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Your Restaurant's Busiest Days: Survival Tips!

Duessa Holscher

31 October 2012

The busiest season for restaurants is now upon us. For pizza restaurants, Halloween, Thanksgiving Eve, New Years Eve, New Years Day and the Superbowl make up the biggest days of the year.  Prepare for that rush by making the most of your restaurant software, planning ahead, and staying calm!

Tip #1:  Encourage Customers To Order Ahead

Plan AheadDeferred or delayed ordering features in your pizza point-of-sale help you plan ahead.  Your customers may not even know that you offer this convenience!   Are you promoting "Plan Ahead" orders on your menu and your website?  You may want to send out a special e-mail or include a flier on your pizza boxes over the next couple weeks encouraging customers to plan ahead for big days.    When customers order ahead it frees up your time during the rush and helps you avoid surprise large orders. 

Tip #2:  Push Customers To Online & Mobile Ordering Options

describe the imageFree your staff from order taking responsibilities so they can focus more on food preparation.  Encourage your customers to order online.  Big chains are reporting upwards of 30% of their orders coming in online - are you close to that number?  If not, it's time to start promoting your online ordering more heavily.  You may want to include a special "online only" coupon or offer with the next pizza you deliver to any customer who didn't order online.  Another great idea is to promote your online ordering with your on-hold message, so customers who are waiting to place their order are reminded that they could order immediately online.   Don't have online ordering yet?  We can help!   Check out our Online Ordering Launch Guide for more tips on promoting your online ordering.

Tip #3:  Review Last Year's Data For Forecasting

pizza softwareYour normal forecasting software may not work for the busiest days if its based on a running average of the past few weeks.   Be sure to check last year's sales reports to estimate how much you'll need to stock up on, how much dough to prep, and how heavily to staff for the busy days. 

Tip #4:  Plan Something Special

describe the imageMany restaurant owners feel that since busy days are already busy, they don't want to do any extra marketing around those occasions.  However, planning something special for those special holidays is an important way to stand out from the competition and have fun with your customers.  Creating a "Candy Corn" pizza for the kids (Outer ring of sauce, middle ring of cheddar, inner ring of mozzarella) on Halloween, or offering special Turkey cookies on Thanksgiving, or promoting a special SuperBowl contest - all are fun ways to get your customers excited about your business.   Plus they are great messages to promote in-store, online and in social media. 

Tip #5:  Keep Staff Motivated

CustomerServiceBe sure to staff appropriately for the busy day and keep in mind that these may not be your staff's favorite days to work, so it's helpful to plan something fun and motivating for the crew.  Perhaps a team reward for meeting certain goals for on-time deliveries or achieving a new sales record will help to keep your staff excited about the busy season.

Tip #6:  Use Countdown and Out of Stock Tools

out of stock alertsIf your point-of-sale system has a countdown feature, which keeps track of limited quantity items and automatically marks them out-of-stock, be sure to use this on any items that you may run out of.  For instance, if you only have 3 pans of lasagna, or 5 rotisserie chickens, the countdown feature helps keep everyone informed when the last have been sold.  If you do run out of something, be sure to mark it as "out-of-stock" on your online ordering site as well, so customers won't be disappointed. 

Tip #7:  Thank your customers for their business

Thanks EmailOnce the crazy day has passed, take a moment to thank those customers who ordered.  It's a great way to let them know that they were a part of one of your busiest days - and to encourage them to come back again soon.  Use your point-of-sale system to find customers who placed an order, then email them or send them a thank you card in the mail.   Customers like to know that they are part of your community and your success.

Best of luck in the upcoming busy season!  By making the most of the pizza software tools you have, you can survive and prosper on even the busiest days!

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Duessa Holscher

Duessa was the Founder and Managing Partner at FireFly Technologies until it was acquired by Granbury Solutions in 2010, where she served as Chief Product Development Officer until her appointment as President in 2019.

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