To market your pizzeria in challenging times, you have to start putting yourself out there.

Katie Collier, owner of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta in St. Louis, puts her money where her marketing is, and her investment pays big dividends.



Daniel Perea

 

I’ve said this a lot lately—to anyone at the PMQ office who will listen to me (admittedly, a short list)—and I’ll keep saying it: Katie Collier, owner of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria in St. Louis and this month’s cover subject (“Katie’s Kitchen,” page 34), does pretty much everything right in the marketing of her restaurant. I say “pretty much” because, who knows, maybe I missed something. But if I had to name a young restaurateur who has mastered pizzeria marketing in the digital era, Collier would top the list.

Collier puts her money where her marketing is, from online cooking videos with network TV-level production values to an outstanding website and social media presence that pull you in with gorgeous food photography. I didn’t ask about her marketing budget, but it’s likely substantial—and that investment pays big dividends. All too often, single-unit operators tell me they rely mostly on word-of-mouth for marketing and then complain, off the record, about how difficult it is to build up slow nights and keep the lights on during the dreary winter months. Year-round, Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria serves 500 people on a typical weekday and upwards of 1,000 on a Friday or Saturday (not to mention a brisk carryout business). And that’s in part because Collier knows word-of-mouth is never enough.

Her personal story—she grew up bussing tables and washing dishes before falling in love with Italian cuisine during a visit to Florence—is fairly typical. But it feels extraordinary when Collier tells it because she sells herself in every customer interaction, every video, every TV appearance, not just with her winning personality and easy laugh—which make her approachable—but with her strength of character, passion for cooking and depth of culinary knowledge.

“The more you put yourself out there and tell your story, people will notice you,” Collier says. “Because not everybody does that. A lot of people just focus on their restaurant and stay inside, and they’re cooking all day and night and forgetting about the big picture. You have to get yourself out there in all types of ways, and opportunities will come.”

I wish more restaurateurs thought like that. Like I said, Katie Collier does pretty much everything right.

Rick Hynum
PMQ Editor-in-Chief

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Chef’s Corner: Pizzaiolo and rock musician Mick Mahan hits us with his best pizza shot.

In this exclusive Q&A, Pat Benatar’s bassist, owner of Parma Pizzeria Napoletana, talks about his love for all pizza styles and serving pies to rockers from REO Speedwagon, Toto and more.

Astoria: Pizza and espresso are a match made in Italy

Nothing compliments an Italian dessert like a well-made espresso or specialty coffee drink made with Astoria espresso machines.

Season’s eatings: How to harvest a bumper crop of profits throughout the year

Stuck in a rut? Start using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to rejuvenate your pizzeria’s menu while keeping your food dollars in the community.

5 effortless ways to improve your digital menu board and sell more pizza

With digital signage, your customers can see your menu in larger-than-life living color. Here’s how to use them to increase your sales and improve customer service.

The 2018 Pizza Power Report: A State-of-the-Industry Analysis

To stay competitive in the pizza business in 2018, independents will have to meet customers’ growing demand for speed, customization, delivery and convenience.

10 or 12? Advice on portion sizes for wing offerings

Will a six-count snack deal fly, and what’s the next step up from there?

Italian certified ingredients dominate the conversation at World Pizza Forum

PMQ's Missy Green takes a deeper look at the "Made in Italy" phenomenon.

What's Your Story? A pair of successful restaurateurs find a higher purpose with Little Box Pizza

This new concept with a conscience uses the power of pizza and small business ownership to turn lives around.

Get the gluten out with DeIorio's Fresh Prosciutto Gluten-Free Pizza

Serve your customers this prime pie made with fresh prosciutto, garlic and DeIorio's gluten-free pizza shells.

Will putting eggs in your dough leave you with egg on your face?

When it comes to improving your crust, eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags