Pizza Expo Exclusive
By Mike Morgan
This Pizza Expo Exclusive is part of a continuing series leading up to the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 24-27, 2014. Seminar speakers and demonstrators will provide professional advice on their area of expertise.

Our pizzeria owning grandparents would hardly recognize the pizzeria of today. Sure it smells the same. The dough, cheese and sauce are where they should be. However, the dizzying array of computers, touchscreen monitors, digital menu boards, bump bars, routers and switches would have our predecessors wondering if they are in a pizzeria or in a spaceship with a restaurant on it.

The technology streamlines operations, minimizes errors and collects data. Most modern pizzerias have POS systems that are capable of collecting massive amounts of useful—and sometimes not-useful—data. My Pizza Expo seminar for March 2014, Marketing Through Your POS System, looks to provide small- and medium-sized pizzeria operators some direction on what to do with all of this data.

Why Bother?
Collecting data, managing it and developing marketing strategies based on it is hard work. So it begs the obvious question: Why bother?

The QSR customer is in the driver’s seat. He or she has more quality choices than ever before—most of them being marketed to at unprecedented levels. Companies like Chipotle, Panda Express and a slew of well-run burger franchises are talking to your customers and trying to convince them that today is a better day for burritos, fried rice and burgers than it is for pizza. Then there’s your pizza competition. These competitors want your customer as well.

You can offer great food, a clean store, fair prices and good service, but it won’t stop these people from trying to steal your customers. Collecting, managing, and utilizing your customer data to improve the effectiveness of your marketing is your secret weapon in this fight.

Data Collection
The modern pizzeria has several different customer touch-points. Each of these can contribute different data to provide a clearer picture of your customer and their behavior.

We have all heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This aphorism is important when it comes to customer data. We must have policies and procedures in place to ensure the accuracy of the customer data we collect. Getting data accuracy wrong can be frustrating and expensive during phone and direct mail targeted marketing campaigns. Marketing Through Your POS System will present some simple data management best practices.

Using Your Data Goldmine
Once you have your data collected and managed for accuracy, what do you do with it? My seminar will present several tested ways to use the customer data from your POS to inexpensively market to your customers.

One example is the Online-Next-Time card. If you have an online ordering system (if you don’t, you probably should), you must have marketing programs that seek to convert phone orders to online orders.

Online orders yield many advantages over traditional order methods. Online orders result in higher ticket averages, lower usage of discount offers and lower error rates. Another great benefit of online orders is that you can spend those saved labor dollars on improving your service. Every call that is converted into an online order is one call less that you have to take.

If you go from 0 percent to 20 percent online in one year and you average 2,000 orders a month, you will be taking 400 less calls. If you average 3.5 minutes per call, that is 23.3 hours of labor you can put toward helping customers, cleaning or making pizzas.

Your POS system most likely will show on the “tag” what the order method is. Order method can trigger your delivery person or counter person to staple a simple card to the receipt if the customer used a non-online order method. This card should announce a low-value offer (free cheese bread or other inexpensive side) when that customer places the next order online.

These business card-size giveaway notices can be purchased through your local vendor or numerous online vendors for less than 2 cents apiece. When properly distributed, these cards have shown an average redemption rate of 12 percent. With a long-term implementation of this program, you can expect to see a sizable amount of your customers converted to online customers.

I’ll have other suggestions for Pizza Expo attendees who come to my seminar in Las Vegas.

Mike Morgan has been in the pizza and food distribution business for more than 17 years. He began his career as a delivery driver for a produce company in Sacramento, Calif., and since joining Pizza Guys, has risen from director of purchasing to the level of vice presidents. Mike has helped Pizza Guys open and launch many successful locations through innovative targeted marketing campaigns. He is also a franchisee who owns and operates multiple Pizza Guys locations in two states. He will give his Pizza Expo seminar at 4 p.m. on Wed., March 26.

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