January 9, 2013
Have you ever wanted to introduce a stuffed crust pizza? There is more to a stuffed crust pizza than simply folding in shredded mozzarella. This technique is time-consuming, messy and the cheese melts away — barely noticed in the finished crust. Instead, try using string cheese or strips of mozzarella.
Go beyond cheese. Fold in Chihuahua cheese and a drizzle of salsa into a Mexican pizza crust and use smoked mozzarella and BBQ sauce for a BBQ chicken pizza crust.
Remember: adding a stuffed crust option to your menu increases your costs, so run the numbers and be sure there is a demand for stuffed crust.
Click here to get more stuffed crust ideas.
What Do Customers Want?
It’s one of the most important questions operators ask. Gathering customer feedback is important to your business, from menu offerings to customer service.
Today’s connected world has made it easier to reach out to customers. You can survey Facebook and Twitter follows, loyalty program participates and guests in your store. Use a basic comment card or there are a number of free and low-cost survey software options that distribute questionnaires and calculate the collected data.
Pizza Today’s Man of the Street Scott Wiener gained some valuable insight when he surveyed 88 customers of his New York City pizza tours in 2012, asking the question: “What are the most important characteristics in a pizzeria?” His findings include:
Food quality is No. 1 (95 percent of responses)
A warm atmosphere is critical (more than 60 percent of responses)
The staff is vital to overall dining experience (37 percent of responses)
To read more of Wiener’s survey click here.
Let’s face it — for many parts of the country — this winter has been downright wacky, from the rain-soaked Midwest to record amounts of snow in Texas. Not having a plan for increment weather may affect your bottom line.
Delivery is especially vulnerable to everything from severe thunderstorms, floods, sleet, ice and snowstorms. Have a plan on how to handle various situations, even when the preparation seems common sense. Train employees on procedures for when bad weather hits, like extending delivery times and changing delivery routes. Provide the appropriate weather gear and have extra mats ready for slippery areas in the restaurant.
Use social media to communication any weather-related changes in hours, closures and interruptions of delivery service. Don’t forget: if you are open while many are not, let people know.
Click here to read more about preparing for bad weather.
Find and Keep the Right Employees
Even in a time of high unemployment rates, operators experience problems finding lasting employees.
Take a strategic approach to hiring. Know the traits that you are seeking in each position in your restaurant. Ask behavior-based questions, such as “The last time _______ happened, what did you do?” Look for a cultural fit. Ask yourself, “Will he or she fit in here?”
Create manpower plan, outlining your exact hiring needs. A component that will come in handy is evaluating your employee turnover and being proactive.
Once hired, restaurant consultant TJ Schier says, the next steps include training, rewards and recognition designed to help retain employees.
Click here to read more about Schier’s approach to recruiting and keeping top performers.
Featured Recipe: Meatball Grinder
The meatball grinder is an easy and tasty addition to a menu. Everyone has that secret or special Italian meatball recipe (if not, try this one: basic meatball recipe). Combine your famous meatballs with mozzarella, provolone and marinara and you have a crowd favorite.
6 hoagie rolls
16 ounces marinara sauce
16 ounces meatballs
1 teaspoon oregano
For the rest of this delicious recipe, click here.