- It’s time to take a step back and brainstorm new ways to approach your pizzeria management strategy for 2022.
- Start treating your employees like internal customers, learn to delegate and use social media the right way!
The past two years months have been tough on the pizza industry. But you’ve survived. Maybe just barely, but you’re still here. During these fast-changing times, it’s critical to rethink the “who, what, where, when and how” of running a pizza business. Fortunately, if you take a step back and look at your options with a clear head, you will realize the opportunities are virtually unlimited. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do just that. Of course, you know what’s best for you and your business, but here are some New Year’s resolutions to keep in mind to make 2022 a breakthrough year (or a comeback year) for your pizza restaurant.
1. Be different and stand out. Roberto Goizueta, former CEO of the Coca-Cola Company once said, “It is very difficult to be the captain of your own destiny when you are always a passenger in somebody else’s ship.” If you are a pizzeria owner, ask yourself this question: What makes my restaurant different? Emphasize your pizzeria’s uniqueness and value proposition, whether it’s your specialty pizzas, your extra-friendly service, a unique appetizer on your menu, your dedication to the community, etc.
2. Know what is important. Identify the most crucial tasks you have and the efforts that generate business success. Ask yourself, “What has the greatest impact on or creates the greatest value for my staff members or customers? What will increase my sales? What will bring in more traffic?” Write it all down, create performance standards, and let everyone on your staff know how they can help achieve it.
3. Make your new employees feel special. Employee retention will be more important than ever in 2022. And it begins the first day on the job. Put extra effort in your training programs and let new employees know why your company is a good place to work. Treat them like internal customers, not just hired hands. Managers should meet with new employees during the first week, and conduct a new hire survey about 30 days after they have come on board to learn about staffers’ experiences so far, what they love about the job, what they don’t like about it, etc.
4. Energize and recognize your existing workforce. In the COVID-19 era, many pizzeria owners are realizing they have to build a more positive work environment to attract and retain employees. What’s one of the leading causes of dissatisfaction with one’s job? Lack of appreciation. Creating a positive work environment is not difficult. A well-administered program builds camaraderie, values, and makes people feel good about themselves and their jobs.
5. Make your customers say “Wow!” Most businesses lose 15-20 percent of their customers each year. Why? They’ve been pulled away by a competitor who offers a better experience or better value. By applying a small amount of effort, you can boost your profits by as much as 40 percent. So many pizzeria owners, who are fond of tradition, are sticking with the same-old same-old. You don’t have to be like them. Take a look at your business and ask yourself: “Am I wowing my customers every time they walk through the door, or am I just serving them good pizza?” Sorry, but in 2022, good pizza probably isn’t good enough. You need to create an unforgettable experience.
6. Get a grip on social media. Just about everyone in the U.S. today uses social media in some form or another. You’re probably using it, too, for your pizzeria, but are you using it correctly? Do you regularly post mouth-watering photos of new menu items? Do you celebrate your staff members in photos and mini-profiles on Facebook or Instagram? Do you take and post pictures of your favorite customers (with their permission) to make them feel special and show that you run a guest-friendly operation? If not, start doing all of the above this year. And don’t just post photos of your food – offer some useful info, including the name of the pizza and the price so your guests know what to ask for. Identify the people in your photos and tag them whenever possible. Say something nice about them, and they’ll want to share it with their friends!
7. Celebrate your successes. So many pizzeria owners hold contests, fundraisers and other special events and then never report the results. If you’ve raised money for, say, a local school, use social media to inform your customers how much money they helped you raise and how that fundraiser will benefit the community. Your customers deserve thanks and praise for helping you do good things in your community. Take a few minutes after a big event, write down your thoughts in a post, express your gratitude and let your customers know what they helped you accomplish. Don’t hide your light (and theirs) under a bushel!
8. Control costs and eliminate waste. The beginning of the year is the best time to analyze your work processes. Identify causes of waste or poor performance and eliminate them! Your employees can help you with this project. Many years ago, the Ritz-Carlton hotels created a form called the “Internal Defect Form” (IDF). Any employee noticing a deficiency or defect during the workday was asked to complete and submit an IDF. All forms were forwarded to a central office for action. This simple process contributed to a sales increase of $75 million using 500,000 less man-hours. Implement a similar process at your pizzeria, and reward your employees for offering good ideas that save money!
9. Learn to delegate. Many pizzeria owners, especially independents, have a hard time delegating tasks to others. If you do not learn to delegate, you will become like a matchstick – you’ll shine brightly for a moment, then burn out like a puff of smoke. Smart operators work on their business, not in their business.
10. Fine-tune your online ordering system. Online sales are still growing at a dramatic pace. Have you placed an order on the system yourself to see how smoothly the process works? Even better, ask a friend or a relative to place an order and give you feedback on the experience and any problems they might have run into. Then, set about fixing the problems quickly! (There’s another New Year’s resolution for you: Don’t procrastinate!).