How to attract customers to your pizzeria and ways to stand out from your competition.
Driving more traffic into your restaurant is not easy at all, even though you serve the best pizza in the world. Like every business, a pizzeria must attract customers and to do so, it must catch the attention, keep up with the times and implement new strategies to continuously improve the product and the service.
If the quality of the product is definitely the key aspect and you bet big on it, you would be well advised to avoid frozen premade pizza dough for instance. Then you have to market the product to increase sales and revenue growth for the pizzeria by acting on aspects such as menu selection, restaurant style, staff and so on.
In this article, we will point out the levers to pull in order to attract and keep customers, distinguishing different strategies depending on a new restaurant launch or a revamp and will give you some advice on how to implement your plans to improve your offer and satisfy your customers’ tastes.
How to attract customers to a pizzeria
1) Define its identity
Take your time to decide what you would like to offer to your customers and what is your target audience.
It’s about marketing, that is the activities undertaken by a company to promote the sale of a good or a service. The goal here is not just to sell a pizza but to get to know your customers in order to satisfy their needs and maybe increase their base by way of tools like word of mouth recommendations, for instance.
To gain a competitive edge you need a detailed analysis of the existing competitors (identify their strengths and their weaknesses, menu pricing, additional services and so on). Next, you must wonder how you would like to position yourself in the market and the way you would like to be perceived by your clients. Building your brand is a key ongoing process that needs a precise identity, a vision, a communication strategy as a way to stand out from your competitors.
The restaurant business is fiercely competitive and even though according to Sky 24 news there’s a surge in restaurant openings, 3 out of 4 eating places close within 5 years. To survive in such a ruthless industry, making a good pizza is no longer enough but the minimum bet to play.
Today’s restaurant business goes well beyond the actual food experience to include the overall participation that you offer to the customers that can form a clear idea of what they can expect from your establishment. Your pizzeria could deliver a product that nearby competitors can’t match, for example making organic pizza with locally sourced farm-to-table traceable ingredients.
2) Make a name for yourself
Once that you have defined your brand identity and how to embody it with the product, you must think about how to promote your pizzeria. We can choose different initiatives depending on the budget, the competitive landscape, the location and so on.
Normally pizzerias deal with traditional advertising channels like local television, radio or newspapers, billboards and flyers that have drawbacks such as:
- One-way communication with no interaction with the recipients of the message.
- Impersonal communication with all-purpose message to all customer profiles.
- High spending for uncertain returns with difficulties for handling the feedback and for measuring the effectiveness of these ads.
If you don’t want to miss out on a great audience, your pizzeria must have a website. A website is an affordable way to give you total control over the image of your eating place and will likely be the first impression that a potential guest has of it.
Your website will allow you to build trust in your brand, to keep your customers posted on menu items, specials events, etc. A good idea may be to send out an email to your customers on their birthday with a free offer as a way to remind them about the pizzeria and maybe bring along some friends.
Of course, if you are looking to reach a wide audience, social media is the answer. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram encourage customers to leave reviews and post pictures about their experience at your pizzeria and build connections interacting with their followers.
3) How to retain customers
Customer retention is important for every business, but it is more so in the restaurant industry. Repeat customers are happy customers who refer friends and get people through your pizzeria’s door. Providing regular customers with the food and service they expect and treating them with a personal touch is key to keep them coming back.
Opening a new pizzeria vs relaunching an existing one
Strategies may differ if you plan to open a brand-new pizzeria or to revamp or to repurpose an existing one. In the first case, there are many areas to consider, but before you make a business plan and study the competition, you will have to choose the perfect location that will be crucial to the success of the pizzeria and will influence many following choices (type of menu, customer demographics and profile, pricing strategy). You must have a clear vision of your brand and must stick to it to the end and don’t forget that it’s a business, so having a great pizzeria that makes no money doesn’t add up. If revamping or relaunching an outdated pizzeria is what you are after, then you could entertain the idea of refreshing the interior, upgrading the menu or maybe adding services like offering home delivery (Domino’s pizza has built an economic empire on it).
The most innovative tools to promote your restaurant business.
All in all, promoting your pizzeria is a balancing act between traditional advertising, often costly and out of reach for small businesses, and digital one such as websites and social networks that can reach your target audience. In a connected world, new marketing tools are coming on strong to increase foot traffic to your restaurant.
1) Review and booking websites
Customers become online critics, they post ratings and reviews of restaurants and make recommendations to the general public. You can request a listing to websites such as TripAdvisor or The Fork that help you increase reservations and fill your establishment. It’s very important to respond to customers’ reviews in platform like these and more so in the case of negative ones. It shows that the you really care about what people say.
2) Food delivery apps
These apps allow restaurateurs to offer home delivery by signing up to platforms such as Deliveroo, Just Eat, etc. and they are certainly one of the easiest ways to boost sales.
3) Food coupons
Coupons are another great way to incentivize consumers to come to your eating place and take advantage of the discount. Services like Groupon or Groupalia provides you with a huge user base that can really help you attract regular customers.
There’s no denying that the quality of food has the power to make or break your pizzeria’s reputation but it’s the overall experience that matters most, the narrative of the brand that finally will get more customers dining at your establishment.