New Papa Murphy's Across the Street

Does anyone have any 1st hand knowledge or anecdotes they would like to pass on?

Generally, though I get concerned when new competition comes in, I have learned to just do my thing and take care of my customers, and everything works out fine. But this forum is perfect for hearing from those that have traveled this road before…

Our pizza shop has been around a long time and when we had competition move in across the street we just did business as usual. Our sales dropped for a while but then quickly came back up higher than ever. We never had a major chain store come in so I am not sure how that affects sales. Needless to say, we never cut corners on quality and always make our pizza “Just like you remember” after 50 years we are still here and our competition once stood where a church is now.
Marketing to your customers the reason why they like to eat your food should be your focus.
They will try the new thing in town but they will be back.

Its a good time to refocus your efforts in advertising. Make sure you remind people why they are buying from you. They are going to try the new place. Let them know ahead of time why Papa’s is not going to be as good. I would not mention their name, rather use generic terms to describe the competition.

Years ago Dominoes opened in our small town. Man were we shakin in our boots. We had been around for a number of years but were really nervous because delivery is a huge percentage of our business.

What did we do. We knew they were coming which was great. We had time to “train” so we did just that.

We revamped all our employees had quick meetings regularly to keep our service tip top. As an independent our employees genuinely care for us and I think that is something we have they don’t. They truly want us to succeed, rather than just collecting a paycheck. (More could be said about all that but you get the point.) Get your crew ready.

You will feel a dip when they first open…it should be expected…use that time to check up on your food prices, credit card processing charges, phone charges, etc. Find some dollars while you got the time. Do some needed spring cleaning such as ice machines, condensors etc. Make sure customer service is 100%

BEFORE THEY OPEN…get a 6 month calender together…starting with the month before…come up with a marketing plan. Be strategic about your plan. I would focus on major marketing the month before, moderately the month of and complete domination the following 4 months. If you have pasta and they don’t make sure to advertise pasta…if you have dine in and they don’t advertise dine in. Don’t compete with their coupons. If they are doing a medium 2 topping for sssss then do a large so you won’t get a whole bunch of comparison shopping. (chains are pretty predictable about their specials…so you can find their current coupons and pretty much they will be the same coupons 4 months from then)

Remember in your marketing plan holidays…paydays…most people get paid the 1, 15 plan to have your stuff hit their household the day before. Also remember welfare comes out around the 4 each month.

Going back to finding the dollars for the shop you can use the money you will be saving on month 5 and 6 to do extra saturation.

If you don’t have great marketing supplies that are top of the line…like the chains do…make the investement in some 4 color flyers, menus and maybe some 2 color boxtopper/door hangers. We use our door hangers as boxtoppers…we cut off the hanger.

Taradel has some great 4 color items and their service is awesome.

I know years ago when they came to town we got our first 4 color flyer…it without a doubt helped increase sales. We often got calls asking if we were under new owners. If you want them to know they will be getting a top of the line pizza you need to advertise with top of the line supplies.

If you don’t have a direct mail system going get one started. You can do it cheap. Start collecting addresses off your delivery, have a coloring contest, lunch drawing to get things going. Get them off there. Ask for kids birthdays and then you can follow up with birthday cards on or around their birthday…everyone goes out for their birthday and if I have to give them a 10 inch pizza to come to my place…welll…

Of all the things I have said hopefully you got that marketing is going to be key…they are gonna try the new place expect it…but you have to remind them constantly you are there and you have some great food and deals to offer them.

If you do it BEFORE they open it takes the desperation out of your marketing plan…your plan will have a purpose and be strategic.

Good luck to ya and be confident in who you are.


We have had major competition come in . We have never compromised our product or service.Like pizza of the month said you may experience a short term dip, stick to biz as usual. Also I think a nice data base blast to all your customers with a nice 4 color glossy menu and a small offer the week that the competition is opening wont hurt.

We had one open up here (before I bought my shop) and I just don’t understand why people would go there. I’m going to have to go home and bake my own pizza, wait a lot longer to eat and probably spend whatever couple bucks I would have saved in extra utilities. And I have to drive out of my way to go get it.

I was even given a couple cards for free larges there and ended up throwing them away because it wasn’t worth the effort, even though it was free.

