How To Quickly Build Your Restaurant / Pizzeria Business
The #1 resource on the internet for independent, franchise and chain operators who want an edge in today's fast-paced and brutally competitive marketplace...
You’re competing in a world of Groupons and coupons… where anyone can sign up with a basic email provider... deliver a blizzard of mindless discounts... and train customers to spend… less.
The question we should be asking is… how can we get customers to spend more?
And not because of tricks or manipulation, but because your marketing is in step with their natural rhythm. Instead of interruptive, irrelevant advertising, they're delighted with meaningful messages that fit like a glove.
By becoming a welcome part of their life, they'll reward you with more visits. They'll spend more. They'll stay loyal.
Almost everything you need to know about building sales can be found on these pages. From attracting and keeping new customers to creating a reliable revenue stream that carries you into old age...
It's not made-up stuff from a hired content writer either. It's from my own personal experience in growing my pizzeria sales by $137,000 a month (and the ongoing restaurant, pizzeria, retail, and multi-unit success experienced by our clients).
Proven ways to increase restaurant sales (by someone who's done it)...
- Attract new customers to your restaurant for free
- Increase average ticket with these proven upselling phrases
- Increase visits with automated behavior marketing
- Allow customers to spend more with SMART offers
- Keep 4X more customers with SMART retention
- How to choose the right marketing platform for you
How to grow your restaurant faster by spending less
Millennials are largest spending demographic the planet has ever seen. And your restaurant or pizzeria will depend entirely on them - very soon.
Shunning big houses and fancy cars, they’re flush with disposable income and spend more money in restaurants than any previous generation. They seek out fresh ingredients, organic and local. They value community, authenticity, and prefer the mom-n-pop dining experience.
What follows is a roadmap to own this crowd if you want it.
The beauty is, you'll spend less. Do less. And make more.
Crazy-affordable technology will do all the work.
We start there...
1. Attract more new customers to your restaurant
You don’t find Millennials. They find you. They actively seek information and crowd validation before making decisions.
Now, hold your nose if you need to, but stay with me for a minute here.
Yelp, like a turd in the punch-bowl, is widely despised by restaurant owners of every stripe. Nothing will send a hard-working restaurateur into a demonic rage faster than a vicious, 1-star review. Nothing!
I get it. But here’s the deal. Yelp is the top restaurant search engine on the planet. It’s where Millennials go when they’re looking for a new place to try. Even smaller markets see thousands of searches every month. These spend-ready consumers are looking for a new restaurant to try, right now. Turn a blind eye, and you simply surrender this traffic to your competitors.
Here's the potential: One of our clients, a 3-location Japanese restaurant chain pulled in over $45,000 in just 10 months from Yelp once we optimized their Yelp profile.
You can see the full case study and more in our report.
The money is real. And the customer lifetime value skyrockets when coupled with a loyalty program that keeps these new guests returning.
Here’s where you start:
- Claim your profile
- Upload appealing photos
- Respond to every review
Now let's talk about that last one. You cannot win an argument with a customer so don’t even try. Respond in a cool-headed manner, acknowledge the issue and ask the reviewer to give you another chance. Done.
TIP: Don’t offer free food to every hothead. That invites others to complain in order to scam a free meal.
And here’s a secret. You actually need a few bad reviews. Searchers are skeptical when eyeballing an endless list of raving, 5-star reviews. Nobody’s perfect, and they know that. They’ll see the ridiculous reviews for what they are. But they want to see how you handle the heat on a legitimate beef.
Tripadvisor, Google+ and maybe Zomato also need your attention. Keep your profile current, add photos, videos, and respond to reviews.
FACT: Reputation equals revenue. We’ve seen clients appearing in Yelp search results increase by over 1000% along with verifiable traffic surges by taking control of their most important asset. Their reputation.
2. Increase average ticket with these proven upselling phrases
Simple, easy-to-remember phrases will get up to 60% of your guests to order additional items and spend more as they place their order.
And what's really helpful is, your order takers and servers won’t have to feel awkward or struggle with this very important part of your overall profit strategy.
Your greatest opportunity to increase the order amount happens at the moment the order is placed, and continues through to the conclusion.
Here's two upselling phrases guaranteed to boost your average ticket.
1. Would you like to share an order of wings with that?
The power word is "share." This is perfect for two or more people and you will use this phrase after the initial order has been taken.
