Give it All Away!
If you have an amazing pizza that you are 100% sure the public will love if only they gave it a chance, then the best way to get them to try it is to give it away free. Don’t be scared of the cost associated with giving away free product. It’s one of the cheapest forms of marketing you can do and has a high return on investment. One of the common threads that run through successful pizzeria operators is their willingness to give their pizza away for free. When you have an amazing product, you can rest assured that once a customer tries it, they will return for more.
Check out these real-world examples of giving away food as marketing –
Debbie Taranto of Taranto’s Pizzeria in Lewis Center, Ohio explains…
“My single most successful marketing item has been a postcard mailing for a free medium cheese pizza. No strings attached. It went to 10,000 homes and we were blown away. They always added more to their order and added toppings and paid for those. As a relative “unknown” at the time, it introduced my pizza to several thousand and I got my money back by the give a way 100 fold. I would not have to do this now at this point in my business, but it was a great marketing plan the first 5 years.”
Detroit Style Pizza Co.
Shawn Randazzo of the Detroit Style Pizza Co. in Saint Clair Shores, MI had this to say…
“The single most successful marketing item we do is “Getting it in their Mouths” approach. Another way to describe it is “Business Walks”. We take 10-20 small pizzas in a hot box equipped with envelopes stuffed with another free pizza voucher, magnet, regular and catering menu, lunch specials and any other piece we may be distributing at the time. We map out a plan to comb the area doing 10-20 a week for at least 2-3 months at a time. We walk in and introduce ourselves, give them the pizza, then pull out the envelope and say “We have another free pizza for you too”. Then we take the voucher out and put their company name on it, which is later used for tracking. We also let them know we have great lunch packages for catering, etc.. Once people try the pizza they love it. Often times the same day we get employees coming in to pick up pizza for their family when they are out of work and bragging about how awesome the pizza was. Most times we see these people come in without the voucher and they do become repeat loyal customers. by the end of the week we always have more than 60% of the vouchers redeemed and have even landed some pretty big catering orders on a regular basis. We believe it is a people business so reaching out like that connecting and making relationships goes a long way.”
So how do you give away your pizza?
- New Resident Programs
- Non-Customer Mailings
- Making the Rounds
- School Partnerships
- At Every Opportunity
- People are always moving in and out of your neighborhood.
- Each one of them is looking for their new favorite pizza place, and you have a golden opportunity to make it your pizzeria!
- How about giving a FREE pizza to a stressed-out new resident? How is that for a first impression?!
- A personalized, full-color letter & gift certificate, sent right to the potential customer and you don’t have to lift a finger!
- That’s what new mover/new resident programs do. They monitor the deed transfers, change of address forms, and so on to identify who is moving into your neighborhood.
- This type of a program, once started, runs on autopilot in the background.
- Partner with local realtors to immediately get your product in front of potential new customers!
Find more details on new resident programs by clicking here and reading our full piece. Also, find New Resident Letter Templates for download at the bottom of the page!
Non Customer Mailings
Non-customer mailings take a little time, work, and some computer know-how but at the end of the day is super effective.
There are plenty of people in your neighborhood that have never bothered to give you a try. Maybe they had a bad experience before, or maybe they are very happy with their current pizza place, but you know that once they try your food, they will be hooked. Free Food is hard to turn away!
- Buy a mailing list of your area from a demographics company. Check out www.melissadata.com.
- Load up the database into Microsoft Excel®.
- Remove all addresses of existing customers present in your POS database from the database you just bought, creating a master list of everyone in your area who is not an existing customer.
- Send an “Awesome” offer of at least a free medium pizza with no strings attached. Download our ready to customize templates below in Microsoft Word® format (.docx).
- Send weekly batches of 50 or 100 to the same geographic area.
- When an offer is redeemed, remove them from the non-customer database and add them to your customer database in your POS.
- Buy a new updated mailing list yearly.
- Use 1st class stamps so you can remove vacant houses when the letters are returned.
Making the Rounds
Take the time to personally visit all of the local businesses in your area and give them free food. The personal touch of visiting in person will make a huge impact and result in higher redemption of coupons and customer retention.
How to “Make the Rounds”
- Create a list of every business in your area.
- Visit at least two businesses each day and introduce yourself.
- Present them with a $20 free lunch letter. No strings attached. Offer to take the order on the spot.
- Leave them with a menu, magnet, coupons, etc.
- Continue until you have visited every single business in your area and then start it all over again.
Children are often the ones who ultimately decide where a family will eat and a child with a free pizza coupon most definitely decides where the family will eat!
Partner with schools to not only help them with fundraising but to also provide them with free pizza certificates for children who:
- Have perfect attendance
- Make the honor roll
- Are the most improved
- Achieve reading goals
Find more details on partnering with your schools by clicking here and reading our full piece.
Never a Mistake – Only Opportunities
Those “good” mistake pizzas, the ones that were topped wrong, duplicates, etc… are prime marketing material. These items need to quickly make their way to a potential customer (marketing) or a regular customer (gooodwill). Create a list of all the surrounding businesses that have yet to order from you and every time a “good” mistake is made you send it out to the next business on the list. If you bombard them with enough free food you are bound to get some orders from them. Never tell them it was extra or a mistake, just let them know that you appreciate them being a part of the community or some other feel-good story to make them feel even better about getting free food. On top of trying to pull in new business, you can create a whole lot of goodwill with your existing customers by sending them free food on a regular basis as well. The police, fire department, and EMTs are always happy to take extra food off your hands, and it is a good way to thank them for what they do.
You should also always be on the lookout for opportunities to provide pizza to a captive audience such as:
- Coupons as bag stuffers for local 5k runs, car shows, and farmers markets
- Crews donating time to work on a Habitat for Humanity home
- Feeding volunteers at local parades and festivals
Start giving away your pizza by using our templates below as a starting point to create your own custom documents. Templates are provided in Microsoft Word® (.docx) format for easy customization.