Jan 6, 2017 6:00:00 AM by Bess Couture
It’s that time of year again: New year, new you, right? And as you examine who this “new you” really aims to be, one thing is for certain, you’ve got to increase pizza sales. Even if you had an amazingly profitable 2016, there is always room for improvement, especially as the big chains continue to knock out the smaller operations. With that in mind, today we look at some unique menu methods to increase pizza sales and some lame excuses for why not to! From menu upgrades, to rebranding, to special promotions, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to increase profits with just a few tweaks to your business plan!
Upgrading your Menu
“Bess, I don’t have the capacity to change and add to my menu right now…” That’s cool because I don’t want you to actually change it. I want you to upgrade it. The big difference is that your menu items – the things you’re accustomed to making, those don’t change. At all. The way you present them, however, changes entirely.
Sound confusing? Don’t be fooled – this is marketing 101 and it’s aimed at the 2017 consumer. Your guest’s want “fresh made,” “all natural,” and “artisanal” options. And great news: much of your menu already falls into those categories, it’s just a matter of labeling them as such. Do your pizzas get made to order? Great! Start marketing it that way. Do you get your cheese from a local vendor? Cool, your main topping is now locally sourced.
“But isn’t this fooling the customer?” Not at all. You’re simply stating things that have long been obvious to you! You know your menu is made to order, you know where your ingredients come from! Why not repackage that information for your customers in a way that translates to increased sales?
Adding to your Menu
“But Bess, I already told you I don’t have the capacity to change my menu right now…” Fine, you may not have room for additional ingredients or even the cash flow to start ordering additional products to sell. So to that I say, think outside the pizza box. How can you take what you already are working with and add to your menu?
You can easily repurpose your ingredients to make new items for your menu. Calzones and strombolis are an easy pizza alternative using the same exact ingredients – and you can change more for them if you call them artisanal made! What about making pizza poppers or rolls – same ingredients made into a bite size snack – perfect for lunch specials, or on-the-go meals.
In this way you can add to your menu a number of different ways, without actually adding anything to your kitchen inventory or stock. Additionally this is a perfect way to get rid of those harder to sell items!
Actually Adding to your Menu
“Bess, I don’t want to add to my menu, I like what I already offer!” Sure, I understand that we all get comfortable with what we’ve already got going on. BUT when you’re looking to increase sales, sometimes you have to expand and see what your competitors are offering that you’re not.
Wings for example are a HUGE money maker for the pizza industry. Did you know four out of five Americans eats chicken wings? Basically 80% of your audience eats them – why not add them to your menu?! We’ve got a great white paper for adding wings to a pizza menu, so we won’t go into the nitty gritty detail but do consider how much profit you could be making with wings before shutting them down based on their initial startup cost.
Combine your Menu
“Ugh, can’t we just leave our menu alone?!...” Sorry, not sorry! If you want to increase your pizza sales you have to get creative and in this instance I mean doing the combo mambo. “What?! I have to learn to dance!?” Of course not, but it doesn’t hurt! What I’m referring to actually doing here is making combination items that are perceived discounts for your customers.
For example, you can buy a small cheese pizza for $8 and a large soda for $4 – BUT if you buy the combo meal you can get it for $10 total. That’s a perceived value of $2 to your guest who may or may not have even been interested in a drink with their meal. Humans are practically conditioned to spend more money if it means saving money (free shipping for orders over $100, anyone?!) And in the case of something like a soda, where the profit margin is ridiculous – you’re offering a value add to your customer without losing much at all. PLUS you just might increase sales on items that weren’t selling before!
Promote your Menu
“Enough about the menu, Bess!!!” Nope, but we’re almost done, I promise! You need to promote the heck out of your menu. And not just once people walk through your doors, I’m talking about getting them in your doors for the first time, simply because they like your menu! For this strategy, you’ll need to employ a bit of the first strategy and carefully word your menu items. And I hate to say it, but you know who you need to appeal to the most? “Don’t say it, Bess!!” Yep, it’s those pesky millennials.
Folks born between 1982 and 2004, also known as millennials, hold huge purchasing power in our economy. How much power, ohhh just $200 Billion worth of spending power, according to Ad Age. So with that in mind, you’re long overdue to start promoting your menu to millennials in the ways they elect to interact with you. That translates a big presence online, since on average millennials spend 25+ hours per week on digital platforms and most frequently on their photos.
Think of ways you can attract a millennial audience and how you can get the word out there about your pizzeria. Are you on all the social platforms? You’d better be! Is there a millennial on your staff, you can be sure they’d love to get paid to manage your social platform, even if it’s just in-between making pizza!
Make no mistake about it, adjusting your menu for the right audience can have a huge impact on your bottom line. With the five menu changes proposed above you've got a wide variety of options to help increase pizza sales from simple to more complex. Choose the method or methods that will best work for your pizzaria and make 2017 your strongest year to date!
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