A new FDA law would standardize menu nutrition labeling across the country. At Pizza Expo 2012, dietitian Rebekah Spetnagel and nutrition and marketing consultant Julie Bush discussed menu-labeling requirements and how they could affect pizzerias.
Spetnagel and Bush, owners of On the Menu, a nutrition consulting firm, explain the new law - which may affect only restaurants with more than 20 units - is not expected to publish its final rules before November, and it won’t be enforced until six months after that. However, experts are encouraging pizzerias to take a look at their menus to get ready for the change when it comes.
THE MENU LABELING LAW IN GENERAL
The law will require restaurants to show calories of items in the menu and let consumers know additional nutritional information is available in the restaurant. Exemptions to the new laws include temporary items (LTOs), condiments, daily specials, custom orders, test market items and pre-packaged foods.
Studies have shown that half of patrons notice the calories on menus and only one-fourth are influenced by them. “This indicates that putting calories on the menu will result in minimal change in behaviors,” Spetnagel and Bush said, “Those most influenced will be women and the affluent. Younger consumers are the least likely to be influenced.”
THE BENEFITS OF MENU LABELING
Despite projected moderate consumer use, the law could have positive affects in general as pointed out by Spetnagel and Bush:
- Meets customer demand for product information
- Could lead to healthier choices by consumers, which would lead to a healthier population
- Fosters increased loyalty and revenue for operations, putting them ahead of their competition
- Tracks allergens and gluten-free menu items
- Helps operators discover and promote healthy items
CREATING A HEALTHIER PIZZA
In preparation for the labeling law, pizzerias are taking a look at ways to add healthy options to their menus. Spetnagel and Bush suggested employing one or more of these ideas:
- Fresher ingredients
- Lean meats
- Whole wheat or gluten-free crusts
- Lots of veggies
- Lower fat cheese
- Lower calorie sauce
PREPARING FOR THE NEW LAW
Finally, Spetnagel and Bush suggested preparing for menu labeling by:
- Standardizing recipes
- Developing a system to maintain recipes and ingredients
- Determining how menus will be analyzed (nutrition calculator recommended)
Trends were percolating at NRA Show 2011. Burke toured the show to discover products and services that are reflecting new or popular ideas. Take a look and capture the advantages for your operation.
1. Using websites and social media well
Yelp, Groupon, Facebook, LivingSocial and Google all exhibited at NRA Show 2011. Their attendance underscored the importance of restaurants owning their online brand presence and using social media to connect with customers.
Groupon introduced a new concept at its booth called Groupon Now! in which restaurants can fill slow times with a smaller offer. Groupon Now! has been introduced in Chicago and will be expanding to other cities.
2. Evolving ordering with technology and apps
Tablet technology is going tableside for waitstaff to take orders more efficiently. Applications are being used for interactive digital ordering or menu replacement.
Hospitality Social has created an iPad application that acts as a personal sommelier for customers, choosing a wine based on preferences of flavor, region, price, for example, or pairing with an entrée.
Exhibitors were showing takeout containers and cups that were recyclable and biodegradable. Special liquid dispensers for clean, natural drinking water were shown. Booths displayed materials for interiors, furniture and flooring made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. Lighting and appliances were being promoted for their energy efficiency. An increased awareness of recycling receptacles for restaurants was also evident.
4. Continued importance of food safety
We found a small device that prints labels with shelf life information and pens that can easily write that information on steam table pans.
5. Food on the streets
At this year’s NRA Show a special section was dedicated to the education and experience of the mobile food movement with trucks on the show floor.
6. The influence of Asia
The international section of the show displayed primarily Asian foods, and many vendors outside of this section were also highlighting Asian-inspired flavors.
7. Other service, flavor and beverage ideas
Disposable, self-adhesive placemats for children would make spills less likely. There were numerous buffalo-flavored foods and menu concepts. Multiple flavored iced coffee machines were on display. And Coca-Cola won the Kitchen Innovation Award with a touch-screen fountain drink machine that offered more than 100 beverage choices in a single machine.
For more information about Burke fully cooked meat products, visit www.BurkeCorp.com.
Great marketing ideas from Pizza Expo 2011 seminars
At packed Pizza Expo workshops, attendees learned the ins and outs of using social and online media and marketing to grow their businesses from experts in the fields.
“Tell Me Your Story—Viral Marketing”
Big Dave Ostrander, also known as “The Pizza Doctor,” has successfully advised start-up pizzerias to multinational pizza chains. “There are two types of viral marketing—word-of-mouth and the internet,” said Ostrander in his session.
