PMQ's idea forum

Strategy:
MARKETING SOFTWARE BRINGS EASE TO PROMOTING YOUR RESTAURANT

It takes more than just you to run your pizzeria. Your daily to-do list is probably 20 or more items long. With that in mind, have you found it hard to market your business to its fullest potential? Wouldn't it be great to hire a person to do just that? Sure, but that person would require a high salary and lots of training. That's money you don't have in your pocket.

"The owner needs to plan the marketing and monitor results," Terry Morey, of ProfitMAX, says, "but the day-to-day marketing functions can be easily delegated." The ProfitMAX Sales Acceleration software gives you a way to have an hourly employee manage a customer database, create direct mail, email, and fax marketing pieces while tracking the profit on each effort.

You also get unlimited software training sessions and a weekly personal phone conference with a marketing coach. "This conference doesn't just provide you with ideas," Terry says. "This session gives the operator discipline and structure-you set goals for the coming week, and follow up on commitments made for the preceding week."

The program starts with gathering names and contact information including mailing and email addresses. There are also user-defined fields for targeted marketing efforts. You can identify people with children involved in sports at the local high school and you can define them in your database to receive sports promotions. This software can also be interfaced with your POS system to transfer current contact info.

The next stop is formulating campaigns and promoting them. Using ProfitMAX, you can personalize and design print materials for email, fax or direct mail. You can also do a voicecast to leave messages with your customers. It can even print postage if you have a permit, and it will produce mailing pieces that comply with all requirements for bulk mail.

A plus of the program is that for any visual media you create, the software can place a customer/offer specific code or barcode on the piece. When a customer returns the offer to your pizzeria, you can quickly identify the customer and promotion. The software will then ask you to record the number of people, entrees and amount spent. When you want to see the results of a campaign, you can run a report that not only gives you the sales resulting from the promotion, but also your profits and your return on investment. You can also pull up multiple campaigns on one page to compare the effectiveness of all your different marketing efforts.

"One of the big benefits of this system is that if you are using an outside party to print your marketing materials, it is usually not cost-effective to do test marketing to a small group of people," Terry says. "With ProfitMAX you can do test marketing at a lower cost and make sure it works before investing lots of money." Plus, once you set up a campaign, you can repeat it again and again without duplicating most of the work.

"We had a survey done by an outside party that contacted restaurants who used the system," Terry says. Their average ROI for the product over just 90 days was 528%." ProfitMAX has been serving the restaurant industry exclusively since 1981. For more information on the ProfitMAX system, please contact Terry Morey at 888-776-3484 or email him tmorey@profitmax.cc. Visit them online atwww.profitmaxmarketing.com.

Strategy:
THE PENNY DROPS WITH VENDING

Imagine adding an extra $200 – $800 a month to your bottom line by simply placing two vending machines in your store. Now imagine getting to pocket all the revenues from those machines. Obviously, there are pros and cons involved in installing any machine in your business. One thing that is certain however, most people operate a vending machine every day.

According to the vending industry, seven out of 10 people use automated machines on any given single day. That adds up to a sparkly $34 billion dollars in annual vending revenues. Think about it, in the course of your own day, how many times have you been on your way out the door of a restaurant or office building and stopped to drop a couple of quarters into a vending machine for a quick pick me up?

Your floor space, which, of course, you're paying for, can be turned into a profit center. How about that space between your front door and the carryout window? Or maybe that space just to the right of your coat stand and the hallway to your restroom? If you said these are the perfect locations for vending machines, give yourself a free pizza!

The simple key to vending machines is they're the ultimate quick-sell device. In fact, according to ProDesign and Vending Technologies of Kingston, New Hampshire, you might be surprised just how quick. The company is a manufacturer and supplier of vending machines nationwide.

