Intelligent Strategies & Creative Execution


Keep Your Eyes on Your Fries!

By: Gary Stracina


Even though you’re in the pizza business, you still need to keep your eyes on your fries. You’ve been in the pizza business for almost 20 years and you know every in and out of running your shop. Partners have come and gone, employees rotated in and out as fast as a pinwheel on a windy day and you probably spent more time ordering supplies than actually making pizzas.


Every restaurant owner I have spoken to over the years has consistently guarded their secret of success and they are as superstitious as a hockey goalie in a play-off game. Well, I am writing this article in hopes of encouraging you, the owner, to tweak your life a little bit, and slowly evolve to the next level or stage of your business. I work for the MPP Marketing Group, and what we do is menu design, menu makeovers, as well as printing of the menus and a wide variety of services from direct mail to social media. You might say our menu is fairly full.


On a daily basis we get calls from all over North America from restaurant owners, particularly pizza restaurants for help, I call it the “911 call”. Their business is down, sales are slipping or have fallen down, a new guy just opened up down the street, the location was great, but all the regulars have moved away. The list goes on and on and they have every excuse in the book as to why the old days were better than today. Perhaps the unwillingness to change or accept change is “trust” and the last time you tried to make changes, things didn’t work out as planned or it cost you twice what you thought it should be.


 Before we start a menu design or re-design, MPP really gets to know the client prior to starting a job. The sales department does their part, but our graphic design team takes the ball and runs with it. They send a “Get To Know The Client” survey, to each and every new client we partner with. Without the survey, they won’t start a design. Why design anything, when you don’t what the client really wants?


Here are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself;

  • When was the last time you overhauled your menu?
  • Are there items on your menu that you no longer sell or don’t want to sell?
  • Are your menu photos older than your first born child?
  • Is your menu so crammed with items that even trifocals make it difficult to read?
  • How current is your pricing and does it reflect the true cost and profit margins you need to succeed?


If you answered “yes” to at least 1 of these questions and Clinton was the President, you should be thinking of a menu re-design. A menu re-design does not mean scrapping everything on your menu and starting from scratch. It doesn’t mean a drastic change in the kitchen and retraining the staff on how to make pizzas. It’s more like going to the barber and saying “take a little off the top”.


Even today with the internet and on-line ordering opportunities, hungry consumers still like to look at the pictures and decide what catches their attention. Families can pass around an 11’ X 17” full color menu versus a 4” cell phone image and then you have to spend 10 minutes telling them what your specials are because they can’t be bothered to scroll down.  Did I mention coupons? Your menu should have coupons! Coupon redemption is way up and consumers love coupons. Coupons bring existing and new consumers to your pizzeria, as residents move away, new ones move in and new developments are being built every year. Encourage or reward customers for ordering your pizza with coupons. Enough said about coupons as I am sure you get my point.


Does your pizzeria have a rewards or loyalty program?  Probably not as they can get to be costly and it’s just one more item that requires your attention and you might think that you’re too small an operation to get involved with one down the road.


Mark Sibilia, our founder and CEO of the MPP marketing Group Inc. is pleased to announce the start of our new “Turning Menus into Forests” program. The basic program is a no cost initiative to get your restaurant involved within your community and a method of increasing sales and community awareness. When you join the program, MPP keeps track of how many dollars you spend on your flyers or direct mail program. Every dollar is worth points and those points are converted into tree seedlings. In the early spring or fall you will be given a count of how many seedling your restaurant has earned and you can give them out as a promo or donate them to a local school or hospital for a tree planting event. This program is scheduled to start this summer and you can contact us for more information on how to join.


Here’s a bit of trivia for you to end off this article. Do you know what the “MPP” stands for.  The MPP in MPP Marketing Group stands for “My Pizza Promo” and we have being doing just that for over 15 years.

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