April 1, 2011 |

2011 April: My Turn

By Pizza Today

“A few years ago, some of my college employees kept bugging me about letting them start a Facebook page for our pizza parlor,” says David Walton, owner-operator of Fox’s Pizza Den of Oconee in Athens, Georgia. “Now Facebook has become our primary means of marketing our two locations, and you can’t beat the price — free.”

Walton encourages all of his hourly staff to invite their friends from their personal social media sites to “like” the company’s Facebook page. He wants them to post comments and photos about their community activities and events sponsored by Fox’s Pizza Den of Oconee.

Their feature pie, the “30-inch Big One,” often is used to brand their
pizzeria. Walton’s employees incorporate the photo album feature of Facebook and post pictures within hours of each event/promotion. The photos create community buzz.

“It’s their (hourly staff) community and their restaurant,” says Walton. “They know the customers best — many are their friends, family and schoolmates, which is the core of our customer base.”

Fox’s Pizza Den of Oconee now has 3,369 loyal fans on its Facebook page. Most importantly, they are coming in for food and fun … as seen on Facebook!

Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza, based in Tacoma, Washington, began with a single Facebook page with 3,482 pizza lovers “liking” the restaurant. The company now takes advantage of the “place page” feature of Facebook, which allows each of Farrelli’s five locations to have its own page. This allows each location to connect, engage and build strong relationships with their respective customer bases.

“Part of the new hourly-employee two-hour orientation includes familiarizing the hourly staff on the company Facebook page and how to use it,” says Clayton Krueger, director of marketing & communications at Farrelli’s. The social media training includes how to “tag” posts and photos to extend the reach of the staff interaction across the Facebook network. This, in turn, extends the brand exposure.

Asking the hourly staff to participate directly in the Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza presence on Facebook was part of the company’s marketing strategy.

Key elements for successful Facebook campaigns with hourly staff include
basic guidelines on social media
etiquette and training on how to use some of the tools to broaden the reach of posts (Facebook “tagging”).

Point blank: including hourly staff as part of your social media extends the reach of your best brand ambassadors. They engage and build the customer base every shift. They are the primary touch-point with every customer. Plus, they already know and use the technology.

My Turn is a monthly guest column. This installment is written by Paul Paz, founder of Waiter’s World in Portland, Oregon. If you are interested in submitting your own column, e-mail Jeremy White [jwhite@pizzatoday.com] and let him know what you want to say and what qualifies you to say it!