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.
Driving traffic, franchising
As part of Pizza Factory’s ramped up focus on increasing guest numbers and traffic, in December each of the chain’s restaurants sent out 1,000 direct mail postcards with such offers as get a large one-topping pizza for $7.99 or 20-percent off the check, Riva said. That “very successful” direct-mail effort bumped traffic from 3 percent to 10 percent, depending on the location, she added.
In the past, Riva said, the chain’s promotions often rewarded customers who were already in the stores, such as through scratch-card prize giveaways.
Pizza Factory, which according to operations director Nikki Van Velson has about 70 percent of its restaurants in communities with 20,000 or fewer residents, had a net increase of two units in 2012, but has seen its store base remain virtually flat for the past decade. To spur unit growth it is now offering existing single-unit franchisees — or about 87 percent of the system — a $15,000 discount off the normal $20,000 per-store franchise fee if they open a second location.
As a franchisee, “I’ve seen the [financial] challenges” of trying to open additional restaurants, so “we now have tools in place so that they are able to do that if is their dream is to have multiple stores,” Riva explained.
According to Riva, other recent changes or changes under way at Pizza Factory include:
- The launch by the end of January of Internet portals to let franchisees more easily review, tailor and order marketing materials and receive text or video answers to commonly asked operations and marketing questions.
- The addition of advisors who are current franchisees of the system and who will work out of the chain’s Oakhurst headquarters to help corporate support personnel answer questions and concerns from other franchisees. These new paid advisors are in addition to the chain’s existing field supervisors, each of whom are responsible for about 20 restaurants, Riva noted.
- Involvement in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program through which former U.S. military personnel can receive a 25-percent discount on initial franchise fees.