He advised that since consumers are receiving information at the speed of light and want to retrieve it at any time, operators need to make sure their communication is accessible around the clock. Ostrander stressed the importance of communicating to consumers the same way that they communicate to each other, which means not only using a conversational tone (true to your brand), but also using social media.
- People use their cell phones not so much for making calls, but for texting and accessing the internet, especially the younger generation.
- Facebook and Twitter are essentially word-of-mouth marketing in an online form
- With 600 million users and because it’s personal, Facebook can be a powerful communication tool.
“From Websites to Email to Everything Social Media: What You Really Need to Know That’s Going to Increase Your Sales and Not Waste Your Time”
Joel Cohen has a national reputation for advising agencies on restaurant marketing. He told attendees that websites are now the most important part of marketing efforts and offered the following tips:
- Be sure to include up-to-date company information such as hours, address, phone, online ordering information, and most importantly, a current menu.
- Use real images of your menu items. Stock photos aren’t necessarily appetizing nor a good representation of your products.
- Reduce heavy graphics so your webpage loads quickly.
- Use keywords on every page of your website so it will be captured by Google’s search engines.
- Claim your business names at yelp.com, urbanspoon.com and insiderpages.com.
Cohen also pointed out that email is the second most important part of online marketing and gave these hints:
- The best day to send emails to consumers is Saturday morning as customers are more relaxed and have more time to spend on their email. The worst day to send email is Tuesday and Wednesday as this is when most people unsubscribe to email.
- Subject line—Be sure to include keywords such as the name of your restaurant. Indicate that it’s part of a series that they opted in for or elected to receive with words such as “update” or “newsletter”. Don’t include words such as “offer”, “reward” or “discount” as it could look like spam.
For more tips and ideas, download Burke’s social media brochure.
To continue this conversation, please leave us acomment at the bottom of this post or email us at BurkeBlog@BurkeCorp.com.
Customers are apt to take notice of crazy antics, random stunts and real-life interactions—that memorable shock and awe—known as guerrilla marketing. Did you see McDonald’s “free parking” guerilla tactic to promote the return of McDonald’s Monopoly?
Pizzerias and small chains have great opportunities to break through the clutter and get noticed with guerrilla marketing, especially in small- to medium-sized markets.
Guerrilla marketing has more impact and is more far-reaching when combined with social media. Camera/video phones can capture the live event, and you can post it on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for it to go viral across the country. Bloggers then see posts and blog about it—to further increase interest.
And, combining guerrilla marketing with humanitarianism provides your customers with a “brand bonding” experience. Check out the publicity from Denny’s eight-hour giveaway to feed its brand-hero breakfast entrée, the “Grand Slam,” to 2 million Americans.
Altruistic guerrilla marketing has also been used to promote pizzerias during difficult economic times. A classic example: Pizza Schmizza of Portland, Ore., took an altruistic approach to its guerrilla marketing by giving homeless people a temporary job for a day, holding signs saying, “Pizza Schmizza paid me to hold this sign instead of asking for money.”
And, the Portland newspaper displayed a front-page photo of people holding the signs. Guerrilla marketing and PR is another powerful combination.
Has your restaurant conducted any guerrilla marketing tactics?
Here is a short summary of the questions and answers from the Beer and Bull Idea Exchange from Tuesday March 1, 2011.
Q: Bought a pizzeria a year and half ago, industrial area near a hospital, how do you get more customers to a hidden location?
- Bring your pizza to the customers and let them know where you are.
- Give 6 pies to the nurses’ desk, compliments of [insert name].
- Sponsor teams – get your food out to the community, give it to all the kids, take it in your wrapped vehicle.
- Get someone to run your menu around to all of the manufacturers.
- If you can’t get the customer to come to you – get delivery.
- Do a direct mail piece specific to the business – give it to all of the front line people.
- Get good signage and signage to direct them.
- Get on twitter and Facebook and engage your customers.
- Get drivers out to sell pizzas and slices at lunch breaks.
- Go to the HR department and give them a special discount coupon.
- Cater to the employees at lunch time.
Q: Gluten-free pizzas – how many people are selling gluten-free pizza today? Any suggestions?
- Gluten-free awareness is taking place – we will see more and more of it. The gluten-free brings in the entire family not just the gluten-free customer.
- The tickets are higher.
- Have to be very careful to segregate separate tools and equipment. If you don’t follow strict food safety rules you will get someone sick and lose all of your customers.
- Social media is pushing the trend – many people use it for people without Celiac, for example, kids with behavior disorders. This trend will increase.
