Word of mouth doesn’t just happen
By Denise Greer
Once a month, I get out of my daily work routine and attend Creative Mornings, a breakfast lecture series for creative folks. And every month, I take away something that inspires me in my role at Pizza Today.
This month’s speaker James Lindsey is a songwriter and rapper who coincidentally began his career performing in local pizzerias and has become a prominent performer in the region. He spoke of being rejected from venue after venue until his hard work paid off and stardom followed. His next words of wisdom on how his reputation grew struck a chord with every conversation I’ve ever had with pizzeria operators.
“Make your buzz undeniable,” Lindsey said.
Let those words sink in.
Word of mouth and buzz are often illusive terms that every pizzeria operator is in pursuit of. How can a pizzeria make its buzz undeniable? It doesn’t just happen by luck or chance. It’s not getting that one food blogger to notice your pizza, having a social post go viral, getting a rave write-up in the local paper or having a celebrity of some sort walk through the door.
As I travel to pizzerias, I always ask what has driven the pizzeria’s success in its market. Nine times out of 10, the response is word of mouth. I’ve heard stories of operators sleeping on cots at their shops when they first opened to make sure the dough was perfect or working every shift on the make line until every pie was consistent. Time and time again, I’ve heard to what extent owners go to be meticulous about every aspect of their operation. Operators and teams pour their hearts and souls into pizza shops. Though the community may not know the lengths to which an operator goes, it’s evident in their product, their staff, customer service and the dining experience. These are genuine and undeniable. Their efforts, first and foremost, are often rewarded with word of mouth.
Let’s explore a few ways to take your undeniable buzz further:
- Sing your praises to anyone and everyone who will listen. It’s not bragging. It’s vital to keeping your name top of mind when anyone is asked, “Where’s the best pizza place here?” This includes local media, food bloggers and local social influencers. Be ready and able to back up your claim with your pizza and dining experience.
- Don’t just be a restaurant in your community, be a part of that community. Goodwill and community engagement are powerful motivators. Fundraisers are great. Also, try establishing specific organizational partnerships to create one-of-a-kind opportunities and events.
- When people reach out to communicate with your pizzeria — whether good or bad — ALWAYS respond professionally, even to online reviews. Love it or hate it, online reviews on social media and review sites influence where several people choose to dine.
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