Photo by Josh Keown
Barking dogs are a top neighborhood irritant. Why? Because you cannot close your ears like you can close your eyes. Likewise, an obnoxious odor can immediately reverse your direction as though you were shot backwards from a catapult. The opposite is also true … seductive words and a dreamy aroma can invade your mind and effortlessly pull you to their source.
When I first began marketing my pizzeria, I spent hours and hours writing mouthwatering descriptions for each pizza on my menu.
For example, our Veggie Wedgie Pizza: A rich harvest of broccoli, sweet red onions, whole roasted garlic, green peppers and garden fresh tomatoes with an irresistible blend of mozzarella and cheddar.
Our Northwest Pizza: A lavish blend of smoked salmon, gulf prawns, capers, sautéed mushrooms, sweet red onions, smoked Gouda, fresh rosemary and toasted pine-nuts crown our original recipe olive paste … financing available. (A mental movie intended to perk up the taste buds).
So you can imagine my dilemma when I would overhear an order-taker saying:
“The Veggie Wedgie? Yeah, it’s got a bunch of vegetables on it.” Or the Northwest: “It’s got fi sh and shrimp and onions and stuff.” Ouch!
Well-crafted descriptions on the menu were not getting transferred correctly over the phone. What to do, what to do?
And so I set out to find a foolproof way to insure that each pizza would always be portrayed in the most flattering way.
I immediately ripped down the cheat-sheets in the kitchen. They listed generic items in the order they were to be placed on the pizza. This insured consistency, but at the same time they programmed my crew to speak generically, too.
The cheat-sheet for the Northwest read from top to bottom: Olive paste, cheese, onions, capers, mushrooms, gouda, prawns, salmon, rosemary, pine-nuts. I changed it to: Olive paste, whole-milk mozzarella, sweet red onions, capers, sautéed mushrooms, smoked gouda, gulf prawns, smoked salmon, fresh rosemary and high-mountain pine-nuts.
Then I marched up front and changed every pop-up description in my POS to read the same way. Now when a customer asks about a pizza, the order taker has been immersed in the right language from the menu, to the cheat-sheets, to the POS descriptions. Pretty hard to mess it up.
Another thing I quickly caught on to was this: Until we got really busy, we did our prep during the day (later on it was a night shift). People coming in while we were roasting garlic would roll their eyes and say, “Man, that smells delicious!”
Bingo! So, we started roasting a few garlic cloves just before dinner rush — and we kept putting fresh cloves in the oven as needed. Now, customers could really lock in the fact that we were baking fresh homemade pizza (you never smell fresh roasted garlic at fast-food pizza shops).
It’s no secret that the smell of coffee, fresh baked cookies or bread will help sell a house — because they invoke feelings of “home.”
Sensory input conjures up emotions, desires and memories. It sells products everyday. In fact, that “new” car smell comes straight out of a spray can. ❖
Kamron Karington owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and author of The Black Book: Your Complete Guide to Creating Staggering Profits in Your Pizza Business. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today
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