2011 September: SLICE OF HOPE: PROMOTIONAL IDEAS

On October 7, you will be a businessman and a philanthropist, and your sincerity for the cause is essential. Consumers love it when their local businesses get involved and give freely. And, remember, the cause here is twofold — to battle breast cancer and to unite the pizza industry and show the world just how giving and caring we are.

We want our donations to make a difference, but we also want to be able to promote our involvement without a lot of overhead. If we play our cards right, we’ll not only do a great thing for society, but we’ll also be able to draw on the goodwill of our communities. When our neighbors see how giving and connected we are, they’ll want to thank us by patronizing our pizzerias. It’s a win-win!

Here are a few tips to help you promote Slice of Hope in your community without taking on prohibitive PR expenses:

• Show your sincerity. Let your customers know that you are passionate about the cause, and tell them why Slice of Hope means something to you.

Here is what I was told about Slice of Hope by a few pizzeria owners that I talked with recently:

“Once I saw the article in Pizza Today, about Slice of Hope and it being national pizza month, along with breast cancer awareness month, I saw that it was necessary to join the Slice of Hope program to help in any way possible to contribute to such a great cause. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to honor her in some way.”
— Thomas W. Barrett, Owner, Tommy’s Pizza & Family Restaurant in Hertford, North Carolina.

“We are a new restaurant and my husband and I have both had breast cancer. Early detection is key. We will donate 20 percent of sales to the event.” — Patty Stump, Westshore Pizza, Mason, Ohio.

“My family has been fortunate to be unaffected by this tragic disease. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Being a woman, maybe I’m biased, but I think most women put taking care of everyone else as their priority. I want them to know that this time, they can’t. Early detection gives a 98 percent five-year survival rate — that’s huge!” — Danielle Burger, Co-Owner / Manager, Wally’s Pizza and Subs, Carson City, Nevada.

• Get the word out. Make a list of your local media outlets (newspapers, TV, radio, newsletters, church bulletins, social media). If you have filled out a Slice of Hope pledge form, then you will soon (or may have already) be receiving a press release that you can send to these outlets. All you have to do is customize it by adding your name in a few spots and updating the quote, then it’s ready to roll.

Don’t forget to invite the media to stop in to your “pizza party” on October 7th.

• Do something unique in-house. One idea would be to purchase Slice of Hope t-shirts (available at PizzaToday.com or by calling 800-489-8324) for your staff to wear on October 7. You could even purchase extra shirts and offer them for sale to your customers.

Beyond that, consider creating a special “Slice of Hope” pizza or menu item. Stump, for example, says she will be selling pink cupcakes. She also intends to set up a donation jar in case her customers want to give to the cause. Out west in Tacoma, Washington, Farrelli’s Wood-Fire Pizza is also accepting customer donations. Beyond that, the company is going to menu a Slice of Hope pizza for 2 to 4 weeks and donate $10 from the sale of each pizza to the Karen Mullen Breast
Cancer Foundation.

Personally, at my Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, I will be creating radio spots using a customer who is also a breast cancer survivor. She’ll serve as a spokeswoman and encourage people to support the event.

Stump says she’ll use box toppers to saturate her market, while Barrett is going to pre-sell coupons for his featured menu item and will use in-house flyers and signage to create awareness of the upcoming event. Adds Burger: “We will, of course, be posting to Facebook, Twitter, our Web site and the specials board in our restaurant.”

• Can you cross-promote? Are there other like-minded businesses that would like to be involved? A medical supply company, insurance agency or fitness center, perhaps? Perhaps they’d like to make a donation to the charity in exchange for putting their logo on your Slice of Hope box topper? The more local businesses you can enlist, the more this feels like a local community event.

Lastly, don’t forget to be on top of your game with your food and service. On October 7, you’ll expose a multitude of potential new customers to your product. If the quality is high and the service is good, you’ll convert them to regulars. Buying from you will make them feel good. But you have to execute operationally to convert them.

One way to do this might be to streamline your menu for the day. Or feature a particular item, which benefits Slice of Hope, in an effort to keep things simple for your make-line.

Scott Anthony is a Fox’s Pizza Den franchisee in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today and a frequent guest speaker at Pizza Expo.

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