Seize the Pie
By: Piet E. Jones
Carpe Pastillus! Sell more pizza on the biggest night of the year.
Got Pizza? Well, if you do, the busiest day of the year might be coming up. No, not the big game, although that is a big one. Research and sampling from various groups points to Halloween as the day the country eats the most pie. For most restaurants, Halloween is one of the slowest nights of the year, and simply putting pizza on the menu for the night isn’t going to have people filling up the seats. But if you’re an established pizza place, especially with delivery and at least well organized carry out, this could be your busiest night of the year.
The question, how to capitalize on it? Since much of this is centered on trick-or-treating, the window of opportunity is just a few hours. Have extra staff on hand, lots of boxes prepped, and all your drivers ready to go. These things will help you deal with the influx, but you’ve still got to get the tsunami of pizza orders coming to your phone or website.
One easy way is to create local partnerships, especially with schools. A lot of those pizzas are going to houses with kids. If there are schools that are close to you, chances are their students live right in the heart of your delivery zone. Contact the administration and partner with them. Create an offer—pizza and drinks for a set price with a small portion of the proceeds going to the school’s PTA or special event fund. If you plan it right, you can even have parents place orders well in advance with delivery time slots so you can better plan the big night. Perhaps you can even get the teachers to volunteer make deliveries for a bigger cut plus the tips going to the school—a win for everyone.
College campuses are also prime consumers of pizza on Halloween night. They also are also looking for fundraising opportunities. Fraternities, sororities, all manner of student organizations could be leveraged to make your night even bigger—from passing out fliers to delivery. If local codes allow, you could even look into setting up a temporary kitchen or tent on the campus to better serve all those hungry coeds.
Businesses are little more problematic—there might be a large employer nearby, but the workers could live far outside your delivery area. If you’ve got a mobile truck or kitchen, take pre-orders and have them there for busy moms and dads when they’re ready to head home. Some pizza places even do par-cooked or fresh pizza kits to make at home. Pre-orders delivered to a factory or corporate campus can extend the reach of your normal service area exponentially. Just sell it to the HR department as a perk for the employees.
Regardless of what you do, don’t let Halloween slip by like so much melted cheese.