Hey all. Anyways to make this short I took over operations of a chain store over a year ago and in that time was able to send it in the right direction(took over in the middle of double digit negative sales comps). Currently I have been able to reverse it to almost double digit positive comps. So things are going good now but I am coming up against a huge wall. We have 2 stores in a town of 55000 with 7 other competitors. there is a huge potential in this town because we useto do about 25% more orders than we currently do. Problem was that for about a year and a half there was a string of bad management and bad service. And this seems to have put a sour taste in a lot of peoples mouths. Our reputation seems to be severely injured. We are planning a customer appreciation day with a live remote in a couple months, any ideas on reputation building?

I am experiencing the same thing, just keep doing what you’re doing. Provide great service, take care of your customers. Get the word out that you’re under new management. Rebuilding a reputation takes time, unfortunately it takes very little time to destroy a reputation. The biggest thing is to get the word out that you’re under new management and then come up with some marketing ideas to get people back in and when they come in win them back with superior service and great food.

Sometimes it’s better to give birth than raise the dead.

Think about a name change.

I have seen multiple pizzerias encounter this very problem and the solution is, for the most part, cut and dry.

Step 1- On every piece of marketing/advertsing material that comes out about your store, you MUST indicate boldy under new ownership and management.

Step 2- Redesign the appearance of your store. Put some money into adding new paint, wall paper, wood trim, counters, tables, tiles, etc. to give it the clear appearance that a change has arrived…for the better. Get the workers brand new uniforms of a new color. Redesign the logo/image as necessary. Revise the menus and box topper designs.

Step 3- Gear up for a big re-grand opening campaign. This should come 1-2 months after the change of ownership has occurred. Use this time to plan and arrange for advertising, re-training the staff and hiring of new staff, creation of new policies and/or procuedures, etc.

Step 4- Host the grand re-opening. Have some kind of carry-out/walk-in special that requires people to come to your store and see your renovations. Make sure everyone has their game face on. Make it a fun and family event. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a grand opening for a new store, but it should be an event. Free sampling always works well, especially for new/specific items you want to try pushing.

Step 5- Ensure every single visitor to your store during the event receives your marketing/promotional materials. This means magnets, menus, coupons or offers, etc. Have some kind of drawing that requires people to submit their names and contact information to form a new mailing list of people who have already experienced the new grandeur of the store.

Good luck to you!