- Probably the only thing you can retail that is based on a medical situation. If you can satisfy a consumer based on a medical condition rather than a want you are one up on your competition.
- People should not be charged for gluten-free pizza because it is not pizza.
- Big industry that can be capitalized on and should not be ignored – you will lose money and your competition will take it.
- If any of us is ignorant enough not to sell – then don’t, we’ll take the profit.
- “I don’t care what they eat, as long as they’re eating at my pizzeria.”
- Tested with the customers, they get involved and really respond.
- Add gluten-free beer.
- If you are afraid of your flour mixing in with your dough – go to Roma and get some premade dough – it’s frozen and delicious. My Celiac club loves it.
Q: If you are doing gluten-free do you do it in a separate kitchen?
- Strict guidelines for the prep area, top with back of the stock toppings, put it in a separate oven, use a clean tray and pizza cutter – have never once had an issue
Q: Gluten-free – how has it changed your sales?
- Up 40% – you will bring in more people not just those with Celiac.
- 5-6% but continually growing.
Q: Is gluten-free more expensive than regular pizza?
- Yes, the ingredients are more expensive and it takes more expertise and time.
- Same price as regular pizza, smaller size because you are making pizza for smaller groups or individuals to sell with the pizza the rest of their party will buy.
Q: If you have a small pizza area, how much space do you need for gluten-free?
- Any time you add a menu extension like this you will have to completely change your workflow or facility – remember, you can kill someone if you aren’t careful.
- Flour can stay in the air for 24 hours so you can’t use the same space.
Q: How many of you are doing online ordering? What about mobile ordering or an app?
- With Revention started online ordering a month ago and increased sales by 25%
- Got with Revention now our biggest problem is we get too many orders and our wait time increases for our phone customers.
- The big guys are doing online ordering and mobile ordering – don’t let them take this market.
Q: Fresh or frozen dough?
- It is getting to the point where fresh and frozen dough are almost indistinguishable.
- Watch the ingredients – some overuse sugar and don’t use the proper yeast
- You can make you dough and freeze it but you have to be incredibly precise about the ingredients and then it may be good frozen for up to 6 months.
Q: Pepperoni – we just had our restaurant change and now we’re slicing pepperoni? Does it make a difference?
- We save about 20% slicing it ourselves and I don’t have to pay the extra to have even pieces.
Q: Kitchen nightmares with Gordon Ramsey.
- He came in and kicked us, then he changed how we do our menu – more fresh vegetables, in house meatballs, he also simplified our menu, focus on pizzas, more upscale pizzas
- New specialty pizzas – Fortina pizza – Spinach with Egg, Mexican pizza, BBQ with pork
- He made our restaurant a modern, upscale pizzeria – less like our traditional competition.
- Look around at what businesses are thriving – Starbucks, Subway – they are all clean and bright. Then look at pizza parlors – they are dark and dingy, it doesn’t work any more.
Q: How many people have their personal and professional assets in a trust to save themselves from liability? How do you protect yourself?
- That’s what corporations and LLCs are for.
- As a small guy, I am heavily insured. Get amazing business insurance.
Q: How many people are having a good time?
Q: Any success stories with desserts?
- Subway sells more cookies than any other retailer in the country – put a cookie jar next to the register
- Sell dessert pizza, use regular crust, pie filling, add cream cheese icing – $2 to make, $7 to buy.
- Make dessert pizza with butter and sugar – $.12 to make, $2 to buy.
- Otis Spunkmeyer cookies – $.20 to make, $1 to buy.
- Make smores in the pizza oven – big money maker, great for birthday parties.
Q: How many people are free-handing ingredients?
- It is crazy – just throwing money out the door. For example, restaurant saved $15,000 in the first year on cheese.
- The pizza makers on the line make or lose the money – teach them properly and give them the tools to help you.
Q: POS Systems?
- Get one or you are losing money.
- Many great options – InTouch, Revention.
- Can track what we’re selling, cut down on the wasted ingredients, track labor.
- Revention has treated us nice, great response, good customer service, 24 hour helpdesk, online ordering
- InTouch has been great for us, friendly, user-friendly, a lot of upcoming things – online ordering, good service
Q: What do you do for Community involvement?
- Have the organization advertise and serve the food – they keep the tips, we keep the food profit.
- Give 10% back to school system for one day sales, class with highest participation gets free pizza party.
Q: Delivery. What do you do to protect yourself beyond incorporation?
- Insurance for drivers.
- 10-99 the driver and you make them a private contractor – but be careful, you can’t control what they do during their shift.
