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Looking for new ways to increase traffic to your restaurant during a slow lunch? From specials and promotions to social media, there are a few budget-friendly strategies that can help. 

Is your pizzeria located in an area with a lot of surrounding businesses, schools, or government facilities? If it is, there’s a big opportunity to attract business lunches, workers on their lunch breaks, and lunchtime catering business between 11am to 2pm. If you aren’t doing anything to encourage that, you’re missing out on an opportunity to fill a sales gap. Many restaurants report higher average checks at lunch than dinner, particularly if they supply business customers who order for groups.

 Try implementing any—or all—of the tactics below to increase lunch dine-in and delivery. 

1. Get the Word Out

Hand-deliver samples: Although it takes a bit of time, this method is generally considered the most effective, because it lets your food sell itself. Call ahead and ask to speak with the person responsible for ordering food for the business. Arrange to personally deliver samples to their office just before lunch one day. Along with a sampling of your best lunch offerings, bring pens, calendars, or magnets that feature your logo, phone number, and website address. Ask the person receiving the food to put your menu in the lunchroom. 

Make up a schedule for sample deliveries, and set a goal for how many you want to do in a week. After the first few weeks, word will get around! Be sure to be on time with the samples–this is important to lunch diners on a tight schedule.

Share on Social Media: Share with your customers and followers about your lunch deals, fast delivery services, and easy payment options on social media platforms.

Put a sign out: If you’re in an area with a lot of foot traffic at lunch, try a sandwich board or sign on the sidewalk advertising your deal, or speedy lunch service.

Target parking lots: If bylaws permit, blanket office parking lots in your area with colorful, eye-catching flyers. If the lot is attended, ask permission first.

Use business contacts: When you deliver to an office building, go equipped to spread the word: Take menus and promotional materials, and leave them with people who usually order food for meetings etc.

2. Send Email

Most office workers check email throughout the day. Promoting specials by email on a slow day can really drive traffic. When you canvas businesses, bring a simple email sign-up form with you. Add a prominent sign-up form to your website, and train staff to ask customers if they would be interested in receiving special offers by email. 

To collect customer emails from your SpeedDine ordering site, make sure the “Opt in to News and Offers” check box is selected on the Company, General tab.

3. Offer a Deal

Winning promotions don’t have to rely on profit-gouging discounts. In fact, a message that highlights your quick service, prompt delivery, or grab and go items might bring in more business than a discount coupon. Be sure to mention if you offer wireless access or private booths or rooms for business meetings.

When it comes to deals, consider creating a slice and beverage value meal. Keeping slices hot and fresh can be challenging, but pizza operators are creative! Some do it by par-baking crust and sauce, or by dividing an 8-slice pizza dough into 4 larger slices and baking to order (moving unneeded dough to another pan before making, if there are only one or two slices on the ticket). 

Speedy Tip
If you decide a discount is the way to go, you can use a time-based price group to automate special pricing. For example, your SpeedLine POS can apply a discount on the items you select that automatically takes effect on the days and times you specify. 

Have SpeedDine online ordering? Offer a specially priced lunch item online that just displays between 11am and 2pm. In SpeedDine Admin, click the question mark icon at top right, and search the help for “Add Time Restrictions to a Product.”

4. Use House Accounts

For many restaurants that cater to businesses, schools, and other organizations, house accounts simplify the process. They essentially work by extending credit to a reputable and frequent customer, allowing an order to be placed and fulfilled without immediate payment.

Many businesses prefer invoices for accounting reasons, and in many cases the employee picking up or accepting the delivery doesn’t have access to the company credit card. That means that your customer would need to pay with their own money, and then go through the process to get reimbursed by their employer or the organization. Offering easy payment through house accounts can factor into the decision the customer makes about whether to order from you or a competitor.

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