Ask Big Dave: Pizza for Breakfast

2012 April: Ask Big DaveQ: So, I have a great breakfast pizza that I make for people who are having breakfast meetings but don’t want the same old muffins and donuts. It’s not something I have on my regular menu and I am not open for breakfast. I only do this for groups that ask, but I am thinking maybe I should open for breakfast. Do I need more than just an assortment of breakfast pizzas, coffee and juice to satisfy a breakfast crowd?

Wayne Rempel
JP’s
Lacombe, Alberta, Canada

A: Wayne, it makes sense to give breakfast a shot. You’re already in your shop prepping each morning anyway. Your ovens are on and getting hot. You already have many breakfast ingredients on hand such as bell peppers, sausage and bacon. You could keep it simple with muffins, breakfast pizza, coffee and juice and satisfy a lot of people. There’s no need to start performing as short-order cooks by making scrambled eggs, toast, biscuits and gravy, etc. Give it a trial run, seeing what you can make easily with ingredients already on hand and let me know how it goes.

Q: I’m having difficulty getting my employees to grasp the concept of good customer service. When I’m not there, service sucks. Do I clean house or can I train them better in some way? What do I do?
Kevin Hodges
Boston, Massachusetts

A: This is a situation you need to get under control immediately. Without recognizing and taking care of your customers, you might as well just hand money out and close up shop for good.

When I owned my pizzeria, I was very subtle in the messages I sent my crew. One of the messages they received was stamped across every paycheck they ever got at Big Dave’s. The seven magic words in big red letters were: ‘A LOYAL CUSTOMER MADE THIS PAYCHECK POSSIBLE.’ A large banner at the customer order area shouted ‘YOU’RE THE BOSS AT BIG DAVE’S.’ I coined little acronyms like SIN (Solve it Now) and TLC (Think Like a Customer). I told my staff never to say anything to a customer that they wouldn’t say to their grandmother.

Sit down with your staff and explain to them that they are in the hospitality industry. Taking care of customers should be priority number one.

Big Dave Ostrander owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and internationally sought-after trainer. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.