Revel Blog

How to Drive Traffic to Your Pizzeria

Sydney Kida | May 30, 2023 |

pizza industry Featured
How to Drive Traffic to Your Pizzeria

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, commonly known as Ovid is quoted saying, “A horse never runs so fast as when [it] has other horses to catch up and outpace.” Regardless of your stance on Roman poetry, there’s  no denying the widespread prevalence of competition in the restaurant industry, and pizzerias are no exception. 

The global pizza market reached $141.1 billion (USD) in 2022 and is projected to keep growing. While there’s good reason for this growth—let’s face it, pizza is delicious and crave-able—high demand is a breeding ground for competition. 

So, considering the stiff competitors in the space and an ever-changing marketplace, not to mention evolving consumer expectations, how can you drive traffic and profits at your pizzeria? In the following blog post, we offer a few suggestions. Read on for ideas to implement at your restaurant. 

How to Drive Traffic at Your Pizzeria

Rethink Your Footprint

While there are certainly more pizza brands than ever before, there are also more ways to order. Today’s pizzeria has several options for expanding its reach during operating hours, including: 

All of these options for customer ordering are also ways for your brand to engage with existing and potential guests. If anything, the constraints lie not with the square footage of your restaurant space, but rather with your imagination.

Some of these ordering options have the potential to do more than increase your restaurant traffic (and profits!)—whether the guest visits on-premises or dines elsewhere. They can also help you work more efficiently, serving more customers with fewer in-house teammates. Restaurants have a long history of challenges with staff turnover, and digital solutions can significantly alleviate some of the pressures of hiring a high volume of people. 

Get Creative with Promotions

In addition to the fact that, once you have a customer, it’s much less work to keep that customer than to attract new ones, a Forbes article reveals ways customer retention can help your bottom line. 

Statistics show an increase in customer retention by 5% can lead to a company’s profits growing by 25% to around 95%. Not only that, but studies show that existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers.

Those are very compelling reasons to double down on guest retention, and two great methods for accomplishing that are loyalty programs and creative promotional campaigns. 

Minnesota-based Red’s Savoy Pizza doubles down on customer-centricity in all brand activities, and their loyalty program is no exception. 

“It all goes back to meeting the consumer where they are,” says Reed Daniels, CEO of Red’s Savoy. “Digital [channels] allow us to meet the guests where they are. The customer has a lot of power these days, and if you don’t adapt to how they want to interact with you, then they’re going to choose someone else.” 

Close attention to customer preferences has paid off for the brand. Red’s Savoy attributes between 5-17% of their total revenue to their most loyal 2-4% of customers. That’s an incredibly efficient way to generate dollars, with so few people making up a significant slice of the proverbial pie. 

Distinguish Yourself from the Competition

To revisit our theme of competition from the beginning of this blog post, there were over 15,000 pizza restaurants in the US as of 2021. That figure has been relatively stable for the past decade, and it’s clear this is a huge market with lots of players.

Conventional wisdom suggests that, if you do something that the other pizzerias aren't doing, you will attract customers because of the unique nature of your offerings. 

Here are a few examples of pizza brands leaning into their differentiators:

Red’s Savoy Pizza

In addition to their thoughtful loyalty program, another way Red’s Savoy is standing out from the pizza pack is through one-of-a-kind menu items. In fact, the brand coined ‘Sota-style pizza, their own, proprietary approach to a beloved classic dish.

Learn more about ‘Sota-style pizza and the many features that make it a hit with the locals in this episode of the Restaurant and Retail Revel(ations) podcast. 

Pizza Patrón 

In the southwest corner of the United States, San Antonio-based Pizza Patrón has employed a few different tactics to distinguish their brand. A family-focused franchise, the pizza chain has long prioritized low pricing for their offerings so that families can enjoy a full meal while adhering to a budget. 

The brand also takes advantage of its southwestern roots and offers a combination of classic pizza and Latin-inspired pies. The latter option includes selections like maize crust, tomatillo sauce, and other Latin flavors and spices for an added twist. 

Learn more about the brand’s strategic decisions and its evolution over time in this case study

Sauce on the Side

Of course, one way to stand out in the crowded pizza vertical is to package some of the same desirable ingredients in a whole new way. Enter Sauce on the Side, a growing calzone franchise. 

The fast casual pizza-adjacent brand keeps a hyper focus on fresh quality ingredients, service obsession and an eye on the future. It also delivers everything there is to love about pizza in a steaming pastry pouch. 

Folding in other service-centric experimentation, like hybrid delivery (more on that later) and full table service after orders are placed at the counter in stores, Sauce on the Side has cultivated some diehard fans with the details that set them apart from the rest. 

Increase Efficiency Through Tech

Now, your products and service are likely the aspects of your brand that will drive customer traffic, but your technology can do a lot in the background to vastly improve your life as an operator as well as the guest experience. When is the last time you’ve given your tech stack a serious look? 

Integration of digital solutions—for front-of-house and back-of-house operations alike—that seamlessly connect to one another can be a complete game changer. Direct integrations greatly reduce issues like order errors from the point of entry to the kitchen and continue to deliver for back office management with actionable data insights. 

A strong, integrated system will show you where you can increase your operational efficiency, staff the right amount of people for the right times based on peak service hours, uncover areas of high food waste or overspending on inventory, and so much more. 

For the sake of this blog post, we’ll focus on self-service options as key technologies you can implement to drive profits in addition to pizzeria traffic. 

Self-service solutions

There are so many reasons to consider self-service solutions for your pizzeria. A major reason is customers already want them. According to Nasdaq’s 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report, 81 percent of consumers say they want more self-service options. 

As a business operator, there are a few different ways you can deliver on this interest. There’s the self-service kiosk, an in-store ordering option that offsets your need to staff counter service employees and helps dramatically reduce order errors while simultaneously guaranteeing auto-prompts for offers like upsell opportunities if you choose to include them. 

If you’re not sold on investing in kiosks, consider that, essentially, most of your guests enter your doors with a pocket kiosk already on them: their mobile phone. Mobile order-and-pay solutions work well at counter service and table service establishments alike, and require zero upfront hardware costs for your business. You simply need to enable the technology, which can be as simple as providing a QR code for quick ordering. 

If you think about it, even online orders have elements of self-service, where the guest places their own order without talking to a human, and in some cases, visits the store later to pick up their food. 

Whatever self-service ordering methods you consider, they can certainly help you drive traffic by providing an experience your consumers naturally desire, and they can increase profits through lower overhead costs and higher average order prices. 

Conduct a Quick Tech Review

If the last sections in this blog post piqued your interest, it’s time to explore self-service (and other tech-based solutions) in more detail. Consider whether you have some obvious areas where you can improve your operational flow through technology. 

Curious to know how Revel Systems can help your pizzeria drive efficiency and increase profits? Connect with us today for a free demo.