"A strategically placed vending machine can turn a one squarefoot space into a $100-a-month profit center. The results are amazing," the company says. Indeed, ProDesign machines have now been placed in such blue chippers as McDonald's, Blockbuster, Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, among many others. Industry statistics show that families let their kids choose where the family goes to dinner around 95 percent of the time. For that reason, ProDesign's biggest seller and revenue producer is a pin-ball vending game that both kids and adults love to play. They offer a special "Pizza Zone" game that plays just like a pin-ball machine. These pin-ball vending games feature a jam-proof coin mechanism, a locked coin box, full-custom graphics and a one-year warranty. Best of all, none of the machines require electricity. Besides the Pizza Zone, the company offers other themes that might coincide with your location including sports, carnival, baseball, roller rink, hockey and movies.

ProDesign recommends that before you purchase any vending machine, make sure you've researched the company from which you are buying the machine. Check to see if the machines are jam-proof and maintenance free. Do the machines offer the customer a candy selection? Is there a money-back policy on the vending equipment? Do they offer a warranty of any kind?

Of course, as mentioned, the attractive thing about the ProDesign arrangement is the operator receives all the revenues from the machine. This is unlike most other vending machine arrangements where the operators get a small percentage, or nothing at all. Each machine can hold up to 40 pounds of candy. A ProDesign machine can pay for itself after only a couple of refills. If you're interested in exploring the possibilities of owning your own vending machines you should give ProDesign a call at (800) 700-1022 or visit www.bulkvending.com. Let the experts there tell you how to get bang for your buck and more than a ping from your machine.

Strategy:
WIRELESS MARKETING

Most people now have access to computers and cell phones. With the increase in wireless technology, marketing is evolving to encompass this digital move. With that, the field of permission-based marketing is growing fast and affordable for most businesses.

mUrgent, a full-service email and wireless marketing provider, is helping pizza operators learn how to turn customer e-communication into increased sales. Through their services, they make it easy for operators to communicate with customers on a bimonthly basis with increased response and decreased cost. "It's really important for pizza restaurants to understand that it's more about customer relationships than anything else," Boris Bugarski, CEO of mUrgent says. "You have to learn to get out from behind the counter and focus on the customer. Quite frequently, they use direct mail because the pizza industry focuses on impulse buys."

Boris says that the problem with direct mail is that it is coupon-driven. The Big Four have been stuffing consumer mailboxes full of coupons for years waiting for them to act on the "pizza impulse." It's also an expensive way of doing business. "It costs 37 cents to send one postcard," Boris says, "If you are looking at sending 1,000, that's $370 just in postage. That doesn't include design and print."

mUrgent offers your pizza location a private email club designed to help market to the best customers in your business: those customers who want to receive your marketing and have proven to spend money with you.

The program they have developed is a loyalty program communicated through email marketing. Each month the pizzeria location gets 100 free printed e-club cards to start signing up customers. All the owner and staff have to do is ask customers to participate. mUrgent handles the rest.

Each e-club card is entered by mUrgent into a database that the pizza shop owner owns. Then once the list is started, your personal mUrgent designer studies your marketing materials and reflects that into two campaigns per month based on what your current promotions are.

mUrgent's customers have received response rates as high as 21 percent on a single email promotion, with average response rates being 8 to 15 percent and redemption rates being 80 to 90 percent. This means that 80 to 90 percent of those responders will print and redeem the offer. They do all the tracking and provide you a place online to view your customer info. mUrgent also creates an online profile of each customer by surveying their preferences and what they would like to receive from your pizzeria.

mUrgent can personalize promotions for each individual customer. For instance, if you have a family that likes the pepperoni and wing combo and a single lady that likes a plain cheese pizza, you can tailor their email offer to their individual tastes. If you have more than one location, they can make offers specific to customers of your individual stores.

mUrgent also offers cellular text marketing services, which work on the same basis as an email marketing message. For instance they can send a text coupon for you to your customer's cell phones with personalized offers. This technology, coupled with email marketing, assists in communicating with your customers through more direct methods to help build customer loyalty in an efficient and cost-effective way over other expensive direct marketing techniques.