2. Extra cheese on that?
Those 4 words brought me close to $1,000 a month in additional profit. And it was nothing short of amazing how that simple phrase outperformed any other sentence. Now, I never used it myself, but a pizzeria owner at one of my Pizza Expo seminars said he had jaw-dropping success with just "extra cheese?"
Use it like this: The customer calls and says: I’d like to order a pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms.
Right then you say: Extra cheese on that?
Our free guide "Triggers" gives you additional phrases (including the magic phrase you must use at the end of every single order).
3. Increase visits with automated behavior marketing
The marketing of tomorrow is already here... and it is very cool. And it is very smart.
So, forget what your marketing used to do. Here’s what it does now.
Fueled by data, which I’ll cover in just a minute, smart marketing unleashes three untapped revenue generators that yesterday’s marketing didn’t even know existed.
The first we'll cover is "customer buying cycle."
And this is exactly how you turn casual customers into high-profit repeaters.
FACT: People are creatures of habit. They don’t visit your restaurant when you feel like advertising. They visit when the timing is right for them.
Get in step with your guest's natural buying cycle
The more your marketing aligns with your guest's natural buying cycle the more often you'll see them. And from there you have the opportunity to begin increasing frequency.
So, a batch-and-blast email pushed out on “Wednesday” is awkwardly out of step with most of your customers’ natural buying cycles. That’s because you’re late with Bob, he’s a Tuesday buyer. And you’re early with Sally, she orders on the weekends. Out of sight, out of mind.
Over-messaging is a top reason guests opt out of restaurant loyalty or email programs. Smart marketing keeps the timing right, reducing opt-out and increasing visits.
FACT: A twice a month guest making just one more visit a month - is a 50% increase right there.
You enjoy more customer visits by delivering messages during a customer's peak buying cycle.
Being top of mind when customers are ready to spend turns many of your irregular guests into high-profit repeaters.
And Millennials expect a “me” experience. It’s all they’ve ever known. And they’ll give you direct access to the smartphone resting in their hand to get it. They will also block, delete, uninstall or unfollow you the instant you abuse that privilege with a spam blast.
There is no faster way to increase sales than by harnessing the power of an existing habit.
4. Allow guests to spend more with SMART offers
"Batch-and-blast" marketing murders profits in three ways:
1. It trains customers to wait for deals
2. It conditions them to spend less
3. It over-discounts your big spenders
Customer spending potential
We coined the phrase "customer spending potential" immediately after releasing SMART offers to a handful of clients.
Here's why this is important to you...
CUSTOMER SPENDING POTENTIAL: Everyone has a certain price they’re comfortable paying for something. And while they won’t hesitate to spend less, they will rarely spend more.
Here's how it works...
Bob is happy to spend $25 on a large combo pizza. Sally’s more frugal - $15 is her limit.
Cookie-cutter marketing is completely dumb to this. It treats all customers the same.
And here’s the problem:
A $20 offer has Bob spending $5 less than he would have. And Sally ends up going somewhere else because you’re $5 higher than her comfort zone. So, you end up with $20 instead of $40.
So, instead of over-discounting Bob he gets a $25 deal. And instead of losing Sally’s business she gets a $15 deal, on terms favorable to you.
Now you have $40 in your pocket instead of $20. With thousands of Bobs and Sally's, this adds up fast.
FACT: One of our clients saw a group of 262 customers spend an additional $1,065 the very first month smart offers were implemented.
5. Keep 4X more customers with SMART retention
Ask yourself a quick question: "How many customers would your restaurant have today if you still had every guest that ever came in?"
This graph is the result of a 30-month retention study. It shows that 78% of loyalty members are still considered active vs. 22% for non-loyalty customers.
Think about this: You can’t grow your restaurant sales while losing as many customers as you gain.
For instance, a typical restaurant can experience around 18% customer turnover each year. Yet, most, do absolutely nothing about it. And the longer a customer stays away, the less likely you are to ever see them again.
Back in the old days... you know, 5 years ago... pizzerias used a crude method for getting lapsed customers to order again. It's called the 30/60/90-day program.
The idea is, if a customer hasn't ordered a pizza in the past month you better send a discount to get them back. At 60 days... a steeper discount. At 90 days it would often be a free pizza.
Even a simple loyalty program will give you the data you need to implement a retention program. You'll just need to decide the proper time-frames to reach out with a reminder or offer to get guests back into your restaurant and spending again.
