We recently purchased an existing pizza shop (take out/delivery only) that was known for cheaper prices ( $5.00 large 1 item) and less quality. We have purchased better cheeses, meats, etc…, and have raised the prices. Business has gone down, (we have had some neg feedback on the price change), I assume it is due to the increased prices. We have had the pizzeria now for about 11 months, when can we expect an increase back in business or can we? We are marketing differently now (traditional Italian, olive oil based pizzas, prosciutto, etc), hopefully the customer will see a better value for their money. Thanks in advance

Years back we bought a pizzeria known for cheap 2 for 1 pizzas…When we took over we increased our prices 40% by eliminating 2 for 1 and within a few months we were making more profits than the previous owners…There is no magic formula for when your changes will start to work (or work at all)…Get menus out to the houses you serve…Offer up free pizzas at random to customers that have not ordered since you took over…Re-inforce the quality of your offerings in all your marketing efforts…For example, are you using well designed full colour menus?..Good luck…

[when can we expect an increase back in business or can we?

not necessarilly…it all depends on your market and the competition within your market for that particular customer who is willing to pay more for quality

I always think of Orestes in Greek mythology when I read these sorts of situations. He was cursed by the furies for the grievous sins his father had committed. In the story.he bore the curse with integrity and no whining . . . impressed the gods who then removed the curse.

Anyhow . . . you are paying for the “sins” of those who came before you. Always the risk of buying an existing shop is living with the market identity of the previous owners, whether good or bad. The sad truth is that the market may never forget and let you change the place around. Or, it may take years for you to get there.

It really all depends on your relationship and identity with the customers . . . and who you identify as your customer base. You could theoretically re-establish a whole new customer base, but that is time consuming, expensive and not always possible either.

Have you tried a “half step” where you do some of the previous things the customers are demanding as well as the stuff you want to build into your business? you may simply have left your customers behind moving too fast too quickly . . . I don’t know for certain with what you’ve told us.

Change your name…start a wss mailing program and watch the money pour in…


Maybe the scenario is something like this. Maybe the previous owner had a customer base that was drawn by cheap pizza and deals. It sounds like you are not making cheap pizza and not offering the big deals. If these circumstances are true then would it not follow that the cheap pizza, hot deals customers are not your customers? Would it not follow that you must now build up your own new customer base that is attracted to your quality?
It would seem that you are essentially starting a new pizza business EXCEPT that you have to attract and convince people in the area that the quality is now at a much higher level. I would imagine that this process is more difficult than opening a brand new location somewhere. If I see a place that sells cheap and low quality pizza I might try it but once I have confirmed it is not good pizza that location, that building is going to be fixed in my mind as something I do not like and it is going to take something special or significant to get me to notice and then to stop again.[/url]

If you are changing the business model and the product you should change the name too.

The comment above is right on the money; the customer the old owner had is not the customer you are gunning for. Some of them may stick with you when they discover the value of better product, but for the most part, go out and find new customers and tell them your story. If they dealt with the old store and did not care for it, having a different name will help overcome their past experience, if they never dealt with old store having a new name will make no difference at all.

Totally agree with the two previous comments. When I bought an existing pizzeria, I bought it with the intention to change every thing about it, including the customers. I was able to change the vibe of the previous owner by investing a lot of time and money in changing the decor and developing an image of quality. It worked and sales doubled in 6 months and then stayed steady for the remainder of the year and a half before I sold it. The person I sold it to, did a total 180 and decided to cheapen the ingredients after he paid me lots of money for an established business. His sales dropped and within a year and a half lost everything. So, sorry if you are feeling like an idiot but the reality is this, you gotta do something really big to get people to see you really changed for the better. You need to be like the old Crazy Eddie but talk quality! Good luck.

Wow. That was a blast from the past. Crazy Eddie ?!?!?!? My father was in the music business and it seemed like anytime he needed some kind of equipment we’d drive 90 miles from upstate NY into NJ to go to Crazy Eddie’s. His prices were INNNNNNSSAAAAAANNNNNNEEE!!!

Or at least they were insane until he got in trouble for not paying his taxes and he lost everything. :wink:

See on of his commercials here:

You need to educate your potential customers. Tell them exactly what you are telling us. You need to let them know that the pizza shop is under new ownership. Tell them about your product. How you’re buying the the very best, high quality ingredients, etc. The best way to do this is to send every one in your town a personal letter telling them everything that you are telling us and then some. Include a risk free offer that they can’t refuse along with a menu. Send out about 2,000 or so a week until you’ve canvased your entire trade area.

You need to recreate the image of your shop. You have to continuously brand your shop as high quality. Every piece of marketing and advertising that you do should center on the theme of high quality.

Give your shop a new look (redecorate, new paint scheme, theme, ect). If you don’t have one already, come up with a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that screams high quality pizza! If you’re not familiar with what a USP is, think Papa John’s: Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.

These are just a few things that you can do to improve the image of your shop. Just remember, most of the people in your town probably have no idea that you are using better ingredients than the previous owners so that’s why you need to educate them. Good luck.

hey td,

that was a blast to see!! thanks for link!