So, maybe you can use that store to actually make more money, not less. If you had a way to get people like me who may be heading to Papa Murphy’s to think “Wait, my pizza could be cooked already and ready to eat and I could spend time doing something more fun than waiting on my oven to heat up.” I would be easily swayed, I bet there are a lot of other people like me out there too.

Napoli Pizza…Along the same lines as Kris, agressive marketing is required…And remember because of the volume of advertising they buy, their cost is lower than your…So you probably need to spend double what they are to be about even…

Do you have a “wrapped” delivery car?..They are pricey but on a “cost per impression” basis they are actually a very good value…I notice a couple things on your website that are not “branded”…Your “Gift Card” and “Independent Pizzeria Card” do not appear to have your logo…It is hard to get noticed if there is nothing to notice…

Good luck…

Indie Pizza…You may not undsterstand Papa Murphys, however, with sales of $500,000,000 they are worth paying attention to…I do not buy “Take and Bake” very often but I do from time to time…The last time was when my wife was at a school board meeting and wanted food on the table the moment she walked in the door…She called me when she was leaving and and I popped it into the oven and it was almost done when she walked in door…

Yep, obviously it works. I was just suggesting that he might think of some ways to get someone like me, who might head to PM to try it out, but could easily be swayed to go across the street once I got there.

Side note: How much of PM’s sales are food stamps? It kind of bugs me that they can do that, and if you think about it, it’s kind of like your tax money is being used to take away from your income. :roll:

Indie Pizza…The folks that frequent PM are not your typical clients…Much the same as Outback Steakhouse would not draw too many folks that frequent Golden Corral…I bet if you surveyed take and bake customers, many would not have ordered cooked pizza in a very long time…But it would not hurt to park a billboarded truck across the street if you can get away with it…

Papa Murphy’s has been around for a long time. It started on the west coast where I’m from and it was a convenience to buy u-bake pizza. The cook time is not much difference and they have a big price difference. Plus, in the early days of u-bake pizza places, they also had movies to rent so it was one stop shopping.

It’s really all about what you like and what you know.

Make up a huge sign like this:

(click to enlarge)

Have some fun with it.

thank you everyone for you input. You’ve given me a great place to start.

I wasn’t talking about food stamps, I was talking about government assistance…I am not sure what all is out there but people get cold hard cash each month from the government for all kinds of things…around the 4/5 of the the month. Also social security/ disability etc.


You can really play up this idea. Talk about your big commercial pizza oven capable of producing heat up to 550 degrees to properly bake a pizza that a home oven simply cannot do. There is a big difference between a pizza coming out of your oven and one at home. List the differences. When they try Papa’s they will think of what you said of the differences and take note.

I think you will find most folks are quite aware that your pizza is a better product…So trying to appeal to their sense of “taste” will just be an exercise in spinning your wheels…I think you need to find out why “take n bake” customers buy their product and see if there is something you can offer…

Speaking purely as a consumer, I wouldn’t worry about Papa Murphy’s at all. I have one right around the corner and when it opened I was a excited about the concept and promise. Not sold yet, but intrigued. Had someone come up with a viable bake-at-home pizza?


After my first (and last) experience, I was less than impressed. I could probably find a better frozen pizza.

I would welcome any opportunity to put my own home made ‘make & bake’ pizza against their ‘take & bake’. That’s not something I’d be feeling so optimistic about competing against a proper pizzeria.

And consider offering your own “take and bake” versions of your pizza. But be aware that home ovens are lousy at temperature calibration and each one cooks differently. A stone is recommended (which you could also sell).

Papa Murphy’s uses a chemical[/url][/b] to heat rise the dough… Sodium Aluminum Phosphate. Right, Tom? Considered a carcinogen on [b][url=]this site. :lol:

As far as competing with PMs, I see an opportunity to compare your ingredients with theirs…Years back we had a competitors cheese tested…We were getting close to advertising the test results (not 100% cheese)…He caught wind of our “sinister” plot called and threatened legal action…We suggested he call a lawyer ask about truth being a defense for slander…He closed down a few weeks later and we never heard from him again…

PS…BC calls itself California North at times…I see PMs uses different ingredients in California and BC and Alberta too!..I guess some of the California influence involving pizza crust ingredients has made it here…