For more information please contact Chris Conte, National Sales Director, toll-free 877.289.7250 or email cconte@murgent.com or visit www.murgent.com.

Strategy:
POWERFUL POS MARKETING

Something many small business owners miss in the all out effort to farm new customers is the importance of taking care of their regular customers. With the modern technology of POS systems, owners now can get a very accurate snapshot of their customer's preferences. POS systems offer critical contact information. A customer list can now tell you how often a customer comes in, what day of the week they return most frequently, and what they prefer to order. Such information allows an owner to develop a solid working – and more profitable relationship with their clientele. Using POS systems you can break the information down into very manageable and useful lists: people who only order pizza, people who only order subs, people who only order wings, and so on. Even small pizzeria owners will gladly spend $3,000 for a top notch POS system.

Customer targeted direct mailing is an invaluable tool that can be used to keep your regular customer base informed on any specials or promotions you may be offering. This can be in the nature of a soft sell, a simple postcard, a mailed menu or coupons mailed to a regular customer reminding them of a special on wings or a new meatball sandwich. The idea is to focus on the people who are making that phone ring 95 percent of the time on Friday nights. Mailings sent to frequent customers can enjoy a return rate upwards of 60 percent, according to industry professionals. Getting your frequent customers to visit your store more often is a solid way to increase revenues.

Generally, a pizzeria can focus their target mailing on their delivery area, which is usually in the three-mile range. The newer POS systems are capable of adapting also, if an operator decides to change their delivery area, the system can also be changed.

You're in the business of selling pizza, not designing marketing campaigns. That's where Atlantic Marketing of Rockville, Maryland comes in. One of the most valuable services Atlantic performs is they can design a bulk mailing that meets all government postal regulations. No matter how careful you are, mistakes can still be made on addresses or matters of postal weight. Atlantic will qualify your mailing and correct any postal errors. Once the qualifying is done, the bulk-mailing rate will kick in. Not only are you getting your store's information into your customers hands, but at the cheapest possible rate.

Atlantic Marketing has many clients in the pizza sector and they are very experienced in tailoring a customer-targeted direct mail campaign for pizzerias. Once you've established a mail relationship with your frequent customers, Atlantic can guide you through the effort to reach out to the non-frequent visitor. For this group, the hard sell might be employed, such as buy-one-get-one free-type giveaways.

For non-customers, a larger mailing might be the ticket, but again, not at the expense of your regular customers. For more information contact Atlantic Marketing at 1-877-493-2300 or visit www.pizzaispromotion.com.

Strategy:
ESTAN SUS MANUALES EN ESPANOL?

Good workers are hard to find these days. In many areas the Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds, fast becoming the country's #1 minority. With the rise in the Spanish-speaking segment, you see Spanish wording or "En Espanol" everywhere: on product labels, street signs, company directories and even commercials.

It's a fact that speaking Spanish can mean a lot in the business world. Many pizza operators are hiring bilingual employees to market to a wider customer base. You may even have a few Hispanic workers in your store that speak enough English to get the job done, but have you thought about really using your training materials to get these workers trained in other areas of your operation? The first step is to get all your materials translated, but how do you go about that?

Well, there's a company out there with experience in the translation of pizza industry documents. Due to the fact that Spanish Word Associates is strategically located across the border from El Paso, Texas in Cd. Juarez, Mexico, many pizza operators are now benefiting from their Spanish language domain expertise and a significant price arbitrage as compared to translation services done in the States. Spanish Word Associates can help you effectively address the communication problems faced with hiring of Hispanic employees.

Victor Lujan, president and principal linguistic consultant of Spanish Word Associates, says there are four major critical areas of concern pizza operators face when communicating with Hispanics.

  1. Decreased work efficiency and customer loyalty – Business practices; customer focus and management's key messages are not conveyed accurately and understandably for Hispanic employees.
  2. Alienation and increased turnover – Hispanics often feel excluded and not "PART OF THE TEAM" if work culture is not explained appropriately.
  3. Inability to attain and maintain uniform standards of operations – Assuming a bilingual employee is qualified to translate written workplace materials and relying on machine translations to generate sensitive company information.
  4. Incompliance with legal rules and regulations – such as OSHA's on safety or the EEOC's on harassment due to language misinterpretations.

