I want to open a pizzeria and was wondering what you would recommend…light an atomic bomb style marketing in the beginning or a gradual steady marketing in the beginning and plateau?
unless you can guarantee you can handle it the the first approach is likely to end in tears. Better to start of slow and build and don’t forget to try new things.
I have heard that a soft opening works the best (it worked for me) because it gives you the time to work things out. Your first impression on the customers is a one time shot and if you mess it up it takes more effort to get a second chance.
The method that has been suggested here in the forum many times is pick a number of houses to target each week and hit that many houses on a rotating basis. This is so you hit each potential customer in your area every 3 or 4 without being overworked all at once.
I hope this answers your question.
I totally agree with Daddio and would add that normally in a ‘soft opening’ you tend to do no or very little direct marketing in the first week (or are you in a bar?) and see what the word of mouth is. You don’t want to be rammed in the first few weeks so you can get all your problems ironed out and staff totally up to speed.
I had some great opening weeks with no marketing at all other than the store window, word of mouth etc once we’d got a feel for the likely volume we implemented our marketing plan based on our opening volume and gradually started to build our sale volume.
I’ve been involved with the opening of a number of stores, and in every case, we had a very quiet, unannounced opening, and believe me, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. This allows you and your staff to sort things out, and gain proficiency dealing with people and making pizzas, as well as getting used to your new equipment. In just about every case, we made the decision not to proceed with an announced grand opening because within a week of taking in our first customer, the store was literally packed, and we figured there was nothing to gain, except for the saving of a few dollars of advertising fees. Better to start slow, impress your customers, allowing them to spread the good word that you’re open, and then follow up with some type of advertised customer appreciation event in 6-months or a year.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
I had two soft opens and wouldn’t have it any other way. If it’s slow you can always get advertising out fairly quickly… you can’t take it back once it goes!