- Every state is probably different but you can have the drivers sign an independent contractor license – however, if they are wearing your shirt and hat they are not independent contractors.
- Get a commercial policy for everyone – requires copy of drivers license, insurance, etc.
- Keep the driver accountable – make them give you copies of driving records from the DMV.
Q: Delivery. How do you draw delivery zones?
- Depends on your town and driving time.
- Calculate how long it will take for them to drive to the edge of your zone, how many drivers you have, what it costs to take it, and make sure it is still profitable.
Q: Rising prices? Who has increased prices?
- [A few hands raise] There is no shame in raising prices – commodities are increasing, so you can too.
Q: Thoughts on the Pizza Industry from Pete LaChappelle
- Can you imagine if we got all 70,000 pizzerias to go for the same cause, in the same day – just for one day? We can create a movement – we have an opportunity to elevate this industry. In the first week of October get everyone to look in the same direction and create a movement, and waves.
- We would like to change the image of pizza – we would like to make people realize that pizza is not “fast food”
Thanks for coming – come back tomorrow night.
Here is a short summary of the questions and answers from the Beer and Bull Idea Exchange from Wednesday, March 2, 2011.
Q: Facebook – what can we do with Facebook?
- Check out www.BurkeCorp.com/Facebook and get more than 40 tips about how to update your Facebook page.
- You can do a personal or a business page – post updates, put specials, pictures, keep it updated.
- Put your menu on Facebook, specials, friend a lot of local people, send out messages and get instant responses.
- Run on Facebook – instead of Twitter so you can put more static information and don’t have to update constantly.
- It’s free – so you are probably spending money you don’t need to – use it for pictures, use hashtags.
- Start a fan page, instead of a personal page – put up pictures, updates on travel, cross-promote in printed literature.
- Keep your fans engaged.
- Go to SocialMediaLeaps.com for more tips.
- Facebook is a social network – don’t use it for advertising, use it to socialize with your guests.
- Claim your place page – go on Facebook and tell it you are the owner so you can take control of that page, encourage guests to check into the page, let them endorse your brand for you and viral word of mouth, create a deal on your place page to reward your customers for checking in.
- Use your younger employees, who you trust, to help you.
- Don’t nag your customers. You can be too frequent, but it is about the quality of the message. Include your customers in the conversation and engaged them with your restaurant and brand. “Tonight is 80’s night – what is your favorite 80’s song?”
- Intergrate with other social media – tweeting and facebooking the same thing.
Q: What are we going to do about the commodities? How do they sell pizza for $10? Who has raised prices this last year?
- You have to raise your prices.
- Most of customers know that the economy is hard and understand – only a few regulars will even notice.
- “I have no quarrel with a man who charges less for his pizza – he knows what it’s worth”
- “Change or die.” – if you are doing something the same way you always have you are probably doing it wrong.
Q: Does anyone barter?
- Barter with other companies for both personal and professional services.
- Get your pizza into other people’s mouths, you will save moneyand they will become customers because it’s great pizza.
Q: Any Guerilla Marketing or alternative marketing ideas for pizzerias?
- Give 12 pizzas to a car dealership and get your amazing product and name out to new people.
- Example of giving out pizza but not seeing any return.
- Use the concierges and front desk at the hotels – give them commission.
- Percentage days – give back to a non-profit with a % on a day given to a local organization, get them to advertise for you.
- Use email marketing with iContact – automatically posts to twitter and Facebook, have people sign up on your website and all social media platforms.
- Give people $ off a pie in return for their email address
- For in-house, take the receipt from the customer, put it in a fishbowl and draw for a prize – but must have email and phone number to win.
- Partner with realtors for open houses.
- Go to a non-competitor and get them to put a draw box in your biggest competitor and then give you the completed information.
- Buy telephone numbers of any competitors who go out of business.
- Have a cruise-in with classic car clubs in your parking lot on Thursday nights – give the drivers half price, it brings in both the drivers as well as customers who want to see the cars, if they show up 20 weeks in a row they get free pizza for a year.
- Try the same with motorcycles.
- Give away free pizza for real tattoos – feature on your website and Facebook pages.
- Affiliation with charitable organization.
- Worked with local schools and printed 600 business cards.
- Donated a pizza to everyone that donated a pint of blood.
Q: Pete LaChappelle’s Vision for the Pizza Industry.
- Everyone loves pizzerias – we should have the 70,000 pizzerias come together to elevate the image of the industry.
- Bring everyone together for the same social cause for one day and show the strength and influence of the industry.