With the use of Spanish-translated materials, Victor says you will get many benefits out of your Spanish-speaking employees. He says you can expect impeccable conduct and superior hospitality because the employees can comfortably understand management's messages.

Another benefit comes in the boost of employee morale and motivation. "It is worth the effort to have well-devised visual videos and demonstrations for workplace training," Victor says. "Besides providing well-written translations, a professional should be able to provide generic Spanish so employees of different nationalities will understand it."

"The more informed employees are, the more they are likely to implement the company's mission," Victor says. Spanish Word Associates focuses exclusively on the language (Spanish) required by U.S. Hispanic employee segments and markets. They only deal with English to Spanish translation. Native tongue translators perform the translation service instead of computers. They will work with you to make sure your message is clear to your intended audience.

Spanish Word Associates has already begun helping the pizza industry with their translation needs with such clients as Boston Pizza, CiCi's Pizza and Peter Piper Pizza. To find out more about how Spanish Word Associates can service your translation needs, please contact Victor Lujan at 915-613-4415 or through email vlujan@spanword.com. You can also visit them online at www.spanword.com.

Strategy:
LOYALTY PROGRAMS = LOYAL CUSTOMERS

Did you know a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase lifetime profits from a customer by 75 percent? Did you know 61 percent of gift card holders spend MORE than the gift amount? Imagine your customers returning twice as fast, spending 30 percent more on their next visit and becoming a vocal cheerleader of your restaurant spreading positive word of mouth. This is what happens when you implement a loyalty program that rewards customer's buying habits, communicates with your customers on a regular basis and tracks the results for future marketing efforts. If you want a loyalty program, you also want one that manages itself and that is what you get with nTouch Loyalty. nTouch Loyalty is a fully integrated marketing solution that drives results.

The foundation of nTouch is a wireless terminal that accepts credit cards, gift cards and loyalty cards. This "all-in-one" terminal is the first of it's kind providing user- friendly functionality and transaction times of 3 to 5 seconds for a combined loyalty and credit card transaction. The heart of the nTouch loyalty program is the automatic customer communication system you design to create additional business through rewards, promotions and customer recognition. The backbone to this system is the reporting. nTouch Loyalty can either produce reports directly from the terminal or be integrated directly into your POS. Knowing who your customers are, their frequency of visits and buying habits allows you to create rewards that keep them coming back and increase their spending while there. Activity reports gives you information detailing your customers buying habits, sales activity and potential lost customers.

With the nTouch Loyalty package, you not only get a ready-to-go loyalty program, you get all the tools to make it successful. The starter kit comes complete with customer enrollment forms, custom loyalty cards, print-ready art for table tents, buttons and decals, flyers to promote your loyalty program and a free copy of the "Quick Guide to Marketing Success." You also get 24 hour technical service, access to marketing support specialists, a free subscription to PMQ and a $700 coupon package good toward services from the Restaurant Alliance including payroll, accounting, insurance, magnets, direct mail, marketing services and much more.

Your most important asset is your customer list. nTouch specializes in developing that asset and making it work for YOU. With nTouch you eliminate your reliance on coupons and discounts while turning first-time visitors into loyal repeat customers. Most important, nTouch is the only marketing solution that measures results and helps you make decisions for future marketing. Focus your marketing energies and dollars on building loyalty with your existing customers. Statistics find that it may cost you as much as ten times more in obtaining a new customer than to retain an existing one. Test markets have shown customers in restaurant loyalty programs return four times sooner, visit twice as much and spend 17 – 45 percent more than non-loyalty program members, so what are you waiting for? For more information on getting nTouch to work for you, visit www.restaurantalliance.com, call 888-711-7011 or email info@restaurantalliance.com.