Even though earnings for many restaurants are falling by double-digit percentages right now, pizza delivery earnings are expected to be flat or even up. Why? Because they’re uniquely positioned to meet off-premise demand. But you don’t have to be in the pizza business to stay competitive during the pandemic. Instead, implement these four best practices from the “secret sauce” of the pizza industry.

BUILD A MINIMUM VALUE MENU

Flour. Sauce. Cheese. A majority of a pizza restaurant’s menu boils down to a few basic ingredients. And when demand for delivery is high, fewer ingredients are an advantage. So start by focusing on a smaller, condensed version of your restaurant’s menu to help offset overhead while giving customers attractive options. This comes down to your “minimum value menu” a.k.a the smallest menu your restaurant can build that creates customer value while showcasing best-performing items.

— Just like pizza, consider prioritizing meals with shared ingredients to reduce waste and preparation time.

— Reduce your minimum value menu to popular, profitable items that travel well.

— Consider keeping comfort foods on your menu to satisfy the customer surge in cravings since the pandemic.

— Revisit your to-go packaging for the best-performing options based on your minimum value menu starting with our packaging guide.

— Continue to optimize your minimum value menu by tracking sales and asking customers for feedback.

MAKE ONLINE ORDERING EASY & ACCESSIBLE

The pizza industry has been pioneering online ordering and delivery for decades, which now includes everything from placing orders through Alexa to an up-to-the-minute status of your order through Domino’s Pizza Tracker. The lesson here? Make ordering from your restaurant as easy and accessible as possible. 

— Whether it’s Instagram or your restaurant’s website, provide clear instructions on where to place online orders through all your social and digital platforms.

— Create a clear pathway on your restaurant’s website that puts your menu front and center with simple CTAs such as “Order Online.”

— Whether it’s Olo or Toast, be sure your online ordering system is easy to navigate and mobile friendly.  

— If your online ordering solution offers  a Google My Business integration, make sure to use it to publicize your menu.

— Add links to online ordering in all your social bios. Make sure it’s in your pinned tweet on Twitter as well as visible on your review sites.

CONSISTENCY = LOYALTY

With limited preparation and large portions, the pizza industry model is built for consistency and value—two appealing propositions for customers in a time of uncertainty. And while not all restaurants can price their menu as competitively as the big pizza chains, they can build loyalty with customers by focusing on relationships and quality experiences. 

— Offer everyday values on your menu to build familiarity and repeat business, such as Domino’s longstanding $5.99 mix-and-match deal.

— Just as pizza goes perfectly with salad, offer thoughtful menu additions and suggestions during online checkout to help increase the average check.

— Offer family-sized meals designed for sharing by highlighting the costs at a per-person value.

— Add personalized touches to your off-premise orders, such as handwritten thank yous on the receipt, branded magnets with standing offers or even a loyalty signup form.

— Reach out to customers for feedback on their meal and delivery experience via social or email to be sure they’re happy. According to a McKinsey & Company study, repeat online customers spend more than double compared to new customers.

OFFER DELIVERY YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL TRUST

Third-party delivery services are a catch-22 felt by many restaurants—the pizza industry included. While they can offer exposure and convenience to potential customers, they can also cut into as much as 30% of every order your restaurant receives. The good news? As many as 78% of off-premise customers actually trust ordering direct over third-party delivery according to Restaurant Business Online.

— If you do have to utilize DoorDash or UberEats, increasing the price of menu items featured on the delivery app is a tactic many pizza chains have taken to offset these delivery fees in the past.

— Advertise lower menu prices or offer incentives to customers for ordering direct through your website like free delivery over a certain dollar amount or a free appetizer or dessert.

— Invest in your own dedicated delivery team and fleet in the likes of Dominos to offset off-premise costs.

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