The month of February is always a very busy time for pizzerias. Not only do you have Pizza Pie Day occurring on February 9th and Valentines Day on February 14th but the Super Bowl also happens to fall around this time. This year, the Super Bowl happens to be on February 13th, which still gives you some time to prepare for it. But if you’re going to properly prepare for the second-biggest pizza day of the year, where over 12.5 million pizzas are sold, then you need to know how to do that.
Here are four steps that will allow your restaurant to handle any high-volume sales days successfully:
1. Encourage Customers to Pre-Order
Getting a sudden wave of orders that significantly exceeds your expectations might seem like a pretty good problem to have, but it can actually mean chaos for your restaurant. In a matter of minutes, you can get flooded with lunch or dinner orders that require twice as many staff as you have on hand. So you’re forced to either try and call in employees last-minute or work with whoever you have and inevitably upset customers with long wait times.
The key to preventing this unfortunate scenario is to rely more heavily on pre-orders. If you have a significant number of your customers place their orders ahead of time, then you’ll have a much better idea of how many drivers, cooks, and front-counter staff you’ll need to be able to handle it. You can schedule your team for success by being prepared and ensuring you're not all running around on game day like a bunch of headless chickens.
The best way to do this is to plaster your pre-order information anywhere and everywhere you can. Send out some social media posts encouraging customers to place their order a day or two ahead of time, and make sure your online ordering site is easily accessible.
“I added the website to my boxes, bags, and a direct link from my company website.” - Dominic Barraco, Zazzo’s
2. Promote Online Ordering as Much as Possible
The types of orders that you receive on a busy day will matter almost as much as the number of orders. As Ramon Collado of Mama’s Pizza & Grill explains, “Online orders are more efficient for us in the store, and more orders placed online means less time talking on the phone.”
An online order placed through your ordering site can go directly to your kitchen without any staff intervention, which saves valuable time. So the more customers you can get ordering online, the better off you’ll be, especially during those busy days.
“It’s one less thing for them to do when there’s a rush. Our operations run smoother, and there are less mistakes, since it’s the customers entering it, and not the staff.” - Cory DeLuca, Mama DeLuca’s
While you’re promoting the ability to accept pre-orders, you should also send out plenty of social media posts and other marketing materials letting customers know that you have an online ordering site they can use. And whenever someone calls to place an order, you can have staff remind them that there’s also the option to use the ordering site next time.
In addition to saving you time, there are many other benefits you’ll also receive. As Todd Viera of Spinato’s Pizzeria explains, “We've seen our dessert sales increase by about 5% with online ordering, and the average ticket price is between 5% to 13% higher for online orders than it is with call-in orders.”
You’ll also save the cost of making expensive mistakes during order entry. As good as your front-counter staff might be, there is always the strong possibility for errors and could have to remake the order, or a customer will walk away with a negative experience. But with online ordering, you cut out the middleman while providing the much-needed convenience and comfort that 81% of millennials so desperately crave.
“I think the biggest hiccups are when you have people poorly taking orders on the phone, making mistakes that are just totally avoidable.” - Greg Thomas, Mama Roni’s Pizza
3. Double-check Availabilities and Overschedule for Each Shift
Proper staff scheduling tactics often get overlooked when it comes to preparing for busy days. While you may not have time to overhaul your entire scheduling system, there are a couple of simple things you can do to increase the efficiency of your restaurant.
The first step is to take another look at the scheduling availabilities for your entire staff. When there’s a special event like the Super Bowl happening, it’s common for some of your staff to alter their normal availability. So before you go scheduling people for the big day, you should double-check with your staff to see who can work and when they are available. Once you have up-to-date availabilities, you can sit down and work out a detailed schedule, or better yet, have an integrated scheduling program do it for you.
The other thing you’ll want to change about your scheduling is how you determine the number of people on shift at any given time. There’s a time for playing it safe with labor cost, but the few busiest days of the year are not that time. As the CEO of the employee scheduling tool 7shifts explains, “More often than not, people are almost scared to staff more people because of the labor costs, but they almost don't realize that there is a tipping point where you have a certain amount of people to actually drive more revenue for you.”
If you continue to schedule the same number of employees for the Super Bowl as you would any other Sunday, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed. As soon as too many orders start to flood in, a bottleneck will form, leading to a huge backlog of orders and plenty of unhappy customers. The key to avoiding this is by considering one-off factors when scheduling and always erring on the side of overscheduling each shift. It’s always easier to send people home early than to try and call in people who have the day off.
“Events definitely affect how people schedule. And I think it's important not just to see adding people as a cost, but really understand how that also impacts revenue for you." - Jordan Boesch, 7shifts
4. Provide an Incentive for Pickup Orders
The problem with delivery orders is that they require drivers to bring them to the customers. You can eliminate the delivery process, save a bundle in labor costs, and cut down on the time it takes to complete an order by switching to pickup orders entirely. But how do you get customers to choose pickup over delivery?
The best method is by offering an incentive for the customers who pick up their food. For example, Domino’s has started giving customers a $3 “tip” with every pickup order. You can implement a similar strategy, even if it’s just available for one day, to help reduce the number of delivery orders you receive.
If you’re going to start offering pickup for the first time, or even if you’re only expecting an influx of pickup orders, then you’ll want to ensure you have a point-of-sale that makes this process as easy as possible.
“We get solicited all the time to switch POS systems, but at the end of the day, SpeedLine does a great job for pizza pickup and delivery so, I’ve stayed with them.” - Domenick Montanile, Venezia’s Pizzeria
But if you’re looking to improve other areas of your pizzeria, check out this article on how upgrading to a visual dispatch system can increase the efficiency of your deliveries.
Posted on Wed, Feb 09, 2022 @ 08:02 AM.
Updated on February 9, 2022 @ 4:30 PM PST.