The "hook" offer?

Hey everyone,

I am getting ready to do a fairly decent marketing campaign, and will be putting a push on door hanging and direct mail. My big hurdle right now is determining what “hook” offer to go with on the fliers. Here is what I am debating between (keep in mind my food cost on a cheese pie is right around the $2.00 mark, and I typically run a $10 Any Way special).

Large 1 Topping Pizza for $7 - The thing I like about this offer is the price point. $7 is the type of price point that even if you’ve heard bad things, or nothing about the place, you are still confident that you will get your monies worth. This will help encourage people to atleast give us a try, and determine where our pizza fits into their value scale. At the end of the day, even if they only order once a month (that is how often I will be sending out the fliers rotating weekly between 4 areas), then I am still making money off of their order. What I don’t like is that it could reduce the perceived value of my product to current loyal customers.

Buy One Get One Free Large ($9.99 Cheese - $15.99 Specialty RMP) - I like that this one incorporates the word free, as it always gets attention. I also like that it comes across as a great trial value. What I don’t like is that it will be going out every month which may keep people waiting for this special. I also don’t like that the overall profit is lower than the $7 option if they only get 1 topping or cheese.

Large 1 Topping + 2 Liter for $10 - I like that this sounds like an overall good value, a large pizza and soda for $10 can feed 4 people at $2.5 a person. That’s a solid deal. I don’t like that it is a higher price point so it may deter some people who maybe do not want the soda and do not find it a value.

If everyone could weigh in on their option of these three, and any other general ideas or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!


It seems you like ‘how it sounds.’ But, in practice, ‘how it sounds’ has very little, if any business value. I don’t really go for these ‘deals’ but you know your market better than me. If your market is constantly chasing ‘how it sounds deals’ then this will only end one way. Although its not your question, have you considered good value without having to chase the ‘deal’ rabbit? Hope it works for you.

When does $7 become $8 in the mind of the buyer? $6.95 is $7, isn’t it? How about $7.25? That’s still $7. How about $7.34? Still $7, for most people.

$7 doesn’t turn into $8 until surprisingly close to the $8 mark for the greatest plurality of consumers.

Maybe have a “Jumbo Jet” Special for $7.47 and add almost 7% to your ticket price?

You can decide when $7 becomes $8, but I don’t see any reason to not price up to that point.

If you think discounting draws in people who will convert to your regular pricing later because your pizza is so delicious, well, I think that might be wishful thinking. You’re more than likely just attracting cheapskates who will order a large mud, gravel and cheese pizza from your competitor if the price is right.

I don’t know why it is, but it seems like the cheapskate customers are the hardest ones to satisfy anyway. Maybe there’s a secret underground list of cheapskate complaints that is circulated. There might even be an international cheapskate association (ICA) with a monthly newsletter of tips on how to annoy and whine about every little thing.

So, I advise caution and some deep thinking about price points and your market, which we know nothing about. Not all markets are the same and not all businesses have the same position goal within that market.

What makes you different than any of your competitors? You didn’t say that, so I can’t comment on your marketing “campaign.” Price only can be a hook, but it’s a dangerous hook that can pull you into the abyss. I’m not saying that there isn’t a market for cheap food. There is, but an independent owner competing against large chains in the cheap food market can be a rough and dangerous road.

I find out why new customers call in their first order. Our drivers do that when it’s delivered. The top two reasons are 1) someone recommended us, 2) The food looked delicious in the photos on our flyers. Investing in good photos is worth it.

Buy one and get one free? That just tells the customer that you use such cheap ingredients that you could sell for half price and still make money. I just don’t understand that as a marketing concept.

Please feel free to disregard this post. This will be my last post here at the Think Tank anyway. I’ve gotten private messages that I’m an “idiot,” and I think you should never listen to an idiot. :smiley:

Good luck and Sayonara~

I was told by someone at some point in time (I’m getting too old to remember when or who) NEVER REDUCE THE VALUE OF YOU MAIN PRODUCT. You are better off giving a free add on item because the perception of a free $4 item is different than a $4 discount on your pizza.

Keep the hook offer just that, a temporary opening offer. A constant discount damages both sales and margins, double edge sword.

Giving discounts doesn’t automatically get customers in, you still need to spend on marketing but as your discount make you less per order you need to be busier, so more marketing, higher staff bills to cope with and higher food wastage due to mess and remakes caused by rushed work.

We have massively increased our sales and margins since charging more, we do have fewer customers so our wage bill is lowers as well which again increases our net profit. You don’t want all the pizza consumers, you just want the profitable ones.

pizza_garden right about the photos, we market without discounts now. We create products unavailble anywhere else locally and then photo them ourselves so when our competitors catch-up with what we are doing they all have to the same old stock photos.

Also note: there will always be a business on the way out that will undercut you, so don’t build a model on price.

Thank you very much for the feedback guys. To add a little insight to those who said knowing my market and goals would help, I am in a small town with a couple of “New York” style pizza shops, and all the regular chains like Domino’s, Papa John’s, Hungry Howie’s, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesars.

My whole business goal is to be a mid priced affordable product (somewhere in the ball park of Papa John’s pricing) with a quality product for what you pay. Whether or not that is doable as an independent I do not know (My training was with Papa John’s, I worked there for almost 4 years).

At this time I do use a deck oven but I am looking to switch over to a conveyor as it fights more with my long term goals.

From what I’ve seen I do feel I’d like to stay away from getting in to that set place where I constantly have to “give away” my product, and it seems that there is more to be said for a consistent value marketing of telling the customer what the product is worth as opposed to dropping it to what the other guys are charging so I may stick more to my Large 1 Topping + 2 Liter for $10, and other bundle deals that incorporate a small (a couple dollars max) discount on some side items.

Thank you for the input, any further ideas would be welcome!

The only thing I would add is that if you are planning on producing a low price-point offer, be sure to print all over your advertising pieces that is is a “LIMITED TIME OFFER”. You absolutely do NOT want to get stuck with a constant $10 ticket average and 40% food costs. You can never earn a living that way.

You might even think about adding an expiration date (maximum 2 week shelf life) to create a sense of urgency with your customers. Make sure all boxes in your store are box topped with more profit-friendly specials. I would suggest: single pizza, carryout pizza, two pizzas, and a combo deal (this way you cover all bases from family, to singles, to bottom feeders)

Remember, these extremely aggressive offers are not intended to create profit. They’re intended to create new customers by giving them a huge incentive to try your business. That’s the easy part. Anybody can throw an offer out there to generate customer response. The trick is to get these customers to keep coming back. That is done through a fantastic product, out of this world customer service, and the most important: customer interaction and feedback.

Good luck,


Maybe put a coupon offer in the paper and use the opportunity to thank your regular customers and open the offer to new customers.
Tie it to some event like 10 years in business.
Could be worded such as:
To thank our many loyal customers and introduce our excellent pizza to new customers, we are offering for a limited time our xxx" pizza on the week of our 10th anniversary in business.

This way your regulars will feel that they get a bonus offer for being loyal and your not reducing your quality.