Not so long ago, food delivery was synonymous with pizza, delivered hot and fresh. In the last few years, however, the delivery landscape has broadened significantly thanks to third-party delivery services that will bring every culinary whim — ranging from sushi to BBQ — right to your door. Food delivery is up 9% throughout the industry, leaving restaurant owners wondering how they can fight back against rapidly expanding chain restaurants with deep pockets.
Serving up a super delicious cheese pie that customers know and love isn’t enough anymore. Pizza delivery can be cutthroat with its slim margins, and it's no secret that customers can be fickle. Pizzas loaded with toppings and extra cheese that may have sold well for years suddenly plunge in popularity as people worry about their expanding waistlines and rising cholesterol. A pizzeria owner needs to accommodate customers’ changing palates and preferences, which requires a fresh strategy that will help satisfy patrons, attract new business, and build a database of repeat visitors.
It sounds like a tall order, we know. But monitoring industry trends will ensure your pizzeria stays relevant by offering choices people want, whether it’s farm fresh vegetables, artisan cheese or small batch ingredients.
So how can you stay competitive while boosting profits?
- Menu changes: The rise of mail order meal kits like Blue Apron and HelloFresh have put an emphasis on home preparation and fresh ingredients, which many customers may view as a healthy alternative to delivery. Evaluate your menu to see if it’s competitive with trendy meal kits. Make sure healthier options like sandwiches, salads, and whole wheat pasta are available.
You should also keep an eye on local restaurants. Take a little time regularly to check out the competition and see how your pizzeria compares to others nearby. Doing your own market research by reviewing competitors’ marketing initiatives, pricing, customer reviews and menus is the best way to see how your restaurant measures up.
- Loyalty Programs: Pizza is the most affordable way to feed a family, so there’s a lot of pizza delivery competition. A loyalty program is one of the easiest ways to gather data on your customers and get them coming back for more. These programs are easily implemented with the right POS system. Repeat customers are important — they can generate up to 75% of sales for a pizzeria — so these programs are invaluable tools that allow you to identify your best customers and send them text messages and targeted coupons.
- Convenience: Customers want to order their food the way they feel most comfortable, so make every option is available, including online, phone and mobile ordering. You’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for when orders start to roll in, so make sure that you’ve got the manpower and space to keep up with order flow. If your pizzas require special handling or small-batch ingredients, evaluate your operation and make sure you can handle additional orders that come in via online or mobile ordering. Will you need to hire more staff to handle additional deliveries, or will you choose to hire a third-party vendor?
- Understand where you are in your competitive space: Pizza delivery competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it will ensure you’re always on your toes and striving to put out the best, high-quality options. Task an employee to monitor your competition’s social media pages and restaurant reviews to keep tabs on their performance.
Pizza delivery competition can make restaurant owners lose sleep at night — but it doesn’t have to. A loyalty program, updated menu and consistent market evaluations will help your pizzeria be successful in battling big chains and slim profit margins.