- Tired of being labeled as “fast food” – we are not “fast food” and we can’t allow the world to label us as such any longer.
- Get some serious coverage and goodwill PR for the industry.
Q: Live in a city that is typically selling 2 for 1 pizzas, been in business for 6 years and started in a similar fashion but now want to distance my operation from the 2 for 1 pizzas – how do I do it?
- Changed menu radically with kitchen nightmares – threw half menu out, reduce menu items, focused on higher-end items, modernizing.
- Get away from direct mail couponing – focus on your current customer list and make it a special offer.
- Bundle your items.
- Use the economy – tell your customers that instead of raising prices you will eliminate coupons.
- Make sure you show some tangible difference in your store.
- Let your customers know that you are just following the markets.
Q: Pizza is the single most favorite food in the country. Should we have a show for pizza?
- Dino Ciccone, a world famous pizzamaker, will ride a custom chopper from one store to the next and feature all of the amazing pizzerias and people.
- Check It out on www.thepizzarider.com
Q: Yelp – pros and cons?
- People go onto Yelp to tell people about their dining experiences, other people base their dining decisions on those reviews – encourage good reviews from your customers.
- Put little “Yelp us out” cards on the table to encourage positive feedback because people always give negative feedback but are less likely to give positive feedback.
- Use the feedback to make your operation better.
- The conversation is happening – you need to take control of it and your brand.
- Reviews – people will talk for you. If someone leaves a negative comment about you – your brand champions can help inform the public that the comment is wrong.
- If you have a 4 or 5 star rating with Yelp, they will send you something you can put in your window.
Q: GroupOn – What is it and what do you think?
- You discount your product to 50% and then they take 15% – Is GroupOn against what “pizza” stands for (not discounting product)
Q: Any Marketing and Advertising ideas?
- From a former Film and television production expert – Doritos and wonderful pistachios – offer a competition to their target market – come up with a commercial for my company. Once they create it they will cross promote it – because even if they do not win they will post it on their Facebook page and share with their friends.
- Text based marketing opportunities – clientele has to opt into the program. Program can help fill in slow times.
- Set up a text club for each location and they sign up for text messages. Get them to the door and get the conversation started with your customers.
Q: Operator started baking bread and it is quite profitable – anybody else have any experience with this?
- Expand your product line. Any ingredient she adds – she needs it to work with three other application to make it profitable.
Q: Anyone had an all you can eat pizza special? How about all you can eat contest?
- Does not recommend – the same people showed up on the night of special and did not come any other time. Wanted to take home leftovers and purchase one buffet for entire family.
- All you can eat pizza in San Francisco on Monday night most profitable and most busy night of the week. $10 all you can pizza and salad.
- 5 friends on Monday night – who can eat the most – winner gets their dinner free.
Q: What about all you can eat wings?
- Suggest hottest wing contest instead.
- What about having all you can eat set price and add an extra charge by weight for any uneaten food?
Q: What about Healthy pizza?
- FDA and pizza health food – you will find some articles about how healthy pizza is for you – primarily because the tomato sauce is great for prostate cancer.
- Two or three slices is healthy.
Have you ever caught yourself asking “What is Foursquare?” or “What is the purpose of checking in?” or more importantly “How can Foursquare be beneficial to my business?” – we are here to help you sort out the check-in’s and out’s of Foursquare.
Let’s start with the basics – Foursquare is a location based marketing application allowing people to “check-in” at locations they are visiting via a smartphone application or SMS. Once checked in they are rewarded with badges and can automatically share their locations and activities with friends via Foursquare and other social networks.
Foursquare was created in 2008 by two individuals who wanted to turn life into a game; but instead Foursquare has taken PR to the next level for many businesses. In 2010, Foursquare had 6+ million users who checked-in 381+ million times – a 3400% growth in one year – and by June of 2011 Foursquare is predicting to have 10 million users. Lucky for you, the most popular place people check-in is at food establishments followed by work/office.
In addition to earning badges, when people check-in they can see specials at both their location and other nearby locations – and who doesn’t love a deal? Listed below are five types of specials business can offer:
||The foursquare Mayor is the most frequent visitor to your venue over the past 60 days.
||Like a loyalty card or punch card, this is a Special that customers can redeem every X times they visit
||This is a one-time frequency Special. Use it to reward people on their first visit, or give them a special treat after their fifth one.
||These Specials are available to customers on every check-in, but based on whatever conditions you choose.
||This Special encourages users to come back in short time spans, for instance, it could be three visits in a week.
