November 16, 2011
Few pizzerias have escaped the Great Recession unscathed. If you fall into that category, you’re not alone — and your situation may have you contemplating cuts in various aspects of your operation.
Trust us, ingredient quality is not the place to start. In fact, it’s the one area where you should never, ever make cuts. A compromise in quality, in our eyes, is business suicide.
Big Dave Ostrander agrees, which is why he compiled a list of 16 cost-cutting measures that allow pizza operations to trim fat without cutting an artery.
To check out Big Dave’s 16 power-packed tips, click here.
As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start asking your accountant some questions. A good accountant, after all, can serve as a proactive partner in your business — provided you know how to use his or her expertise.
Start by asking your accountant what specific steps you can take now to lower your tax bite. For example, is this a good time for a major equipment purchase? Why or why not? Are there any new changes in the tax code of which you should be aware? Do you need to increase or decrease year-end profit? If your accountant suggests that a decrease would be in your best interest, find out why.
In short, ask your accountant what else she can do for you. You might be surprised.
Speaking of accounting, do you dread a potential IRS audit? Click here to learn what you should do if you receive notification that your business is being audited:
Capitalize on Big Days Ahead
For many pizza operations, December is the biggest sales month of the year. This comes on the heels of two of the industry’s largest overall sales days: Halloween on October 31 and the Day Before Thanksgiving on November 23.
The day prior to Thanksgiving has become a huge pizza event as home ovens and stovetops fill with turkey and other traditional holiday fixings. With no available space to allot to a Wednesday night meal, delivery or carryout pizza has become the perfect solution for many.
With the holiday season nigh, it’s time to gear up your staff and get ready for the big days ahead. It’s also time to plan your winter menu, which should include soups and some hearty pizzas. Calzones and comfort dishes such as chicken or eggplant Parmesan are real winners when the weather turns cold, as well.
Don’t be afraid to experiment when putting together your winter menu. Pizza Ranch, a 159-store chain based in the upper Midwest, recently released a new fall/winter menu that makes brilliant use of grapes and arugula. The items give the company’s guests a new reason to visit through January 31.
To take learn more about Pizza Ranch’s new Fall/Winter items, click here:
If your fall/winter menu is going to include a deep-dish pizza, then you’re going to need to get a grip on some specialized dough management procedures ASAP. Deep-dish dough brings a unique set of challenges, according to our very own Dough Doctor, Tom Lehmann.
“These pizzas need to be proofed for a period of time between panning and baking,” Lehmann explains. And that’s where things can get hairy for operators who haven’t worked with deep-dish dough often.
If you fall into this category, click here to learn more about managing dough specifically for deep-dish pizzas.
Survey Your Customers
Do you know what your customers think about your pizzeria? Sure, a packed house serves as an obvious stamp of approval. But do you know, really know, what is filling the seats? If business is slow, it’s too easy to point a finger at the economy. Could something else be to blame, like inconsistent marketing messages or poor food quality?
If you haven’t done a detailed customer survey in a while, there’s no better time than the present. A survey can give you business-boosting feedback by helping you discover exactly how your customers experience and perceive your pizzeria. And if there are problems you aren’t yet aware of, a survey will help you fix them before it’s too late and the customers leave for good.
To learn more about what customer surveys can do for your business, click here.
Featured Recipe — Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Chicken is one of the fastest growing pizza toppings, and spicy Buffalo sauce remains a favorite consumer trend. For our featured recipe in this Quick Tips, we’ve selected a Buffalo chicken pizza that nicely balances the heat of the sauce with blue cheese and celery. This pizza has become a staple of specialty menus nationwide for good reason.
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
14-inch pizza shell
4 ounces Blue cheese dressing, bottled
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
To see the rest of this delicious recipe, click here.