September 20, 2012 |

Main Event Planning

By Jeremy White

Josh Keown

Three big pizza-consuming days are about to roll around. New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday each present opportunities for pizzeria operators across the country. Don’t let them go unnoticed in your community. And don’t let your competitor down the street or the large chains with national advertising budgets reap all the rewards. Dive in now and come up with something creative for these moments that brighten winter.

Do you cater or deliver? If so, come up with a promotion geared towards the inevitable New Year’s and Super Bowl parties. Bundle pizzas (yes, that’s plural for a reason), appetizers and drinks at an attractive-yet-profitable price. Don’t forget to factor the cost of delivery into your pricing if you aren’t charging a delivery fee.

Do you have a dining room? Do you have a bar? If so, make your pizzeria the pre-party place to be on New Year’s Eve, or the place to wake up and unwind on New Year’s Day with a post-party “hangover” special.

Do you have television screens in your dining room? Invite your customers in for a Super Bowl pizza party. One idea is to make it a special event by limiting the number of guests (based on your seating occupancy, of course) and charging them an “admission” fee at the door. The entry price gets them “free” food and soda during the Super Bowl party, as well as a lively place to view the big game. It goes without saying that they’ll have to pay for beer or wine if they want it — and they’ll probably want it.

In Louisville, where Pizza Today is located, there’s a huge fireworks display each spring called Thunder Over Louisville. It kicks off the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival in April, leading up to the big race on the first Saturday of May. It’s a can’t-miss event and many of the restaurants located on the Ohio River do the limited-seating/entry fee party promotion I described in the previous paragraph. Typically, they set up a buffet for that day only to accommodate the crowd and make the event less taxing for the kitchen staff. Each year the operators claim the day to be an overwhelming success.

Perhaps you’d rather just conduct business as usual on the day of the big game. The way I see it, that’s a problem because your customers are either going to have to leave during the middle of the game to clear the table for other customers, or they’re going to linger and watch the game while other customers wait to be seated.

Whichever way you decide to go, just do something. Don’t leave yourself in the dark, and don’t wait until the day before New Year’s Eve and try to throw something together at the last minute. Get planning now so that you and your staff will be prepared when the holidays and Super Bowl roll around.