If you have a SMART marketing platform this happens automatically for you (no action required).
Since SMART marketing platforms continually study each customer’s activity, they also detect inactivity. That means they will reactivate lapsed guests on autopilot for you.
Better yet, some platforms (including ours) will identify customers at risk of defecting and re-engage them before they do.
A retention program is a powerful tool to keep your restaurant growing.
It's your ticket to the major leagues.
FACT: Many of our high-volume restaurant clients, see upwards of $100,000 a year in recaptured revenue from this alone.
While nothing will eliminate customer churn, predictive analytics and automated retention greatly reduce it. And that keeps you growing.
So, from now on, as your competitors carpet-bomb customers with ill-timed emails and irrelevant offers (yawn), you’ll be building an unstoppable business with smart technology powered by science.
If your pulse isn’t racing by now, slap yourself. Hard.
How You Get Started
This smart rocket ride requires one thing. Data. And the simplest, most efficient way to collect it is through a loyalty program. That’s because loyalty programs collect a mind-bending amount of customer data that when properly analyzed and acted upon, puts you in a position to print money.
Besides that, loyalty flips the marketing model to something that makes sense for you. Instead of bribing customers with discounts to get them in the door, you reward them for spending more money with you, and only after they do.
6. Tips for choosing a SMART restaurant marketing provider
The promise of smart marketing evades many restaurant owners because they’re chained to an outdated or inadequate POS platform. They want the cool new stuff, but their POS becomes a chokepoint.
Smart marketing technology can become rather stupid under the wrong conditions. Loyalty only collects the data that feeds your smart marketing engine. Sure, most POS platforms offer a loyalty program. They collect transaction data, but you have to decipher it, run reports, segment lists, create and send emails, and track results. I can promise you, complex data analysis is not a do-it-yourself project. And most restaurant owners I chat with are looking for less work, not more.
Speaking of that. Stay away from so-called loyalty programs that harvest (steal) your customer list.
Third-party marketing providers that bundle loyalty, analytics, email, mobile, surveys, automation, etc. into a cohesive platform is where the money is. Each piece talks to the other, and everything works together.
TIP: You cannot win the digital race wearing cement boots. Choose a POS that integrates with, or allows third-party digital marketing solutions. Digital moves fast. You need freedom not shackles.
How to Choose Smart Restaurant Marketing Automation
There are many good, solid providers out there, but you’ll also come across some half-baked “coded-yesterday” upstarts. Here’s what you need to look for:
Platform: Fragmentation is digital marketing’s enemy. If you have loyalty over here, email over there, surveys, mobile, and data somewhere else, you have complexity. And if nothing’s talking to each other you multiply inefficiencies. The exact opposite of what technology should be doing for you.
Nobody buys parts and assembles a car in their garage. Likewise, duct-taping 5 or 6 different providers together, is a project you don’t want.
Customer Experience: Millennials experience the world through a smartphone. Your website, mobile app, and online ordering must load fast, look great and navigate easily. If not, click. You’re gone.
Research and carefully evaluate solutions. Choose a turnkey solution that includes the marketing channels you need, in one spot, optimized for mobile.
Automation: If a provider pitches “actionable data” so you can make better marketing decisions, or email integration so you can send emails, you better run. Fast.
Data, stuck on your POS somewhere, waiting for you to act on it, is already old. Its ability to deliver a max-profit outcome for you today has passed.
No human can match the data-driven, machine-learning, marketing automation technologies designed to maximize wallet-share from each customer. Do-it-yourself doesn’t stand a chance against a competitor with a cohesive auto-pilot program that acts immediately, when the opportunity is there.
You need complete, hands-off automation.
Pricing: Newbies have no frame of reference on this, but grizzled veterans remember the high cost, hard work, and heartbreaking results of yesterday’s mass marketing. Direct mail campaigns that cost thousands, delivered almost nothing.
Today, life-altering, done-for-you, competition-crushing digital marketing is available to any restaurant owner for less than what a small Yellow Page ad cost just a few short years ago.
Spend Less. Make More.
The marketing of tomorrow is already here, it’s ridiculously affordable, and it’s very cool. It can study each customer, learn their behavior patterns, and develop a max-profit marketing scenario for tomorrow. Then, while you sleep, it creates, schedules and delivers the right message to the right customer at the right time. Its only mission - a reliable, unstoppable flow of profit for you…
- How are rewards different than discounting?
