The Pizza Insider: February 2014

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

3 Big Marketing Mistakes--and How to Fix Them

This week, The Pizza Insider turns to Linda Duke, owner of Duke Marketing, PMQ’s resident marketing maven, and author of Recipes for Restaurateurs, for advice on potential marketing mistakes and how you can easily bring new customers—and increased sales—through the door by giving away something you make every day.

1.     What are three marketing mistakes currently being made by most pizzeria operators? 

a.    Not getting out of their stores to generate sales.
b.    Not being actively involved with their business on a day-to-day basis.
c.    Not spending any money or food cost to promote their brand.

2.     What are three proven ways to bring more customers through the door?

a.     Get out into the community with pizza and menus to drop them off at large businesses and generate large sales.
b.    Get more involved in your restaurant and motivate your crew to be more involved and provide great service.
c.     Always be marketing---take pizza to area businesses, post photos and engage guests on Facebook, and get creative with original promotions.

3. What percentage of profit should be put back into marketing each month, and where is the most valuable place to spend it?  

Operators should plan to spend at least 2% of their gross sales on marketing. Many will find that they spend less than 1%, and that is a mistake with so much competition today. The most valuable place to spend marketing money is with food—taking pizzas to generate news at TV and radio stations, generating catering sales and large to-go orders all by dropping off pizza! Get your food into people’s mouths!

4. Can you give an example of a great marketing promotion that brought in a lot of business?

Giving the First 100 Guests Free Pizza for a Year at a grand opening and again on their anniversary. Guests love to eat for free, and the promotion should be advertised on radio, newspaper and Facebook-social channels. The first 100 guests share their prize and spread the word.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Online Ordering Tips from Stan Garber

Are you currently utilizing online ordering in your pizzeria?

This week, The Pizza Insider asks Stan Garber, partner at ONOSYS Online Ordering, about the latest advances in online ordering as well as his tips and advice for promoting it.

1. What are some of the latest advances in online ordering?
Mobile. It’s by far the biggest growth area that we’ve seen in 2013. Over 50% of Americans now have access to a smartphone and those customers have no hesitation in placing orders. Our customers are seeing mobile orders make up 20-30% of their total online ordering sales. That’s enormous growth from only a few percent in 2012.

2. How can pizzeria operators best utilize online ordering?
Online ordering is also a great customer relationship management tool. You’ll know when, what, and how they are looking at your pizzeria. If you can tie it together with a loyalty program, email marketing and social media, then you have a direct communication link to your best customers.  

3. What's the best way to promote an online ordering option?
Make sure all of your marketing materials are labeled with online ordering. One simple but often overlooked area is employee awareness. Have your employees champion the product because it’s there to make their lives easier. At the end of an order they should always inform the guest that they can now place future orders online.

4. Can you share some tips for getting customers to order more items during an online order?
Take the time to develop an online menu with key upsells and modifiers. Think of the online ordering system as your perfect employee. If you take the time to configure the menu/layout correctly, it will do the rest. Additionally, with coupons being a big revenue driver we have found that giving customers the ability to upgrade within a coupon helps drive a higher ticket size (i.e., for an extra $3, upgrade to an extra-large pizza).

5. For those considering adding online ordering, why should they do it?
In today’s market, you need online ordering to stay competitive. A majority of the top pizza operators have rolled out, or are piloting, an online ordering solution. Online ordering for pizza operators has the largest impact to their overall sales among our client mix. Our pizza clients are seeing online ordering sales make up 25% to 35% of their total sales.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

USDA Releases Pizza Survey

Photo: Liz Barrett
Pizza data was released the other day by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conjunction with the Food Surveys Research Group. While it appears that the survey took place between 2007 and 2010, it still lends important insights into the eating patterns and nutritional content of pizza, according to USDA findings.

The survey, which polled more than 17,000 people, found, among other things:

  • One in eight Americans (or 13%) consumed pizza on any given day.
  • A higher percentage of males consumed pizza than females on any given day.
  • More than half (59%) of pizza consumption occurs in the home.
  • For adults, the majority of pizza was consumed at dinner, while for children the distribution was similar for lunch and dinner.

To view the survey results in their entirety, click here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Should Take-and-Bake Pizzas Be Taxed?

This is the question that many states have been asking lately.

Is take-and-bake pizza considered a prepared food or a grocery item? Most states charge tax on food that's sold ready to eat, while food that you must prepare at home is not taxed.

The question was initially raised by take-and-bake chain Papa Murphy's, which has stores in several states, all with different laws when it comes to taxing prepared vs. nonprepared foods. The company just wants a solution that can be used across all of its stores.

The tax base on goods has shrunken dramatically since the 1960s, leaving many states searching for new and creative ways to tax services and goods. 

I asked around and got differing opinions on whether or not take-and-bake pizzas should be taxed. 

"Taxing pizza should be against the law. It's a no win for pizzerias," --Tom Feltenstein,

“Take and bake pizza isn’t ready to eat, so it shouldn’t be taxed as if it was a finished product. It’s not a dish you have the option of eating before it’s baked. Places like Papa Murphy’s are selling raw ingredients that just happen to be portioned and assembled for a dish.” –Scott Wiener, owner of Scott’s Pizza Tours and author of Viva la Pizza

"We have prepared foods such as fully prepared (baked) pizza served dine-in, take out or delivered, hamburgers, lunch at Long John Silvers and dinner at Olive Garden, and yes even that fully cooked chicken you can get at your local supermarket or Walmart which are normally taxed at some rate we're all familiar with, then we have what I like to call "groceries." These are uncooked food items such as cuts of beef, pork, chicken, fish/seafood, fruits, vegetables, and unbaked/uncooked items such as frozen pizzas, frozen meals, deli-pizza and take and bake pizza (I see no real difference between a frozen pizza, take and bake pizza, deli-pizza, or a raw pork chop). If the state, county or municipality has a different tax rate for "groceries," any product fitting into that category, whether sold at a supermarket or specialty store (Papa Murphy's, a free standing seafood shop or a local butcher shop selling cuts of beef or pork) should be taxed as such." --Tom "The Dough Doctor" Lehmann

"I hate to side with more taxes on anything, but in this case it is probably best to have everything selling at the restaurant on the same tax bracket. While I enjoy no taxes when available, I think that this could create a mess for accounting and too many independents might get into trouble if their accountant isn't sharp on this." --Jonathan Porter, owner of Chicago Pizza Tours

What's your opinion? Should take-and-bake pizzas be taxed like groceries or prepared food items? Let me know in the comments below.