Open a month

so im here posting another topic, cause i wouldnt mind a lil help. Weve been open roughly a month. I am the store manager, and i think things are ok so far. But my boss, the owner, doesnt seem to understand that this is normally a slow time, due to the fact that everyone is paying their bills from Xmas. So far ive started a fax list, weve done a few thousand flyers, and we have done valpak and a couple other coupon listings like that. We are getting repeat customers, but not enough yet to satisfy the owner. We are doing about 2500 a week. Any ideas?

piesky01,

I want you to read intently the post I put up for you about 3 weeks ago. If you follow these ideas and do EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM you’ll see your sales rise at a more substantial rate. Don’t half-a$$ these suggestions because you’ll only get half-a$$ results. You must go after this aggressively and full throttle…

Okay, good start. I’ll give you some generic store opening ideas. Let’s just consider you’ve done a soft opening, as in you just turned on your open sign, opened the doors, and said “we’re open now”.

Unfortunately, though I wish that would work all the time, the plain and simple fact is… it doesn’t. Soooo, let’s get these people to order some pizzas from you, shall we?

First, PizzaManMike has a good idea with the big blow up pizza. However, what you put in the front of your store is of little consequence as long as you have something. I’ve always told people to get streamers because they’re flashy, they move with the wind, and most importantly, they’re cheap. Now if you want to pay the $1,600 on a big pizza, more power to you. Let me borrow it when you’re done 'cause I think they’re cool as Hell. Now… what this excercise will do is bring attention to the 21,600 - 28,800 cars a day that pass by your new place. (hint for the future - go to your state’s dept. of transportation website and they can give you accurate traffic counts).

The next place you’d want to attack would be the potential customers that do NOT pass by your place on a regular basis. These guys actually have no idea who, where, or what you are. Sooo… make them find out. Good avenues to choose would be bulk mail, direct mail, doorhanging, or newspapers. Each has the strong points and each has their weak points. For example:

Bulk Mail - This is usually a piece prepared by a professional printing company that distributes your coupon along with about 15 other companies. The price is good (usually around $400-$600) but return is rather crappy, netting you an average of about a .5% - 1% return. In your case with approx. 15,000 households, that’s between 75 and 150 orders.

Direct Mail - This generates a pretty good response depending on your artwork and specials, giving you an average of 1% - 3% (150 - 450 orders). However, it tends to get a little pricey at a range of 20 cents - 48 cents a piece.

Doorhanging - This is “old school” pizza shop kind of stuff. It’s not very efficient (the avg person puts out 100 pieces per hour) so if you want to make any kind of dent you need to dedicate a fairly large number of people a fairly large amount of time to see any kind of giant response. Doorhangers will net you 5% - 8% return.

Newspapers
- These are relatively inexpensive, however you only attack a certain demographic with this venue, which is usually older residents in their 40’s or above, though you do get exposure to all age groups.

Another idea would be a tactic Garlic Jim’s pizza uses in the Northwest. They put up a table in front of their store with a sign that says “Free Pizza”. If I’m not mistaken it’s pizza-slices they hand out, completely free, with an advertisement, the entire week before they open. I’m not sure if you want to take the hit now… after you’ve opened, but it’s something to think about.

Either way you go with your advertising there’s always one constant: It needs to get done. The only way to get people to try your shop is to get the message out that you exist, and maybe give them some incentive to come in and get a pizza from you. Hopefully, this post will help a little with your quest to become that million dollar store like your boy Paul7979. -J_r0kk

One more bit of advice: Look at the specials you’re putting on your advertising pieces. You want your price points to be relatively low so that it immediately catches the potential customers eye. This method is what you call (as I’ve adopeted from paul7979) “Goin’ Fishin’ for customers”. Food cost % on these items should be in the 32%-35% range. Leave room, however, for your upsell items (like bread sticks, cheese sticks, wings, and drinks). When the customer calls to get your dirt cheap special for $8.99, make sure you hang up the phone with a $18.00 order and a net food cost % of around 28%.

And I hate to be rude, but why ask for more sales building advice if you’re not going to use the advice that was already given to you? We (especially me) give you ideas that actually WORK in the real world environment. These ideas aren’t things we’re just throwing out there. They come from years and years of doing the WRONG thing, then perfecting our systems so we don’t make those mistakes anymore. Hope this helps and good luck. -J_r0kk

P.S. This is not a slow time of year.

But my boss, the owner, doesnt seem to understand that this is normally a slow time, due to the fact that everyone is paying their bills from Xmas.
My sales have consistently been up
$2,000/month every month since I’ve been open and this month is no different, actually outperforming previous trends because of the inclimate weather.

We have done flyers, and we have done bulk mail like valpak and other avenues like that. Ive had a kid outside with a sandwich board, with our special, a 12" one topping for 5.99. As for gaining business, yes, if you are established, this might be a good time of year, if you have a good deal, but, this is a new business, and from what ive been told by other people in the restaurant business in the chicagoland area, and from my own experience, this is a slow time. People are paying bills from xmas. But yea, any idea or help is accepted and appreciated.

piesky01 writes:

We have done flyers, and we have done bulk mail like valpak and other avenues like that. Ive had a kid outside with a sandwich board, with our special, a 12" one topping for 5.99.

