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Strategy

INCREASE LUNCH SALES WITH CALZONES

Calzones are a great menu option, but can be very labor-intensive with all the prep work they require. You have to make the shell, fill it, fold it and crimp it.

PieMaster has a product that can help you speed the process of making calzones and other folded dough products including empanadas, pierogies, pasties or fruit pies. The PieMaster Table Top Calzone Machine will fold a calzone in just a few seconds that is consistent in appearance and weight. The MT-20E can produce up to 600 folded pies per hour.

Basically, how it works is you place a piece of rolled or sheeted dough on top of the open mold. Next, you place a measured amount of filling onto the dough, and push the button. Using electricity, the counter-top machine, which has a 15 by nine-inch footprint, folds, crimps, seals and trims the calzone or other type of turnover.

With the ease of creating folded, portable meals like calzones and empanadas, you will have a product most pizza places don't have. "You can increase lunchtime business with an easy-to-handle, grab-and-go food," Edward Downs, owner of Aaburco, Inc. (manufacturer of PieMaster products), said. "You can also use calzones smothered with a variety of toppings for a dinner item."

Since the machine has different-sized molds that vary from half an ounce to one pound, you can offer several different sized calzones and other types of turnovers on your menu. For instance, use the smallest mold to make apple bites, by taking dough and apple pie filling and baking or frying them. You can put three to five in a box and have a nice sized dessert. Take the same concept with dough and small bits of cheese, and you have a tasty appetizer. 

Another menu idea is take the fixings for a hot hoagie and put it in a calzone shell. You could take ham or turkey and cheese with your pizza sauce and make a unique sandwich. This would also work with roast beef and Swiss cheese. Put a side of au jus sauce and call it the French dip calzone.

Thinking along the same lines of fillings, what about creating a calzone gyro. If you don't want to offer lamb, you could use chicken or beef, lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce, to make a unique menu item.

Edward says the machine speeds up prep time. "A skilled operator can make a calzone in seconds," he says. "It's impossible to achieve the same consistency by hand."

The calzone machine cleans up in an instant. All you have to do is wipe the machine off with a damp cloth. The MT-20 has no chance of cross contamination because it has no nooks and crannies. It is also USDA certified for meat contact. There are no plastics; the MT-2E0 is made of stainless steel and food-grade aluminum.

The machine has been redesigned recently, Edward says. "We redesigned the machine with the intent to make it last a life time," he says. "Drive shaft diameters were increased, and castings were made thicker. Every part of the machine was bolstered."

For more information on the PieMaster MT-20E electric turnover machine, please go to www.piemaster.com. You will find all the specifications there as well as a video demonstrating the machine. To contact Aaburco by phone, inside the U.S. call 1-800-533-7437.

Strategy

THE MEMO BOARD WITH INTELLIGENCE

When it comes to marketing, the most important thing you should know is that your loyal customers are always the first to respond to your promotions and special offers. Your advertising naturally grabs their attention as they are always interested to know what you've got going on.

Look carefully at the results of your past promotions. Have you noticed that the majority of people who responded have purchased your products in the past? In fact, very few people credit advertising as the reason that they tried a new restaurant for the first time. They are much more likely to say the location, brand familiarity or a friend's referral was the cause of their first purchase.

Given that your restaurant's success depends on keeping your customers happy, your business would grow very quickly if you employed marketing strategies that got people to buy from you more often. The question is how? The people at Smart Marketing Solutions have introduced an innovative new product that has been proven to get customers to buy more often and generate continued results for years.

Their exclusive SmartMemo® board products use the unique combination of a magnetic erasable memo board for the refrigerator plus up to ten detachable coupon offers to put your brand, products and promotional offers in constant view for the entire family to see.

Virtually everyone uses their refrigerator to post important messages and reminders. Talk about location, location, location. What better way to entice your customers than to have them looking over your delectable food items as they stand in front of their own refrigerator deciding what they want to eat? So when the opportunity to get a SmartMemo® board comes around, people jump at it because it saves them time and money.

SmartMemo® boards outperform other coupon distribution methods because of the universal appeal of the erasable memo board and the high-visibility positioning of your brand and offers. The coupons are attached directly to the board so they stay on the refrigerator for everyone to see and where they won't get lost or forgotten… even one year later. Clients like Brent Beal, who owns a Pizza Delight® restaurant in Sackville Nova Scotia say: "The memo boards are the most successful promotion I've ever done. My customers just love them and the redemption rates are the highest I've ever seen."

