“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” — George Washington Carver
What did I do in an uncommon way to gain not just the attention of many, but the loyalty of my customers? Pizza & Prevention. At its conception, this event was my way of commemorating the tragedy of 9/11. I needed to recognize our hometown heroes and all they do for us. The basic concept was a community event designed to promote disaster prevention and introduce the community to local volunteer firefighters. How does a pizza shop do that and make this a win-win promotion for everyone? Answer this question: What’s in it for me?
Fire company: I will sell my signature pizza for $9.11, donating the entire amount to the volunteer fire company.
Community: Community members get a great deal on a pizza, plus we have firemen check their smoke detector and provide them with a fresh battery or smoke detector, if needed.
Me: I involve myself in an event with benefits.
A major part of the planning was to locate a co-sponsor to provide the smoke detectors. Enter Nationwide, the Kengersky Insurance Agency.
“I look forward to our involvement each year,” says Nationwide’s Matthew E. Kengersky. “Scott’s hard work and generosity have been the keys to nine years of success doing the event. The direct marketing exposure is substantial, and the goodwill is enormous. Both current and prospective customers give me wonderful feedback.”
Did I mention that I was up to my elbows in dough? The 2010 event sold 3,072 Big Daddy pizzas (24” x12”), a 25 percent increase over 2009. The week before the event, I have to make projections for sales and supplies needed. Unfortunately, I don’t have storage for that amount of food. Once again it is back to the community. The fire department and I both realize that the people we serve have to be ‘wowed’.
It is not uncommon for people to support the fire department. Doing it in an uncommon way has made people see my business in a new light.
“The fact that one business cares enough to step outside of their normal role of selling food and making a profit, and step into the role of fire prevention and fund-raising, is just plain amazing in today’s economy,” says Scott Depp, Chief Central Fire Department. “I believe that Scott’s business continues to grow — not just on this one day, but throughout the year — because of the customer loyalty he has created with this event. This community has chosen to support his business by being repeat customers and telling others to frequent his business.” This event has gained national attention and plenty of free publicity for me and my town. Together, we have equipped more than 2,000 homes with new smoke detectors and made sure that another 1,000 detectors had fresh batteries. In 2002, we raised $5,800. In 2010, we raised $30,000 in this one-day event. In 2002, we had two impinger ovens running from 2 p.m. till 8 p.m. Now we have a triple deck oven, plus a rented pizza trailer, cranking from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to meet the demand. By the third year, ‘Pizza and Prevention’ had become our own holiday of sorts. Now we designate the first Saturday in October for the event.
Organize, plan and consult with others in your community. Use every avenue available to you to do your best. If you do, you will reap the benefits (whether they are profits, accolades or just feeling good knowing your business was a catalyst in making a difference).?
Scott Anthony is a Fox’s Pizza Den franchisee in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.