By Big Dave Ostrander

Big Dave’s always closed early on Christmas Eve (6 p.m.) so that my crew could get home and enjoy their family time. The key word here is family. Many families gather together on Christmas Eve. Since the following day will be filled with traditional home-cooked feasts, the cooks in charge (Moms) are looking for an easy-to-prepare, no muss, no fuss family favorite. Pizza is just that. Since pizza is an impulse food purchase, you may want to alert your customers that you will be closing early but will be filling orders until 6 or 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve? The pizza industry already enjoys robust sales the day before Thanksgiving. Why not make the day before Christmas ours as well?

The top of your pizza box is underutilized for advertising and sending messages to your customers. Most of us only think about discount coupon box toppers taped to the box. What is wrong with creating a holiday thank you message along with an invitation to start a family tradition of Christmas Eve pizza? Office Max and Staples sell printer paper that has holiday color borders that would work great for the message. Create a holiday message and weave in the suggestion that you would be delighted to cook a family favorite dinner for them on Christmas Eve. Also, mention that you will only be able to fill orders for 100 families and that it’s first come, first served on that day. Then it is over. This creates a perception of demand and the need for expediency.

Every year, like clockwork, I had dozens of families order pizza for this evening. It became tradition and the same names popped up every year.

Also, I’m sure you’re well aware that, typically, sales slump in January. Why not include a holiday gift for your loyal customers that is included on the holiday box topper? For instance, boost up your slow weekdays with a great offer. Offer freebies with the purchase of any large pie. Whatever it takes to get the customer in the door is fair game to ward off the first of the year sales blues.

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