How can you make an independent Pizzeria profitable?

You sell pizza. You pick your ingredients to give customers the best product possible. You are probably the first pizzeria in the county to introduce a section of “Healthy and Organic” toppings. And you offer the flexibility of customization - right from the bread to toppings and even the style. What more could a true pizza lover ask for?

But still, the other pizza outlets in your town often take the big slice of the pie. How? And Why? It’s all about reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right marketing and growth strategy. And most of all, understanding what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Pizza Pirate in Benicia, California is one of the most popular Pizzerias in town, serving delicious pizzas and pasta for over 40 years. Besides quality, hygiene and affordability what gives this humble outlet its competitive edge is their drive to evolve with the changing times.

From customization options to healthy dishes to online ordering and delivery, Pizza Pirate has managed to be on top of its game by adapting to current trends and consumer tastes. The company now gets more than 60% of its orders through these various digital platforms. Read their success story here.

In this segment, we’ll explore a few levers you can pull to get noticed and be on top of customers' mind when they think of pizza the next time.

Embrace the New!

The big winners in the food industry are the ones who embrace technology. Pizzerias with user-friendly websites, efficient online ordering systems, great delivery, and interesting social media pages have been able to achieve strong web presence and healthy sales.

If you want to attract a great audience, your pizzeria must have a website. Having a strong online presence is an affordable way to create a brand identity, keep your customers posted on menu items, promotions, and deals, special events, etc.

Of course, if you are looking to reach a wide audience, having an interesting social page on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can pay off. Encourage your existing customers to post pictures about their experience at your pizzeria and leave reviews. Looking for more tips on restaurant Marketing? Check out this blog.

Smarter Ordering

Remember when the phone would ring, you’d pick it up, and someone would place the order for pizza?

Now things have changed. Customers would do anything to avoid calling you. They like to interact with businesses through a website, a smartphone app, social media, or through a third-party website. According to Statista, 85% of internet users prefer placing their food orders online, and pizzerias of all sizes have started seeing a hefty boost after adding online ordering.

More than quick delivery and enticing deals, online and mobile ordering is about providing convenience, accessibility, and information to customers. Restaurant online ordering systems and technologies are helping pizzerias move quickly and efficiently. Automating processes is also an effective way that small pizza stores can compete with major brands.

Make it Affordable!

At least, over the weekend. Since people these days are eating out and buying more food online, they're concerned about affordability. When it comes to getting food for family and friends, ordering pizza is the easiest option. But ordering individual items from the menu can be expensive. Perhaps they are looking for deals that can help them save a few bucks, or get more for the price they are willing to pay, especially on weekends and special holidays.

“People easily get addicted to discounts!”

What can you do? For starters, create money-saving combo package deals for various group sizes. For example, you could offer a combo meal targeting families of 4-5 for those weekend home movie nights, game nights and other family events. The price you charge for this meal package can be a few bucks less than what it would cost to buy several items separately. Your customers will appreciate the opportunity to save money and keep coming back to your restaurant to avail amazing deals.

Additionally, you may offer your customers loyalty card benefits on their first purchase and with that slip in a free slice of pizza as a gesture for choosing your pizzeria for their pizza cravings. Perhaps, you’ll earn yourself a loyal customer for the humble price of a slice.

It may sound like you’re buying customers but turns out to be much cheaper compared to advertisements. Promotions guarantee that people will come in, and if it’s good they will come back; maybe order more next time.

Marketing Pizzeria to the right audience!

In order to succeed in the pizza market, one needs to study the behavior patterns of their target audience, their preferences and what makes them switch from one brand to another. Knowing your target audience is one thing, but understanding their needs and wants is what makes all the difference.

“It’s a no brainer that pizza consumers want their pizza the way they want it and as fast as they can get it.”

Take your time to decide what you would like to offer to your customers and what is your target audience. The strategy here is simple: don’t spend money on advertisements and marketing unless you know it’s going to make you money.

The ultimate goal is not just to sell pizza, but to sell them to those who are enthusiastic about their pizzas and generate “Talk Triggers”. If you are able to satisfy their needs and taste buds, they can become your biggest promoters. The word of mouth marketing that you get from this section of the audience is what will build your brand in the long run.

In order to gain a competitive edge, you need a detailed analysis of the geographic target market. You want customers to recognize and prefer your pizzeria above all others. Having an insight into the likes and dislikes of your audience, menu pricing, additional services and so on will help you position yourself well in the market. The response of your customers will depend on how deeply you understood the behavior, preferences, and characteristics of your customers and what measures you have taken to cater to their needs.

It’s clear that in order to survive in the market, your pizzeria must move quickly and efficiently. Meet industry trends and demands, serve quality food and keep your entire operation streamlined. Keeping a pulse on how your business is performing can help you make informed decisions that will result in profitability. If you haven’t explored online ordering, mobile apps, and delivery yet, now is the time to start experimenting. Above all else, don't be afraid to be unique. Be a pizza success!