But the real question is – How do you get started? Recently, Foursquare launched a new merchant platform for businesses. This new platform will make it easier for you to claim your business, set up specials and view your Venue Stats Dashboard – a tool which allows you to track your customer foot traffic over time.
After you claim your venue, it’s time to start being creative with marketing your specials and encouraging people to check-in when they visit your business. Add it to your current ads and website, promote it on your menu or cash registers or follow Arby’s direction and reserve a table especially for your Mayor. Foursquare will also help you market your participation to your customers by providing you with official foursquare window stickers for the front window or door of your venue.
In addition to providing your loyal customers a special – a major benefit for businesses to join Foursquare is to provide you with a low cost loyalty program that tracks visits to your business. It encourages you to have ongoing communication with and rewards for your most loyal customers and brand champions by offering coveted specials. And by leveraging these relationships with your brand champions, as well as promotions directed at new customers, you may be able to increase both traffic and sales to your restaurant.
Foursquare also promotes users to post tips when checking into businesses. Popular post may include examples like “Be sure to try the Sausage and Gorgonzola Pizza – it is amazing” or “Great service and awesome pizza!”. These tips can help promote your menu and act as continuous word of mouth advertising.
Are you getting excited? Sign up today, have fun and be creative. For great ideas, stay connected with Foursquare by following their blog.
Also be sure to check out Scvngr.com for a similar location based marketing application.
If it’s mobile-friendly, it’s customer-friendly.
Your potential customers are out around town and want to decide where to dine. They pull out their mobile phones and type in your restaurant. It takes them to your desktop website. Ah, everything’s working. Soon they’ll be at your doorstep, ready to order, ready to love your pizza . . .
If you only have a website built for laptop or desktop computers, they’ll be left pinching, zooming and double tapping to find the information they want. Even worse, if your website is flash-based, they might not see anything at all on their mobile phone screens. They could get frustrated and go elsewhere.
Lest you think a mobile website doesn’t affect your business, remember that more than 50 million iPhones are already in the hands of potential customers and metrics firm ComScore says fast-growing phenom Android has recently commanded an extra 5.2 percent of the overall U.S. mobile market. According to a new forecast by Gartner research firm, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access devices worldwide by 2013. To give mobile phone users information quickly, you need a mobile site.
All it requires is a device detection script on your desktop. This recognizes the query as coming from a mobile device. It automatically redirects your potential customer from your desktop website to your mobile one.
There are several ways to get a mobile website. You can start from scratch, but building a custom site can be expensive and time consuming. Also, with a variety of mobile devices, screen sizes, operating systems and technologies, it would be overwhelming to make a mobile website compatible with all devices.
Even the simplest mobile site should include at least your:
- Location and Hours
- Contact Info
Consider the following resources if you’re interested in updating your site to be mobile-friendly.
MoBistro—Mobile websites for restaurants
- $29/month for up to five locations
- Dashboard gives you full control over content and look
- Customizable content—menus, locations with hours, map, phone, etc. , coupons, photo galleries, events, reviews, pages (About Us, Chefs, etc.), external links (OpenTable, Twitter, etc.)
ChompStack—Hosted platform for and managing mobile websites
- Control panel gives full control over content and look
- Customizable content—menus, locations, promotions, easily integrated to Twitter, Facebook, Open Table, Yelp
- Photo galleries and more
- To find out costs, visit chompstack.com/getaquote
Or simply optimize your menus to be easily viewed on mobile devices. See this white paper for detailed instructions.
Enjoy finding the power in the hands of your customers with social media. For more social media tips, visit http://info.burkecorp.com/Meat-Your-Ideas-Blog/?Tag=Social+Media.
Use a QR code in and around your locations to link to your mobile website or optimized PDF menus. Use your smartphone to try this one now. It will take you to a short Sample Request Form from Burke.
At this point, you have probably already set up a Facebook fan page for your pizzeria or restaurant and are now looking for ideas to customize your page, build the value of your promotions, and increase the quantity and engagement of your fans.
Below we have compiled a list of ideas, grouped by objectives, to help give you some new ideas to accomplish your Facebook goals. We don’t expect that you can get it all done in one day, so we recommend bookmarking this page for future reference.
- Decide what you would like to get out of Facebook – Create goals. Are you trying to build awareness, develop relationships, promote deals and specials, or create brand evangelists? To get you started, here are ways NOT to use Facebook.
- Prepare an editorial calendar – Get a yearly calendar and schedule posts and promotions according to your goals – don’t forget to include video, event and picture updates.
