the best, and (unfortunately) sometimes we don’t get all of the above things right and we lose customers.

Added to this is the whole ‘good pie’ issue. What is ‘good’ to you isn’t good to everyone. If everyone always bought the ‘good product’ then they’d only be one wine, one whiskey, one car etc. A ‘good’ pie is very subjective.

So backing up to your original question. Having a ‘good pie’ does not in anyway by itself create success its just one element in a whole mass of other things. So you’d better consider the ‘other things’ just as much as you are focussed on quality.

The business drop you have seen is very severe IMO from 12k to 5k is a big drop even taking into account the ‘people will try a new place’. So the majority of people haven’t come back, why is this? Either your food, service, price or marketing (or any combination) ain’t up to it. As Royster says marketing is key for success in this business so you need to get a good solid plan together on that BUT you also need to find out any issues with the other areas as without addressing any shortfall in those areas whats the point in marketing. For delivery business 50 deliveries a week is very low but again it will come back to one of the areas I mentioned.

The best bet is (assuming you have captured customer details on POS) is to pick up the phone and ask for feedback as to why they haven’t come back - you’ll soon find the answer.

Without much other info its hard to be more specific.

Hope this helps.

we run a fax and email campaign 5 days a week. Hands down that’s our best $99.00/ spent.( besides our pos). Rfg marketing is the company I use. You deal directly with the owner no bs sales people. He does it legit. Most people just fax. He actually gets these things to people who want em. 877-444-2099. Andy ext. 4. I’m actually a sample on his website. Pakula’s Pizza. I think rockstar uses him too.