Your Best Box Top Promotion?

I’m writing an upcoming PMQ article about box top promos/marketing and looking for success stories.

If you have a great example of a box topper that brought in a ton of customers or helped you increase sales, I want to hear about it!

Email me at by Wednesday, January 7.


Box toppers do not “bring in customers”. By their very nature being delivered to the customer on the box they already bought they are offers targeted at your existing customers and therefor need to be offers you are happy to live with on a regular basis. They are excellent for building order frequency. They can be used to introduce new products or entice customers to use online ordering the first time. They can also be used to raise your average ticket… all worthy endevours.

Its all we do. 1 menu for every order. A few extra for big orders. People seem to never throw them away. We get orders from people who have them from 5 or more years back.

Great ideas, Bodegahwy! Do you have an example of a particular offer that worked well for you?

Hey PizzaPirate, are you including coupons on the menus? How are you tracking who is using the menus?

Yes we do a few coupons.

A double deal for each size (2 topping)
A double deal for specialty pizzas
A pizza and wing combo
A pizza and salad combo
A pizza and cheese bread combo

We have other coupons in the computer so no matter what the customer wants, we can apply a coupon and give them a good deal. It brings up order frequency and positive word of mouth by doing so. We rarely charge full price for and order.

We also have a catering price where we discount the pizzas a little more. The customer has to order 3 or more pizzas. About 20% of our sales come from this.

I don’t currently track anything. I have in the past and found that the coupons listed above accounted for about 95% of our business. So that’s what we go with.

Not to get too far off topic, but I’m curious.
Do you feel that coupon/discounts were a big part of building your business? In other words, would you go the same route if you had to do it all over again? I know you guys make a decent amount of pies (I think I read 1200 on Saturday?) but i also believe your product sells for almost half of what we get for ours. We never discount, but I’ve always toyed with the idea, but is making double the product for half the cost a gain or just more work?

I would say “yes” I would do it the same. But that’s because its what our market demands. We are a delco so people expect a lower price. People want “specials” that’s what we give them. If you don’t need to coupon don’t do it. You will never be able to go back.

And yes it is more work. I like it that way. The bigger picture for me is that the higher volume creates more opportunities for our people. Our managers for the most part have purchased their own homes and started families. It is much easier to keep good people around if there is a lot of work for them. Our goal going forward is to create more income opportunities for our people and the higher volume is what creates that.

We have taken a different route with our boxtoppers. We do a mini newsletter that changes each month to top our boxes. It’s a way for us to communicate special news, promotions, hiring notices, and also include a couple of coupons to use the next time they order. Since we change them each month, our customers are reading them to find out what’s going on at our shop. It’s not the same old boxtopper with coupons and fancy pictures that the customer just tunes out each time they order because they always look the same. It’s also a way for us to connect to our customers on a more personal level AND still get our message out.

I like this idea. Do you have a copy of the newsletter that you could send to me at A .pdf version perhaps?

Could you send me a copy of one of your box toppers (pdf, high-res photo) to

We have run coupons on our box topper since day one. The basic offers stay the same:

  1. Free pint of Ben & Jerry’s with a 16" pie for delivery or carryout.
  2. $3 OFF a carry-out order that includes a 14" or 16" pizza

We have several other offers we rotate through such as 1/2 price order of wings, 1/2 price family size salad, 3X 20oz sodas free… each of these requires purchase of a 16" pizza.

We used a $2 off any order coupon for years, but that has fallen off quite a bit as the basic price of a pizza has gone up a lot in 16 years and the perceived value is not there.

I’d go for the pint of ice cream every time! Thanks!

how do you keep employees from turning in coupons ( false ) and keeping the cash ??? I’ve had this problem before, and havn’t done coupons for 15 years - it also slows the transaction time. I REALLY liked what David had to say about his increased opportunities for his people,i’ve never looked at this from his angle, felt as though someone has awakened me from a long sleep,


Very important: 19 out of 20 times that I am thinking my employees are being dishonest… I am wrong. The problem is something else, most often cash handling or reporting process… i.e. training. (In my opinion, when employees do things wrong the fault is most often mine… i.e. training was not sufficient)

When it does actually occur, in my experience the most common scenario for coupon theft is the driver bringing in coupons that the customer “forgot to mention” on the phone and getting them added to the transaction. Do customers forget to mention coupons? Absolutely they do, so you have to provide for giving the customer service while protecting yourself from the scam you are concerned with all while giving your employee the benefit of the doubt. (As Reagan said “trust but verify”)

In order for the scam to work the employee has to present one price to the customer and be paid for it and only be responsible to the till for a lower price which means they have to be able to change the order after it is rung up or cause it to be changed. If you have a full featured POS system and good employee training and policies a lot of the false coupon thing is solved. Here is why:

A good POS system will easily show you the orders that were changed after they were placed including having coupons added or changed and who changed them. Our POS system is set to require a manager password to add a coupon after the order is first entered. (or to do anything else that changes the price). If you are seeing orders changed in this fashion it is time to ask questions.

This driver/front counter scam really only works on orders that were placed without a coupon or where the coupon is changed to a better one. Nearly all coupons are mentioned at the point the order is placed. With training of staff to ask if the customer has any coupons this rises to nearly 100% making it very tough for a driver to say the customer forgot to mention the coupon. At the counter, for pick-up, a manager has to come put the password in to add the coupon, so the customer would be standing there. This has never been an issue for us.

I ask first about training and then about other potential process issues: “Why are so many orders needing to be changed” “Is there a problem with one of the offers we use or an employee entering orders that is not clear on how to do it?” ALWAYS err on the side of your employees being honest because for the most part they ARE. If you can not narrow down the problem to training or some process issue, figure out who is having to have a lot of coupons entered and ask the managers that made the changes about them. We see a coupon added after the fact a few times a week… as in 2-3 times, in the normal course of business. Since we have a bunch of drivers this means that any one driver might have to bring a coupon back once or twice a month. A driver that has “forgotten” coupons at check-out every shift is suspicious… but only if your systems are good enough that it does not legitimately occur more often.

  1. Train order taker employees to get the orders in the system with the coupons to begin with.
  2. Require a password to make changes to orders in the POS once they are entered.
  3. Track changes to orders using your POS and investigate in a way that maintains respect for your employees by first assuming that any issue is NOT dishonesty.
  4. We require that drivers who arrive at the delivery and are given a coupon that was not on the order call in for a new total while they are at the door. It is not acceptable to produce coupons at checkout.
  5. If I am in serious doubt about a coupon being added to the order, I can call the customer and ask something like: “My employee miss-entered the coupon you used last night. For tracking my marketing, could you please remind me what it was?”

The bottom line for me is that while I am sure that I have been taken from time to time for a small amount of money in this way, the productivity of this business model far outweighs this small risk. It is a heck of a lot easier for an employee to take home $10 worth of groceries from the store or even to simply take $10 out of the till than it is to scam coupons on a long term basis. I would not let this risk stop me from using something that works any more than I would mess with having a padlock on my walk-in.

Thank You Steve !