Throwing My Hands Up!!

Alot of people have been talking about having rough days or even weeks on the board. That’s what has been happenig to us. Sales in our little store haven’t picked up like they did last year. We’ve been doing the advertising, although the specials aren’t as good as our grand opening specials, which can make a difference. We haven’t made major changes to the recipes. And we’re told that we have the best pizza in the area.

But the customer counts have taken a plunge. We’re only a delco, and i refined the daytime hours to 4pm because 95% of our sales were at night. And the only major change we did, was start taking mondays off due to the fact we would like a day off a week since it’s just my wife and i.

I was taught, there always has to be a reason why something’s not happening. But, I can’t seem to figure it out. Except for one major thing, the fact that there are 2 more pizza places in the area that wasn’t there last year, and one is major chain and one is a local chain.

I’m looking to either part out the store or sell it as is, I’m not sure. Honestly, I want it to keep going and hopefully, we’re in a slump, but I don’t know, its discouraging!!

Thanks for letting me vent.

UR Not by yourself !!!

You had Jets pizza move in just up the road from you on West River DR. I guarantee they are swallowing up all your business. That place has terrible food but they are a fricken monster when it comes to sales. Sorry to hear your not doing well :frowning:

Steve,

That’s the national chain I was talking about. There’s foreclosures going on in the neighborhood as well as the robbery that happened next door at Ogies. The neighborhood seems to be going downhill. 2 businesses moved out across the street as well.

If you know anyone, i’m willing to make a deal to move it quick!!

Do you have an email contact that you can be reached at… We were in a similiar situation last year w/ a hungry howies and Now Papa Romanos. We lost 90% of our target market and had to drastically change directions… we are up almast 200% over our huge loss.

Do you have an email contact that you can be reached at… We were in a similiar situation last year w/ a hungry howies and Now Papa Romanos. We lost 90% of our target market and had to drastically change directions… we are up almast 200% over our huge loss.

I, and I’m sure everyone else, would be interested to know how you achieved this. It is always interesting hearing how small independents compete with big chains - the strategies to be employed, what worked and what didn’t etc.

please let us know how did you do it… in same situation with Little Ceaser and Pizza hut, domino and other in same block of our pizzaria…
Thanks

Please don’t throw your hands up Think UNIQUE and don’t compete with other shops; compete with other restaurants. It’s more than fantastic pizza, it’s fantastic food.

I’ve walked in similar shoes and managed to sell. Some people are fantastic culinary artists and born for this business and some are not. It’s almost a year now since I sold and I sincerely miss it. However, l would NEVER do it again. In my area, the market was saturated but when the word of mouth is good, it’s a given.

GREAT Quality, Fantastic Customer Service and as much Speed as you can get together without impacting the former two.

Hang in there

PD

[quote=“steve12”]
That place has terrible food but they are a fricken monster when it comes to sales.

People must love terrible food if they are doing so well in sales.

George Mills

Here’s the thing, if you have the marketing dollars to put out every week in mailers, tv, and newspaper, who are you going to remember more?

I can’t afford all the big bucks like it takes to do that kind of marketing. We’re done in this location. Anyone looking for a good place cheap, let me know.

Thanks for all your help and advice.

This is Pizza not brain surgery if your sales are not enough for you to make a really good income something is wrong. The product you serve might be poor or as bad if not worse inconsistent, the service the customers recieve again is poor or inconsistent, or your marketing is again poor or inconsistent. I spend very little on marketing but I do alot of it. I do just about 100% unconventional marketing. I do zero tv, radio, newspaper, advo etc. I go out and meet people and I talk talk talk about my business. I go into schools, business, churchs, fire departments, local charities and I give give and give it comes back 100 fold. Don’t sit and moan get up and beat the street. I dedicate one day a week to marketing. I go to one pizza show a year, I read read read about the pizza business. The more educated you are the better you will be and the more money you will make. Just my two cents good luck and make lots of money!!

scott,

thanks for your 2 cents. i love how you ASSUME its the pizza. Pizza is not rocket science, it’s pizza. Consistency matter. Alot of places do not stay consistent. We always have and will. We sell a great product, do our ads, but have you ever heard of the economy? It’s bad in the area I’m in. Alot of the shops are struggling, and not just in pizza. Plus, as it was pointed out earlier, there’s too many pizza places in the area and my little store is limited on its fu
nctions and volume.

We’ve done what we can here, and like i said, it’s time to move on.

From what we have heard from 2 others in Michigan, the marketplace is making a radical shift. It seems that the saturation point is dropping and some places are going to go out of business that used to be profitable. To many fish in a shrinking pond.

That creates a specific set of challenges for the businesses intending to survive. They have to be the most valued and/or indispensable entities in the marketplace. Let’s assume for discussion sake that everyone is trying to produce great food and great service. Even all the great food/service places are going to be fighting for market share in the shrinking available market.

How does he carve out his share and thrive? I personally believe that strong connections to the community and other groups will survive. It is the NETWORKING element of entrepreneurial triad that will strengthen the business. More connections to more groups and community elements (like schools, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Chamber of Commerce) will build a foundation of recognition and communications about the benefits of your services and products.

Sure, marketing will work . . . but everyone is marketing the conventional ways. Be seen as an essential social and community icon that is valued and seen giving back to the marketplace. It can be done without big money investment as long as you are creative and partner with these groups.

EXAMPLE: Ever hosted or sponsored a Red Cross Blood drive? How about with a Scout Unit of some flavor looking to do a service project? Winter shortage season is coming. Double the value . . . and news release/free advertising value that cannot be measured.

The thing with the pizza business is we coupon too much. We have educated the public to NEVER EVER pay full price for pizza. It is our own fault.
No other fast food / restaurant does to itself what the pizza industry does.
Here is what a coupon says: Do not pay full price for my product, ever.
My product is completely worth full price. I am proud of the product I produce, the service we offer, and the price point. I stopped couponing years ago, and my sales went up…up…up. The customer viewed our product as superior. It took a while, but it worked.
Now, do not mistake couponing with image branding. We keep our name and logo out there all the time. And, I will offer “specials”, but never ever do I tell my customer to pay less for my pizza then it is worth.
My hope is one day the pizza industry will stand up and say “enough is enough”, we offer a desired product, at a fair price, with good customer service…time to pay for it.
Pizza is the top dog - and yet we continue to bastardize ourselves.
Side note: I know there are those out there who price their product to handle couponing…that makes more sense. And, I know we have to battle the Big 3. But, it puts people out of business, because as was mentioned earlier, people will eat crap…as long as it is the best deal.
Last point - I have been in the pizza business for over 18 years.
Sammy - B.

Sammy-B, balls to you for that post.

It’s good to see someone saying what you said.

I have taken a stand and said “enough is enough”.

We launched our new menu / price list yesterday and we cut down on the number of offers we previously had, we cut out te half price drink or garlic bread and just replace it with a garlic bread for $2 with any deal (picked up an extra 50 cents on this alone).

We lifted the deal prices as well as our general prices.

In saying this we are fortunate to have a strong customer base without any real local competition threats - Domino’s and PH are seen as a different market to us (their customers wouldn’t buy from me because of price and our customers wouldn’t buy from them because of quality) and the indies around me are not very well patronised. We do have a dominance in our area, something we work very hard to maintain and build on.

With all the recent cost increases I just can’t justify giving stuff away at reduced margins just to say I have xyz number of customers more than the next guy. I have break even cost points and profit targets I NEED and REQUIRE to return to me to stay in business and give myself a living and money reserves for expansion and/or refurbishment.

I guess unlike a lot of you guys my market is not totally price driven and competition is not of a pizza shop on every corner, plus we don’t have to open from 10am to 11pm to get our dollars in.

We do great product and give great value and pride ourselves with every item we put out. If it doesn’t look good it gets re-made and the customer is told, “sorry it wasn’t good enough and we are re-making it”. They appreciate it and are OK to wait an extra 10 minutes to get a top product for the price they pay.

We have grown 28% this year to date (without any price rises) and are 12 months in front of where we planned in our business plan. Last week we were only $50 short of hitting $12k for the first time which would have had us 50% up on the average week for last year. I wouldn’t been able to do it by “giving the farm away”.

Dave

Just to clear something up about economy and competition. My three shops are in western PA which has as high a saturation of pizza shops per capita as any place in the country and an economy that is as bad as any place in the county. I flourish while most shops in my area talk about how bad things are for them. I guess I am just lucky. Good luck and make lots of money !!!

Thanks Dave!
That is the approach I have taken for a long time, and it works. But, I supppose it won’t work for everyone because of the long standing coupon addiction the industry has created.
Some of the very people who told me, or my staff, that they will never order from us again (when we stopped couponing), are regular customers today.
And, we too hold our product to a high standard. As was mentioned above, we won’t let a pie go out that is anything but top notch in appearance, etc., and we also call the customer (or tell them if in store) it will be a bit longer because it was not up to our standards.
I have felt this way for a long long time, and know it flies in the face of a lot of operators. This is not to say you can’t create awesome specials, features, or limited time only deals…I just won’t offer my product for $2-3 less then it is worth.
To each their own, I guess.
Sammy B.

Amen…I have 2 of the Big 3 in my small community. I do not cheapin my pizza by couponing. It may sound irrogant but I put out a quality product that deserves top dollar and I don’t deliver.
Thinking back years ago…I was passing through Dalton, GA and I don’t know about anyone else but I make it a habit to visit small town pizzeria but anyway my point is they had a sign posted “Our pizza is to good to be delivered” and guess who was their competition across the street the Big D. Now I haven’t been back there in years but I would venture to say they are still in business because they believed in what they served and themselves. If you have a great product and you believe in yourself and your establishment you can overcome this obstacle. You have to market yourself as well as your product therefore take one day a week hit the streets…good luck

We started with our new prices last Wednesday and haven’t had one complaint or adverse comments. Some people asked for their usual $23.90 2 large pizza deal and the half price garlic bread or drink. We just said there is a new menu and the price is $25.50 plus $2 for the garlic bread. They just OK, that’s fine.

I happened to get the phone on an order and told them of the new prices and the reply was, “I was wondering when you would be putting prices up”.

We finished the week just shy of $12K and $15 behind our best week, so we didn’t lose any customers… but … we made about and extra $900 in profit ( just about enough to cover the huge price increase in cheese :smiley: )

For those doubters all I can say is bite the bullet and go for it.

Dave