- Create a Vanity URL – for example, instead of facebook.com/pages/yourbusiness/123456789 you can have www.Facebook.com/BurkeCorporation which makes it easier to direct people to your page- how to create your vanity URL
- Crown a Media Maven – make one person in charge of keeping to the editorial calendar and goals you set. Instructions to add an additional administrator.
Get Found (and Shared)
- Utilize your address book – Send email invites to everyone on your email newsletter list to fan your page, then you will show up in their feed, which will reach even more people. Who better to be your fan then a current fan?
- Optimize keywords in the “About” and “Info” tab – Since facebook pages tend to rank highly in search engine results, add words you think your fans will search for in both the About and Info tabs. For example, a Pizzeria in Des Moines, Iowa should make sure to put the words Pizza, Calzone, Breadsticks, Des Moines and Iowa in both tabs a couple of times each.
- Add Photos with Captions – Take a lot of photos; and when you add photographs, put your keywords (eg. Pizza, Your Restaurant’s name, Your City and State), as well as your customers’ names in the caption (with permission). People are more likely to share photos of themselves and their friends.
- Add Events with Descriptions – Similar to photos, fill your Events with your keywords and be sure to share your events with your fan list.
- Link to your website everywhere – Link to your Facebook page on your website – better yet add a badge or fanbox – and put your vanity URL on all of your promotional materials including boxes, flyers, coupons, in-store signage and advertisements.
- Have your fans invite their friends – Add a “Tell your friends about us” box to make it easy for your fans to invite their friends to like your page
- Create Facebook Ads – Segment your audience and split test your ads to play to different demographic interests. For example, run two different campaigns for women in your city between the ages of 30 and 50 – one for a family pack of two large pizzas with free breadsticks and another for a ½ price medium one-topping with the purchase of any large specialty. Put the final coupon codes behind “Fan-only” tabs so they are required to like your page.
- Add Facebook Connect – Have visitors login on your site with Facebook Connect so their comments are posted to both your site and their Facebook wall feed. Likewise, use Facebook Connect on your Facebook page to syndicate your content to sharing sites like Digg and Technorati to help your content go viral. For even more detailed information, check out the Developer Blog Video.
- Make it easy for people to share their opinions – Add a Facebook Social Plugin Like Button to every one of your pages and menu items so that people can see their friends’ favorites.
Brand Your Page
Create and Manage Content
- Create tabs – Give your fans multiple tabs to engage with – try having a tab with Facebook only specials, a promotion for a new crowd sourced pizza, online ordering, or a place for your fans to write reviews.
- Add applications – Add applications to help you create promotions, gifting, contests, quizzes, and sign-up forms to gather email addresses for your email newsletter.
- Offer a discussion board – Encourage your fans to stick around and chat with a discussion board; periodically get on and add questions of your own for instant and low cost focus groups.
- Syndicate content – Have your page automatically pull in any content you add to your blog or YouTube page
- Schedule your messages – Schedule a week or month’s worth of promotions and messages and monitor all of your social media accounts in one place with Sendible, TweetDeck, or Hootsuite. Don’t forget to check your page often to respond to your fans in a timely manner.
- Don’t forget about SEO – Have your Facebook content work for you in multiple ways – use solid keywords often, imbed static URLs with solid anchor text, use attached links instead of raw URLs, and encourage fans to comment and like content in your stream to help your Facebook page come up more often and with higher rankings in search engine results.
Increase Your Fan Engagement
- Choose your landing tab – Don’t have the first thing your potential fans see be the boring About tab, instead have your page default to one of your customized tabs (see Use iFrames or FBML under Create and Manage Content)
- Timing is essential – Rather than randomly selecting a time for your posts, pay attention to when your fans are online the most. (See Pay Attention to Analytics in Final Thoughts)
- Engage fans individually –Respond to fans individually using their names in the post to give them credit and make them feel important.
- Send your messages directly – Although most of your updates should be to your Wall, occasionally send out your best promotions or coupons to your loyal fan’s Facebook inboxes.
- Ask for feedback – One of the simplest ways to engage your fans is to ask for their opinions. Host polls or ask questions in your wall updates and discussion board – make sure you respond in a timely manner both online and in-store.
- Post open-ended updates – Try “My favorite thing about [insert your restaurant’s name] is”
- Mix it up – Post a mix of text, photos, videos, events, polls, discussions and more to keep from becoming stale.
- Feature your fans – Take pictures in your restaurant and have your fans tag themselves.
- Create “fan-only” content – Even better, have your landing tab be a “fan-only” tab – here are 40 great examples – this way they will have to fan your page before they can see your best offers.
