Every football season, Grotto runs a contest to win gift cards or a grand-prize trip to Vegas.
PMQ: HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR MOBILE KITCHEN? HOW DOES IT HELP YOU MARKET GROTTO? DiNatale: We have two mobile kitchens, and we go to events such as the Delaware State Fair and the Firefly Music Festival, which is becoming the premiere East Coast music festival. We rent out the units for private events and weddings, and we’re just getting into the food truck realm and hope to start attending the local Food Truck Friday events. Twice a year at the Dover Air Force Base, they do a NASCAR Social on the Friday before the big race; for the last 15 years, we’ve been taking the mobile unit there and giving away pizza to the military and their families. There’s also an event called Slam Dunk to the Beach in Lewes, Delaware, that we sponsor in December. It’s one of the premier high school basketball tournaments. We take our mobile unit there, sell slices for a dollar, and everything we sell we donate back to the school. PMQ: HOW MANY GUESTS FILL OUT YOUR ONLINE/SECRET SHOPPER SURVEY? DiNatale: We’ve offered this survey online for six years and usually have two or three people per day fill it out. It’s great for us to get that feedback. It’s mostly positive, but if someone has a negative experience, we can find out that way, and we can address that with our guests and then use it as a teaching tool for our employees. With every check we drop off in the restaurant, we bring a flier that says, “Fill out a survey for a chance to win a $100 Grotto Pizza gift card.” This encourages people to go to the website and fill out the survey. We want that feedback and want to address any issues right away. When they walk out the door, we want them to remember that they had a good experience. PMQ: WHAT'S FOR SALE IN THE GROTTO GIFT SHOP? DiNatale: You can purchase gift cards there, which is great because some of our locations are very seasonal, so people can send cards to guests who visit at certain times of the year. We also sell guzzler jugs, towels, hats, T-shirts and more. 32
PMQ Pizza Magazine The Pizza Industry’s Business Monthly
PMQ: WHAT TYPES OF PROMOS DO YOU RUN FOR THE HOLIDAYS? DiNatale: We run a Cyber Monday promotion—if you buy a T-shirt online, you get a free large cheese pizza card. We did that promotion for the first time last year, and it was by far the busiest day we’ve ever had in the online gift shop. We’ll run the same promo this year. We also have a gift card promo: Buy $50 in gift cards, and you get a $10 bonus card that’s good January 1 through March 31. PMQ: TELL US ABOUT THE FREE TRIP TO LAS VEGAS YOU'VE OFFERED. DiNatale: We do a Vegas giveaway for the Super Bowl. It’s something we do all football season long, and you can enter online. We select finalists who come to our Dover location and put out pizza boxes with either “Winner” or Grotto Pizza gift cards inside so everyone gets something. Then they all open them at the same time. Besides the trip to Vegas, we run other food and beer specials during football season and Pigskin Pick ’Em, which is free to play. You just pick which team you think will win and turn it in by Thursday before the game starts. At each of our 10 sports bar locations, the winner at the end of the regular season gets a $500 cash prize. PMQ: WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE TO PIZZERIA OPERATORS WHO MAY BE STRUGGLING WITH MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS? DiNatale: Prioritize your goals. Put your plan together and focus on two or three goals at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. If you’re going to do a direct mail campaign about specials during the week, focus on that. If you do too many things at once, you’re going to fail across the board. Do a few things and do them right, and you can build off of that. Liz Barrett is PMQ’s editor at large and author of Pizza: A Slice of American History.