Have done, or still doing? Also, what are the specials you have on your marketing material? Are the the same as the kid with the sandwich board? List each one please. Thanks, -J_r0kk

we periodically have the kid out there with the board. As for specials, free breadstick with a 16 or 18 inch, $1 off a 16, 2 off an 18. Free 2 liter with 16 or 18. 2 14s with one topping and a 2 liter, 19.99, $3 off a sandwich order of 15 or more and buy one 18 at full price, get second pizza or equal or lesser value for 50% off

Okay, I think I found out why your coupons aren’t generating as much return. They’re generic, bland deals with no price point. Here’s some suggestions on how to word them a little better:

Offer #1

You Get:
A 16" 1 topping pizza AND a [size=5]FREE[/size] [size=3]order of bread sticks for only[/size] [size=5]$10.99[/size][size=2]save $5.00[/size]
Offer #2

You Get:
2 Large 2 topping pizzas for just [size=5]$16.99[/size][size=2]save$4.99[/size]

Offer #3

Half Price Pizza:
Order a Large Pizza at regular price and receive a Large Pizza of equal or lesser value [size=5]Half Price![/size] [size=2]Save $6.00[/size]

Offer #4

Carryout Special
You get:
1 Medium 1 Topping pizza [size=5]$5.99[/size] [size=2]save $4.00[/size]

Offer #5

Half Price Sandwich
Buy a sandwich at regular price and get another sandwich of equal or lesser value [size=5]Half Price![/size] [size=2]save $3.00[/size]

Offer #6

You Get:
2 Medium 2 Toppings pizzas for just [size=5]$12.99![/size] [size=2]save $6.00[/size]

Notice how all the price points and key messages, like the words “free” and “half price” are highlighted and enlarged? These are the things you want to pop out at the customer the second they look at your advertisement. It immediately gives them the impression that you’ve got some good deals, so they read on. Of course, you’ll have to change the savings amounts because I have no idea what your prices are. They’re strictly to give you an idea of what the offer is to look like.

As far as the frequency of the advertising, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got at least one major “Event” each week. Like I told a poster up there in NY: Right now you probably don’t have very much money because of the sales BUT I’m sure you’ve got a lot of time. Go to your local printery and get flyers printed with these specials (or something like these specials) and get out there… yes, you and some employees… and doorhang your butts off (to the tune of about 2,000/week). The only expense you’ll pay is the actual printing costs, which will total around $50/1,000.

You do this, and I really mean put forth the effort and DO THIS, you should generate an extra 100 orders (or $1,500) the first week! Your sales will increase from $2,500 to $4,000 and your boss will think you’re the champ. -J_r0kk

we do hav ethe words free and what not bolded and larger in size. And a for 2 14 with 2 toppings for 16.99, thats a lil killer. Our food cost on that would prob be around 35%. but its worth a shot or a try. so thanx for the ideas.

That’s actually a good coupon over here. Our large is a 14" and the food cost for a 2 topping is around $2.55. Two would be 30.02%. Make sure right next to the prices you have the savings vs. regular price. It will create more value. Also notice the pricing on all offers but one is well below avg. ticket price (ours is around $16.50). That gets the phones ringing. Then it’s up to you to sell them on the other offers to get that ticket average up. Good Luck! -J_r0kk

And remember:

As far as the frequency of the advertising, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got at least one major “Event” each week. Like I told a poster up there in NY: Right now you probably don’t have very much money because of the sales BUT I’m sure you’ve got a lot of time. Go to your local printery and get flyers printed with these specials (or something like these specials) and get out there… yes, you and some employees… and doorhang your butts off (to the tune of about 2,000/week). The only expense you’ll pay is the actual printing costs, which will total around $50/1,000.

You do this, and I really mean put forth the effort and DO THIS, you should generate an extra 100 orders (or $1,500) the first week! Your sales will increase from $2,500 to $4,000 and your boss will think you’re the champ.

so are you sayin to have one rediculous cheap coupon, and the others to just be normal ones?

Before I bought into this franchise I went to see the store that does the most volume. I spent two days in VA with the owner/operator. When he bought the store four years ago it was averaging less than $8,500 a week. Last year they did over a million in sales for the year. The only advertising he did was through doorhanging. Each of his employees did 6-8 hours a week. They had maps on the wall and sections or ‘pods’ set up where they’d hang. Everyone knew a week in advance where they would be hanging each day. Drivers hung two with every delivery they made. They took a hand full and drop them off at video stores, hotels, beer distributors on their way home ! This owner took me doorhanging and he ran door to door hanging coupons. I couldn’t keep up.
He told me that he has other owners from our franchise calling him asking him what he’s doing. He told me that he tells them to doorhang. He said owners will continue to ask him for more ideas as though they are searching for a ‘magic key’.
You’ve got to commit to one thing before looking for other things to do.