The latest innovation in SmartMemo® board designs is the new SmartMenu® board for delivery and take-out restaurants. SmartMenu® boards put your complete delivery menu, special meal promotions and tear-away coupon offers right on the refrigerator where the entire household will see them several times every day. Coupons work. It seems consumers will gladly pay $2-$5 for a memo board with over $25 in savings. In addition to the immediate profit made with every sale, people who are willing to pay for value will go out of their way to redeem your offers. The result is a self-financing promotion that produces real sales increases that lasts for months.

For information about the complete line of SmartMemo® board products please visit www.smartmemo.com or call 1-866-991-0995.

Strategy

A MOBILE MESSAGE YOU CAN'T MISS

One of the best marketing techniques for any business is to study the competitive landscape and see where you can offer improved services at a better price. Most industries evolve through trial and error, experience and good ole intuition. Good clear signage has long been the way to advertise your business on-premise but what if you live in a city with strict sign ordinances? Many municipalities are moving to adopt height restrictions, size provisions and even color regulations. Some operators even report that the lowly sandwich board has been outlawed on some sidewalks.

Larger markets where there appears to be a pizzeria on every corner have an even tougher time of breaking through the clutter and giving their customers – and potential customers – a clear view of their business and any special promotions.

One longtime method pizza operators have long used to get their logo out into the community is through that old stand-by, car signs atop delivery trucks. The pizza car sign is a familiar sight on this country's thoroughfares, one that people expect to see and are even happy to see in most quarters. However, that very ubiquity may in fact be a hindrance: pizza car signs are so common, its possible people don't even notice them anymore.

Is there any way to make automobile signage new?

Greg Gajdacs, of cartopsigns.com of Toronto, believes he has found a way to offer a better car sign that "drives home" your business's message; a new stationary car sign called a "spring sign." Made of low-cost coroplast, the idea is to use Airflow's new Spring Sign to anchor a large sign board to the roof of a vehicle parked in front of your business (maximum 2' x 4'). For operators located in a strip mall whose store is a long way from the street, the car could be parked at the strip's turn in area drawing maximum exposure from all the traffic.

The Air Flow sign allows any car to instantly become a billboard. The message can be changed as often as necessary to highlight any promotions or specials. The signs easily slide onto stainless steel springs (hence the name) and are anchored to the car with powerful neodymium magnets. The magnets are capable of withstanding 30 mph winds and come with double scratch-proof protection for your vehicle's finish. Soft rubber boots are placed on top and protect the magnets and hold everything in place and are built to stay pliable even in cold weather.

The result is a sign that moves in the wind, gently rocking back and forth on the stainless steel springs. "Motion commands attention," Gajdacs says. Also, he notes that most cities have no laws regarding signage on stationary vehicles. Gajdacs says he developed his stationary car signs after many requests from small business owners. Air Flow uses the most advanced printing technology (4 color solvent ink jet) and as a result, can offer unlimited colors at no extra charge. Gajdacs also notes since the Spring Sign sits on top of a vehicle, the larger sign-boards can be seen from up to 300 feet away through the clutter" of dense signage while not running afoul of city ordinances.

The price of spring signs is extremely competitive and makes this method of advertising your business one of the best "bang for buck" options available.

For more information call Greg Gajdacs at 416-698-1599 or visit, airflowsigns.com.

Strategy

DON'T BE AFRAID TO USE YOUR MIXER'S VERSATILITY

When opening a pizzeria operation, people talk about location and food quality. Behind the scenes, before opening and during operation, there are other considerations: equipment choices.

When it comes to a dough mixer, the operation and functions are very simple. Dough mixing and cheese grating are standard uses for a dough mixer. Did you know that your dough mixer can be a very versatile kitchen tool? You can use a mixer to grind meat for sausage and meatballs, mixing meatballs, grinding breadcrumbs (Unused pizza dough baked off makes great free breadcrumbs.) and dressings. How do you serve the best bleu cheese dressing? Make it yourself.

You can also stir your pizza and pasta sauces in your mixer. If you have a dough sheeter, how about making homemade lasagna sheets? All you need is semolina flour, water, and salt. You can use your mixer to make Italian bread, canoli filling, piecrusts, coleslaw and sliced veggies for pizza toppings or salads.

You may not have diversified the use of your mixer because you are afraid something will happen to it, and the price of repair and downtime is expensive.

Well, there's a company out there that wants to ease your worries. Precision North America offers the HD-60 precision mixer. They have simply, but strongly, constructed this versatile mixer. "They are so easy to work on that almost anyone with a little mechanical knowledge can repair it," Mark Altarac, president of Precision North America, says. "Wherever possible, the parts on the mixer are available at a local electrical supply store or an automotive supply store. All parts are always in stock at Precision."

