From box toppers to email blasts, here are several ways to increase your pizzeria’s lunch sales
Think Tank users help a fellow restaurateur solve one of the industry’s most vexing problems.
Lee Kim: After opening in early 2016, we started using direct mail in October, and our sales have doubled since then. But lunch is still slow. We created a lunch special and hung a large vinyl banner to advertise it, but the increase has been incremental. We don’t have any large office buildings nearby, so I thought maybe this is just not a good area for lunch. Then I learned that a sandwich place five blocks away is killing it. Any ideas on how to create lunch traffic will be greatly appreciated!
d9phoenix: I would guess the sandwich shop is killing it because they offer fast food. Pizza is not considered fast food, even though I can get a pizza out of the oven faster than Burger King can even make my sandwich half the time. Box toppers would help your lunch business. If you offer grab-and-go items, that could take off, too. Or you can think about doing a buffet, although that’s a lot of work. Whatever you do, it will take time to build sales. Just stick with it and, if done correctly, it will make you money in the long run.
Steve: We struggled with this at our second location. Using direct mail, we put lunch specials on the coupon flap that you see as soon as you open the menu, along with everyday specials on the back. We don’t collect most of the coupons—we simply ask customers to mention them when they order. Our lunch business is picking up, partly, I’d say, because of increased visibility with the coupons as well as our quality food and ability to serve customers rather quickly during lunchtime.
MPS: Open an account at referenceusa.com and do a search on businesses within a three- to five-mile radius of your restaurant. Download these contacts and have someone on your staff call each business and ask for permission to fax or email them your daily specials. Make sure to email them every day around 9:15 a.m. or fax around 8:45 a.m. You can use services like SimplyCast for broadcast faxing and MailChimp for email blasts. If you offer online ordering, make sure to update your specials every day on the website. Add an opt-in form on your lunch specials page so that site visitors can also subscribe to your daily specials list. Make sure to offer a variety of dishes and change them daily. You can get dish ideas from spoonacular.com and other websites.
Get answers to your most perplexing problems and swap tips and ideas with the experts in PMQ’s Think Tank, the pizza industry’s oldest and most popular online forum. Register for free at thinktank.pmq.com. (Member posts have been edited here for clarity.)