A whopping 93% of Americans eat pizza every month. To satisfy America’s pizza craving, 73,000 pizzerias across the country baked over 38 billion dollars worth of pizza last year.
It is safe to say, pizza pretty much sells itself. But if you are the 2 out of every 3 pizzerias in America that are independently owned, you face growing competition from local businesses and large-chains.
It is important to get noticed and be on top of customer’s mind when they think of pizza the next time. This is where a well-designed pizza marketing strategy is important for every pizza shop.
As a pizzeria, you have potentially 3 business segments.
Dining: Serving customers looking for the dining experience with table service.
Carryout & Delivery: Serving customers looking for quick and convenience, hot and fresh food ready for pickup or delivered to their doorstep within the promised time.
Catering: Serving customers looking for getting food catered for group at their events and special occasions.
Your pizza marketing strategy needs to incorporate plans for each segment of the business overall, but depending on your current focus, you need to choose those ideas that boost that particular segment.
Pizza marketing strategy
Before we think about marketing to bring in new and repeat customers, we need to ensure a smooth order taking and fulfillment process in working to meet customer expectations.
For carryout and delivery, ensure all your order taking channels are performing as expected.
Your kitchen staff and front desk need to have great communication and have systems in place to deal with multiple orders.
Your kitchen has to be able to pump out orders quickly maintaining a consistently delicious pizza.
Your POS system needs to be working.
You have to be able to take credit cards, especially with online orders.
Your delivery staff needs to be on call.
Without this marketing will do your pizzeria no good…
Other Important areas are:
Phone ordering: phone staff needs to be well trained to help customers place order on the phone, ensuring the accuracy of the orders and customer satisfaction. You should also strive to reduce phone call times to avoid keeping customers on hold.
Online ordering: Website and mobile apps have a simplified user interface for placing orders. But for this you need to be able to process credit cards.
Walk-in Customer Orders: Customer service training is a must for the staff, as well as a decent waiting or dining area.
As we discussed the kitchen staff and front need to fulfill orders consistently and quickly to avoid keeping people waiting for too long.
Catering is a big part of the pizzeria business, so offering catering options to your customers is a great source of revenue.
Special options you can offer to catering customers you don’t normally offer can boost your catering sales and create a better customer experience.
Not all events are the same and different customers may have different needs, creating catering packages lets you manage your costs more effectively and gives the customer a package that is more suited to his or her needs.
Pizza Marketing Ideas
Here are 10 marketing ideas to include in your marketing plan.
1. Use mouth watering images
Good quality pictures of your food resonates with customers. Mouth watering images of pizza with melted cheese and perfectly baked crust will arouse the appetite of potential customers. Use these images on your menu, fliers, promotions, website and social media platforms.
It is generally not a good idea to use stock images as people identify the food and potentially be disappointed when the image they see and the food they get do not match.
Hire a good food photographer that knows how to make your food look amazing, it’s always a good investment because adding that visual element will increase sales.
2. Offer pizza by the slice combo deal
Pizza by the slice is always a good option to have for customers who come by themselves. And offering a combo of a slice of pizza and pop in the $4-6 range will attract walk-in customers during lunchtime.
Most walk-in business in pizzerias consists of people looking for pizza by the slice; so do not make them buy a whole pizza.
This is a great idea to implement when you are trying to attract the younger crowd who are looking for a bite, and not to carry a whole pizza home.
3. Create combo package deals
When it comes to getting food for a group, ordering pizza is the easiest option compared to any other kind of food. Because pizza can be shared versus individual orders with mexican, burgers etc. The person ordering the food has the simplest option with ordering pizza by just selecting a package that is adequate for that group.
Create combo package deals for various group sizes in your carry out menu making it really easy for customers to order.
Combo deals are also great because the customer feels like they are getting a great deal which can turn in to bulk sales.
Creating multiple combo deals can also be used to promote new items on your menu. But be careful with promotions and deals, because if you do it too much and for too long people will start demanding cheaper prices and that could affect the business bottomline.
4. Create coupon deals
Pizzerias are probably the most effective in the restaurant industry when it comes to coupons and deals promotions. Good or bad, coupons from haircut places and pizzerias have continued to resonate with customers.
Coupons have been a proven way to increase foot traffic to your pizzeria. If you place it in a local magazine, news paper or direct mail campaigns this will cause more customers to go to your place of business than a regular ad without coupons.
But once again use with caution and always lay out the terms of the promotion clearly on the coupon, otherwise some people tend to abuse them.
5. Give away refrigerator magnets
The best thing about refrigerator magnets is they land on the refrigerator and stay there.
Secondly, when people are hungry or not they visit the refrigerator many times a day and when they think of getting food, there you are… with a handy phone number and/or a website address to order.
6. Setup loyalty rewards program
Create a loyalty rewards program for your most loyal customers. It could be a simple punch card program or a mobile loyalty program for collecting points for each visit and offering rewards of free pizza or discounts.
A custom loyalty program branded for the pizzeria is much better than marketplace loyalty programs such as Belly or Spring. With your own customer loyalty program you have full access to customer information that you can leverage for further marketing compared to the other programs where you have either restricted access to customer information or potential customer leaks to other businesses on marketplace platforms.
7. Start email marketing campaign
Building an email list of customers is one of the most effective ways for pizza shops to reach their customers effectively with specials and deals.
The key is to nurture the email list using relevant content to ensure a relatively high open rates and click thru rates.
Email is a great way to stay in close touch with your customer base and let them know what’s new with you.
To learn more about effective email marketing strategies for your restaurant, read “7 Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies to Boost ROI“
8. Mobile marketing
Text messages are opened more often than emails, that’s why text messages are a great way to reach you market but you need to be careful not to be too invasive or your efforts will have the opposite effect and put people off.
Also creating a mobile app for your business provides your loyal customers a convenient way to order and drive up repeat business.
Mobile apps are also a great way to place your brand on the top spot of your customers mind when they think of pizza, and even when they don’t think of pizza as they look at their phone and there you are…
9. Engage on social media
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest provide a great way to engage with customers and stay on top of mind. Have regular posting of specials and deals that customers see.
The key is to create a following on these platforms and ensure you reach people every time you post something.
10. Local fundraisers and sponsorships
Word of mouth marketing is very effective. Give people a reason to recommend your pizza to friends, family and others in the community.
Look for opportunities to sponsor or participate in fundraising programs at your local school, church and sport teams. Many have “Dine and Donate” fundraiser programs, where a certain % of the dinner check is contribution to the fundraiser program. These are great opportunities to get visibility and creating buzz. Donate pizza at such events for free for people to sample your food.
Repeat business is key to pizzeria success
People generally are creatures of habit when it comes to pizza ordering. If customers love the pizza and like the customer service, they are generally repeat customers.
Unlike other kinds of restaurants, where people tend to use phrases like:
“Let’s try a new restaurant.”
Pizzerias tend to get a loyal customer base once a preference has been established.
When it come to pizza it’s common to hear a phrase like:
“Let’s order pizza from our regular place”
Most people will find their favorite and stick to that one for a long time…
If you can deliver good quality food consistently and provide decent customer service, you will have a loyal customer base for a very long time.
But the key is to get to your customers with a solid pizza marketing strategy and after that just stay consistent and deliver quality pizza every time.
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Watch your reputation
To attract new business, your reputation is paramount, the pizza business is very local and as such is dependent on a lot of word of mouth.
Remember that people are 2 times more likely to tell others when there was a problem than they are to tell people how great your place is. What is even more amazing is people are 7 times more likely to tell others when they had a problem and was subsequently handled to their satisfaction than they are to tell others about a good experience with no problems. It pays to handle customer issues.
Monitor online review sites, find out what people are saying and respond to their feedback promptly.
If you made a mistake with an order, offer an honest apology, offer a refund and invite them to try you again.
Pizza marketing is all about being number one in your customers mind, in addition to good food and service. If you can accomplish that by using marketing ideas that put you on top of mind, you have got the upper hand because the pizza business is one of repeat business.
Be number one in the customer’s minds and you will always succeed.
Now your turn:
Go a put these things in practice!
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