- Encourage fan created content – Try running a contest and encourage fans to submit their own images, videos and opinions – make sure to promote online and off and give a good prize. However, make sure you follow the Facebook Promotions Guidelines or your page could be suspended.
- Target groups – Run a friendly contest among different community groups. For example, have all of the local little league and soccer teams post photos and the one with the most likes gets a free pizza party. Or have your fans suggest where your charity dollars go and the top 3 most liked get this year’s sponsorship dollars.
- Geo-target – If you have more than one location use geo-location to build custom messages and content based on your fans’ individual locations.
- Create branded “gifts” – Create virtual “gifts” that your fans can post on their friends’ walls – the more creative, funny or outrageous; the better.
- Feature games – Online games, quizzes, trivia and puzzles are all incredibly popular – build a few into your custom tabs to entertain your fans.
- Pay attention to Analytics – Facebook provides simple analytics with insights but you can also add Google Analytics to your page for more detailed information
- Block unwanted fans – If people are too self-promotional or offensive you can block or ban them from your Facebook fan page.
- Be accurate - Keep your contact information and content updated, specific and correct – for example, if you change the prices or promotions in store or on your website make sure to update your Facebook page at the same time.
- Delete your page – Just remember, if you delete your page you can’t get it back but why would you want to now that it is so awesome.
- Remember: Facebook is a community, treat it like one. Don’t always just promote your business – make an effort to engage your fans in discussions and fan-created promotions. Be a good neighbor.
- Make it useful, controversial or entertaining – Don’t forget your audience and remember to fan us at www.facebook.com/BurkeCorporation.
As consumers, we love them—those promising deep discounts of social coupon sites. As operators, we love the huge bump in traffic and potential new customers. But recently the internet has been abuzz with considerations business owners should weigh before jumping in.
A group buying social coupon offers to make everybody happy.
A social coupon site, such as Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe, SocialBuy and Tippr, offers deals to consumers, often with a large discount. You might offer, for example, $40-worth of pizza for $20. For a deal to become valid, a certain number of people must purchase it, for example, 30 people would have to sign up for your $20 deal. This procedure assures that the social coupon makes money, you get a certain number of customers and customers get big savings.
Be careful what you wish for.
The deal you offer could be so popular and could work so well, you could end up losing money. So make sure you’ve thought everything through before you join the parade.
Many social coupon customers only want the deal.
- A one-time customer, especially one who doesn’t buy anything extra, can cost your pizzeria money. To keep from giving away your food for free, tell your servers to aggressively sell extras and desserts.
- Groupon, the largest social couponing network, does not share customer email addresses, so see what you can do to collect customer information (it’s illegal to require it). Put a sign-up near the register, and have your cashier request a customer’s email during the transaction, mentioning that it will allow them to receive deals or coupons in the future. You can also offer a special deal in exchange for their email address.
Ready yourself for overload.
- Be prepared for extra traffic at your restaurant tables, on the phone and by email. Some operations even hire extra employees and designate someone to monitor the message board for your social couponing promotion.
- Contact your web hosting site to make sure your site will be able to handle extra traffic. Groupon says you might get five times as much traffic.
- Consider putting a cap on your deal.
- Try using an extended time frame for redemption to minimize the rush.
Keep customers on the straight and narrow.
- Don’t allow customers to lie, reuse coupons or use multiple coupons in one visit. Make a blanket policy so your staff has an easier time dealing with hustlers.
- Some state laws say it is illegal to put expiration dates on gift cards. Groupon requires that merchants honor coupons for up to five years. You might also have to honor cash back requests if a customer redeems a coupon for less than it’s worth.
- Groupon has a redemption tracking service which can monitor whether a coupon has already been used.
Protect your brand.
- If you can’t serve 500 new customers and they show up anyway, your reputation could suffer.
- Don’t devalue your product. It could affect how your regular customers think about you.
Figure your redemption rates.
- One source says the ideal experience is this: Your operation runs a social couponing offer, people purchase thousands of coupons and virtually none of those people redeem them. Actually, you can expect between 60 and 80 percent redemption.
- Do the math on actual remaining revenue after the social coupon company takes its cut. If it’s too much for your company, make a better deal or opt out.
Overall, choose to do what serves your operation. Simply weigh the pros and cons and make decisions based on what’s best for your size, your employees and your business.
- Entrepreneur, “Groupon Nightmares (and How to Avoid Them,” Sarah Jacobson Purewal, December 10, 2010.
- The Hive, “When Small Businesses Should Use Groupon,” Liz Wiltsie, June 11, 2010,