over last Friday…and I set my personal daily record.
I wanted to share how invaluable TT has been to me with this shop we just bought. The thing fell into my lap, so I really didn’t know anything about the industry. The first couple weeks of January were horrible and I thought maybe I just wasn’t going to be able to make it work because I’m so new to the business and still learning so much. Fortunately, this forum is here for me to learn, learn, learn. I started last week implementing ideas you all have talked about, or given to me and finally had a huge increase last night across the board (deliveries, carry outs and a little for dine in).
Here’s the kicker, I dropped my prices yesterday. I did some serious thinking during the week and decided that I didn’t want to try and be the “high end” shop in town, even though I firmly believe we make the best pizza in town.
College mens and womens bball teams play our arch rivals tonight, 1/2 a block away. I’m looking to break my new daily record again!
I would be VERY interested in hearing about your business. There are a ton of little towns around here that I think could be really profitable if I could figure out how to make a store run on about $1K a week in sales. Utilities being the major obstacle I see.
Steve some how you need to get some menus out…At this point I suspect all you can do is something very simple…Check Craigslist or Ebay…You will probably find a printer working in his garage…And then hand deliver as many as you can every day…You will make some sales and then you need to capture email addresses from clients…Then come up with a “feature” pizza every so often…Every couple weeks would be a good start and email to your list…Another way to distribute flyers is to look who else in your area does some sort of flyer…See if you can make a deal to include your flyer in exchange for pizza…Good luck…
Royce, I printed up 5k really nice glossy menus before we opened and more than 1/2 of them are already out the door into peoples hands (including businesses). Labor is down to basically nobody and I’m the only one here 90% of the time making it extremely difficult to leave or do any promoting. Its overwhelming to hear what some of the people on these boards to market/promote/advertise/community involvement and then relate what I do (or don’t do) and wonder if we’re ever going to make it lol. I am the worst when it comes to executing ideas or plans.
I can relate to this. Actually, that’s what this thread was about before it got hijacked :lol:. I was able to do some small things that really got things rolling again, at least for one night, but I think I have things going in the right direction. But, when I read people say to “go out and hand out menus”, I really don’t know where to even start. I think if anyone walked into my office and handed me a menu, I’d be annoyed that they thought putting their food in front of me was more important than what I was doing.
It depends on your expenses on how much per week you can afford. We’ve benn staying steady since we took over our new location and havve been able to reduce costs in every aspect including rent which has made it easier on us.
Have to get out there and talk to the local businesses. Since we had been planning a new concept for a while, we stopped most of our advertising and did nothing new since we did not want to invest any more money on the old name/concept. Maybe not the greatest idea, but the whole process just took longer than expected. In any case, that coupled with this economy really put a strain on sales these last few months.
I have one of my guys doorhanging twice a week which has been very effective (free pizza of course) and we have been visiting local businesses about every other day. We go in and say hi and offer them a free pizza to get to know us and our product. And we have not lost a dime on this deal either. At least half the time they wind up ordering $20 to $40 worth of food above the discount of the free pizza. Next week when we go out “visiting” we are going to take one hot pizza for the first visit right before lunch.
My location has been here for twenty years and it is so surprising to hear some of the people we visit say they had never heard of it or seen it. I think for most people it is the hardest thing to do, but getting out there and seeing people face to face is the “most” effective thing you can do. People have preached it hear in the TT and I’ve read the articles but never did it until I’ve been pressed to.
In your circumstance, I know its hard to get out and do this yourself, but what about your wife? kids?
Hopefully you have a POS system that is tracking your customers. Start calling your best customers and thanking them for coming in. You can do that at the store yourself.
I’ve always fancied myself more an operations guy – liking to stay at the back of the house but that is changing quick. Now I try to engage as many people as I can. Ask how their meals are. Tell them you appreciate them coming in. We have a long ways to go but I can sense the results of all this effort in a very short time.
All the other forms of media we discuss in this forum is great, but nothing is as effective as going out into the community as many will attest. Nothing.
Update: We did indeed beat our Friday night on Saturday by about 8%, especially cool considering we have almost no sales on Saturday afternoons. Also, Sunday was up about 50%. Now, just have to keep plugging away, but it’s encouraging to start seeing some results.
Steveo: I hope you’re staying upbeat. I was fortunate enough to take over an established store, I don’t think I ever could have started from scratch. I think one of the best things I did was sit down with a phone book and pick out about 150 businesses that were a)established b)had 5+ employees c)likely paid $10+/hr and then mailed them a menu and a coupon for a free medium pizza with ANY purchase (avg. order is looking like around $15). High rate of return and it’s looking like most people are taking the coupons home and using it for their families.
Hope that gives you an idea that can be executed for around $100 and is a good chance to introduce your product to some prime customers. Next month I’m going to hit every accountant/tax specialist with a free medium pizza. Well paid professionals with no free time and a sense of value/quality for a few months seem like a gold mine to me.
Can you give us a general feel for the dialogue you have with businesses? One of my main struggles is worrying about imposing on other peoples time because I know that I get annoyed with having a new food vendor “stop by” every day or two to talk to me. We are in such a prime location to talk to businesses and enjoy the carry-over to their families, I need to start walking this trail harder. I know so much of this is just good service that an owner can give.
Prime example: I was taking a delivery out tonight and realized the prep forgot to top the box with a menu and magnet, so I went back and added (which could easily be blown off). Delivery happened to be to a study group of nursing majors who wanted more magnets. I joked that they would have to order more pizzas to get extra magnets (while kicking myself for not having extras in my car). I got back to the store and immediately got a second $15 order from that same group. They were lagging behind a huge dine in rush, but I got it out within the hour and added a mistake pie for free. No tip either time, but they called again just to thank me again. You think I have that study group on lock down now?
I’m tempted to adjust responsibilities. Make someone else punch numbers while I slay the deliveries and get the tips.
I think you just have to play to your personality’s strengths when calling. Don’t try to be something you’re not as it will come across as fake or a cheesy sales call. Since I don’t have a personality I have my wife handle most of it. Walking into a place is probably easier as they know why you are there right away since you are carrying menus with “free” pizza coupons. Except for some attitude from the law offices, we get a good reception. Its really just something along the lines of introducing yourself.
Phone calls are obviously a little more difficult as they don’t know who you are until you explain yourself but we have not have a negative experience to date. We like to call our best customers and thank them for coming in and ask if they have been in to see our recent remodel, how has their experience been, etc. We also call people who have not been in in a while. Some people on our dormant list have actually still been coming in only they have been using a different phone number or have been coming in directly. We had a guy last night who just said he has been pizzad out. My wife let him know that we have many other items on the menu to offer and told him about our website. She enticed him with a free pizza just to come down and check out the new store and menu.
My wife is a real people person so this is natural for her to do. Everything was discussed about the business and customers ahead of time so she could carry an informed conversation. I’m sure I could handle this but its my weakness and we know in business its best to surround yourself with people that make up for this.