What is in this article?:
- New Pizza Factory CEO targets better margins, traffic
- Driving traffic, franchising
CEO Mary Jane Riva hopes advertising, direct mail and other strategies will help reduce costs and drive traffic.
Mary Jane Riva, co-owner, president and chief executive of franchisor Pizza Factory Inc.
Pizza Factory is working to reduce operational costs and drive additional guests into its stores through TV commercials and direct mail, among other strategies, according to the chain’s new co-owner and chief executive.
Mary Jane Riva became president and chief executive of the Oakhurst, Calif.-based pizzeria chain in September after she and her husband, Bob Riva, acquired the Pizza Factory Inc. franchising system from founders Daniel and Carol Wheeler and Ronald Willey.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal that brought the Rivas the 111-unit chain, which has average annual sales per unit of about $540,000 and saw 2012 systemwide sales climb by 4 percent compared with 2011.
The Rivas have franchised Pizza Factory restaurants for 24 years and currently own single units in the Southern California communities of Temecula and French Valley. For several years prior to the sale, Mary Jane Riva also was a nonpaid member of the chain’s marketing team and an area developer for the brand as an independent contractor.
“In 2013, my biggest goal is to reduce costs and increase the bottom line for franchisees," said Riva, adding that she also aims to help them attract new business.
In order to help meet those goals, Pizza Factory recently streamlined its menu and reduced the number of mandatory products to reduce menu printing and paper costs. The move also aims to give franchisees the flexibility to discontinue the slower selling foods that can hinder operational efficiency and inflate inventory.
Also new to Pizza Factory are systemwide schedules of offer-free, brand-building TV commercials to increase awareness of the brand, which Riva said was lacking. The brand recently ran spots on the Fox Sports network, said Riva, and benefitted from about “$80,000 in freebies” from the network, including 1,200 additional spots at no additional cost.
The TV commercials were paid for by the ad fund for the chain that, with the exception of one company restaurant, is otherwise entirely operated by franchisees in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington.