2010 July: A Pizza My Mind

How many times have you asked yourself the question, “I wonder how the (you fill in the blank) national chains’ mega promotions are working out?” Sometimes, it seems like the big four national chains have an exclusivity on creativity. They constantly toss new ideas against the wall to see if they stick. Some do and some don’t. The psychology of the “new and improved” statement hasn’t changed since the beginning of the advertising age. The success or failure of the promotion does not matter. It is no big deal if Square, Round, Upside Down, Stuffed, Flavored or Stuffed Crust become permanent menu additions. The desired end game of every national chain is to increase gross and net sales and improve stockholders’ and a brand’s equities. The new rollout promotions are to create awareness and trial of their new and improved entrée or service. Once any business impresses a customer trying a new entrée, more often than not, it leads to repeat sales. They have just become the top positioned provider of pizza to your former customer. Last time I checked, it is working for them, especially if they can glean customer contact information on their POS system.

It’s time to unlock your creative juices and get something exciting happening in your menu. You have all the tools you need. What you don’t have in specialized equipment you probably can live without. Can you create a new pizza or entrée so good or different that people are talking about it? If you are serving the same pie as your daddy, you are missing a big surge in new sales. Reinvent your menu with some excitement in it. Your new creation doesn’t have to live forever, just long enough to shine the spotlight on you and your culinary expertise. If all it does is entice a hundred or two of you competitors’ customers to try you out, it’s worth it. Just don’t forget to have them get entered into your database. ?

Big Dave Ostrander owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and internationally sought-after trainer. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today and leads seminars on operational topics for the family of Pizza Expo tradeshows.