- Isn't my POS loyalty program good enough?
- Can I do my own data analysis?
- Why do I need marketing automation?
- I hate Yelp. Why should I deal with it?
- What POS systems does Repeat Returns work with?
- Does Repeat Returns only help pizzerias and restaurants?
- What is Repeat Returns pricing?
How are rewards different than discounting?
Loyalty flips the marketing model to something that makes sense for you. Instead of bribing customers with discounts to get them in the door, you reward them for spending more money with you, and only after they do.
Bribing conditions customers to expect, and wait for discounts. This generates short bursts of discount traffic followed by sluggish traffic until the next discount.
Rewarding, conditions customers to visit and spend. That’s because the more they spend with you, the better it gets for them (and you). This builds a reliable steady flow of spending that you can count on to pay your bills and grow your business.
Loyalty creates a world where customers actually enjoy spending money with you and look forward to the next opportunity to do so. It replaces bargain-hunters with steady-spenders.
You rent customers with discounts. You own them with loyalty.
Isn't my POS loyalty program good enough?
Your POS is the most important piece of equipment you own. There’s a big difference between the old programs that just tally up points... and the new breed of platforms that practically mint money.
Passive loyalty programs with no marketing (punch-cards, POS/credit card loyalty programs), wait for customers to return.
Active loyalty platforms with data-driven marketing reach out to customers, keep you “top of mind” and give continual reminders and reasons to return.
If you just want a basic loyalty program, the point calculator in your POS is probably fine. But if you want to go warp-speed with sales-building, you need good analytics, and marketing automation.
There's just no substitution.
Can I do my own data analysis?
Sure. But it's a rookie move.
Here's why: In the time it takes you to read this... artificial intelligence can look at millions of data points, create a high-profit outcome for your business, and deploy the marketing to get the job done.
Be careful: There’s an explosion of vendors out there repackaging data you already have, into spreadsheets, charts and reports. The promise is that YOU will have actionable data… better data insights…
Translation: YOU need to figure out what those insights are… and YOU need to take the action.
Unless you're craving more work and crappy results, let your competitors work harder and make less.
Why do I need marketing automation?
No human on the planet could possibly keep up with what automation effortlessly does for you. That said... automation comes in a few flavors.
- WALK: Automatically batch-and-blast bulk emails on a specific date and time.
- RUN: Sends specific emails to specific customers based on a trigger (visit, birthday, etc).
- WARP: (What we do)... Sends specific promotions and messages based on individual customer habits. This can include delivering messages on a specific day (in sync with customer buying cycle), and specific time of day to gain the best inbox placement for highest open rates.
To give you an idea of what automation can do, this is a marketing calendar for one of our clients.
A variety of messages go out each day based on customer behavior. Better yet, they go out at specific times to fit each customer's email viewing habits.
I hate Yelp. Why should I deal with it?
Listen, I hated the Yellow Pages. Cost me about $1,500 a month. But I HAD to be there.
Yelp is the new Yellow Pages... only it's continually updated by people who've been to your business. For sure, you need to focus on delivering a great customer experience, but you simply can't ignore the occasional tirade by some disgruntled customer.
What POS systems does Repeat Returns work with?
The following POS systems are compatible or integrated with Repeat Returns.
Point Of Success
We have easy-to-use solutions for many POS systems not listed here. And a simple solution even if you don't have a POS (shame on you).
Just reach out if you have questions on Repeat Returns and your POS.
Does Repeat Returns only help pizzerias and restaurants?
It looks that way doesn't it? Truth is, we work with restaurants, pizzerias, retail, pet stores, hospitality/resorts, even a yacht dealer, and CPG (items in your grocery store).
We handle marketing for over 200 multi-unit/franchise operations and independents alike. Since our CEO owned a pizzeria and we are the largest provider for pizzerias nationwide, most of our content and examples are from that industry.
What this means for you: Pizza is fiercely competitive. Because we're equipped to handle that knock-down-drag-out industry, other business types have selected our platform in order to benefit from that experience.
What is Repeat Returns pricing?
There's nothing more annoying than websites that leave you scratching your head about pricing. I mean, what are they hiding, right?
Since we build a custom program for each client, there is no fixed answer. But most of our clients are in at about $10 a day (less than the cost of one employee for one hour). Some a little more, some a little less.
Depends on what you need, and how we can best fit it to your budget.