We talked earlier this week about the fact that pizza has a community-building superpower, and ways that pizzeria owners can leverage that to make their local neighborhoods better. But what do people look for, specifically, in a great pizzeria?
Getting customers through the door is the first (very important) step. But the same way that some pizzaiolos have a secret recipe for the perfect crust or the most flavorful marinara, there’s a recipe for what takes a pizzeria from a good place all the way to a great neighborhood hangout that brings customers back again and again.
When customers imagine pizza place, most have very specific memories. Most of these are warm memories – family gatherings, friendly dinners, great conversation over great food. Great pizzerias bring that warmth into their atmosphere, perhaps with an open kitchen that showcases the oven, or with red-checked tablecloths that make the place feel like home. A great playlist (whether the latest and greatest, or traditional Italian tunes) can make customers feel cozy.
It’s hard to beat good service, but great places take it a step farther. Picture this: You’ve already hired your crack team of servers, cooks, and hosts, and trained your staff well. They’re quick on their feet, they get the orders right every time, are unfailingly polite, and easily roll with anything your customers can throw at them. Now imagine that they’re also fully engaged in the business, and empowered to do the little things that make your customers feel like guests – a free drink here or a small discount there. That’s the kind of service that keeps people coming back.
There’s no better way to encourage this kind of engagement with the business than to get out on the floor yourself as well! Take a much-needed break from the pressures of keeping your small business going, and check in on your customers as they eat. The personal touch of meeting the owner can make your diners forget almost any small mistake. A quick greeting and a check on how their meal is going can make any customer feel like they’re getting the royal treatment (the kind they tell their friends and family about)!
As any pizzeria owner knows, nothing trumps the quality of the pie. When the food you’ve worked hard to perfect aligns with great service and an amazing atmosphere, you know you’ve got blooming neighborhood spot on your hands.