Precision offers an industry-leading seven-year warranty on all gears and shafts in the planetary and transmission, which includes the complete drive train from the motor to the attachment shaft where the hook is. There is also a three-year parts warranty on the motor itself. "Maybe pizzeria operators can start taking advantage of their investment," Mark says. "It always upsets me when I buy a product that costs, let's say, $1,000; it breaks, and the part, which is 10 percent of the product, costs me 30 to 60 percent of a new product. To me, that is not customer service."

Precision Mixers are a not a new product. These mixers have a 25-year track record with the same drive train as when they were first manufactured. In the past five years, after NSF International and electrical approvals, Precision Mixers have been made available in the United States. "With a large portion of sales going into national and retail supermarket chains, we saw a need for a lasting-built mixer for food service," Mark says.

Precision's HD-60 mixer was developed to handle the toughest pizzeria situations and to give operators a 60-quart mixer that saves them money at the time of purchase and on costly repairs forever, Mark says.

"I have an idea for you," Mark says. "If a product manufacturer convinces you to buy their product, and it doesn't perform for you, will they replace it for you dollar for dollar with any other brand you choose?  Precision HD-60 will.

To learn more about the Precision HD-60, please contact Mark Altarac at 518-462-3387 or by email at precisionmixers@aol.com. Visit them on the web at www.precisionmixers.com.

Strategy

THE KING OF WING SAUCES

Today, it seems everyone has wings on their menu. Restaurants even specializing in wings are popping up everywhere. Wings can be an easy add-on for pizzerias. Factors that need to be considered when adding them are whether to buy fresh, frozen, or precooked wings, along with how best to prepare them.  Next, decide how many different types of wings to offer. With this decision comes sauce selection.

The most popular type of wings are Buffalo wings which originated in Buffalo, New York. According to Mark Weiler, raised in Western New York and owner and proprietor of Wy's Wings, there's a true distinction in Buffalo wing sauces. "In Buffalo wing terms, cayenne pepper sauce is tantamount to a base tomato sauce as a pizza sauce," he says.

What makes one restaurant's Buffalo wings better than the rest? Three factors contribute to this: the chicken itself, the method of preparation, and the sauce used or applied to the wings. "But make no mistake, it is the sauce, which adds the most value to any order of wings and what will make or break a wing," Mark says.

Much as with pizza sauce yet even more so, what makes one wing sauce different from another are the "other ingredients" which are added to a typical cayenne pepper sauce. Fully prepared sauces also eliminate time, labor, and inconsistency issues.

How you market your wings is as important as the ingredients you use to make them. Use the name of your sauce brand on the menu and in promotional materials. Let people know you use quality ingredients. If you're using the best, boast the best in your promotional materials and in your shop. "Many consumers that know what top wings taste like will stop in to sample yours simply as a result of seeing a self-promo in the window or in literature," says Mark. "When they see that you're right, you'll have gained another customer." 

Let's say you just decided to start offering wings. How are you going to get people ordering them? Well, one way to do this is to put a wing in the box with each pizza. Your customer will be surprised and pleased that you thought to give them a sample. You can also send a staff member out in your dining room offering samples to customers in your dining room.

Package deals are a great way to get people ordering other items beside pizza from your menu. There are several ways to package wings with your pizzas. You can offer a large pizza, a dozen wings and a two-liter soda for one price and call it a family meal deal, etc. You can also offer a choose-two appetizer for one price when you purchase a large supreme pizza. Put half a dozen wings and an order of cheese sticks together in this one.

One fun way to get people interested in your wings is to have a wing night. Price them per wing. Another is to have a hot wing eating challenge with a T-shirt promoting your restaurant as a prize. 

You also want to make sure you have different heat options on the menu. Some people just can't handle very spicy food, so Wy's has a Mild Sauce and a Sweet-N-Tangy Sauce. For the more adventurous wing eaters, they have Medium, Hot, X-Hot and XXX-Hot. They also have a hot version of the Sweet-N-Tangy with other flavors on the way.

Wy's Wings sauces have consistently placed in competitions and have never taken a back seat to any authentic Buffalo Wing sauce. They have been a crowd favorite at the National Buffalo Wing Festival as well drawing rave reviews from attendees. To learn more about Wy's Wings sauces, visit them at www.wyswings.com or give them a call at 1-800-WYS-WINGs or at (540)-465-5355.