Business Builders

Attention Getters

Halloween Magnets

Restaurateur Karen Belen wants children to learn good eating habits. So instead of candy at Halloween, Karen gives trick-or-treaters pizza-shaped magnets, later redeemable at her pizzeria for a slice of the “good stuff.” The magnets, which Karen orders well in advance of Halloween, cost less than a quarter apiece and can be reused after cleaning. Karen feels good about promoting healthful eating. Plus parents bringing their children to Karen’s to redeem their magnets often buy a meal for themselves!

Karen Belen, Owner Il Forno Pizza Café Secaucus, NJ

“Call Me” Specials

To some operators, “chef’s special” means discounted prices (and profits). Instead, Bill Bonadio uses “call me” specials to boost demand at full price. They feature dishes whose involved preparation keeps them off the everyday menu but are so popular that fans (like the 50 on Bill’s “Italian Meatloaf” list) will make special visits to enjoy them again. Since these specialties require extra prep time, Bill schedules them when he is less busy (and could use a bump in business). While any employee could make the calls, Bill likes to reinforce friendships with regulars by personally alerting them when their favorite food is featured!

Bill Bonadio, Owner Papa Dio’s Oklahoma City, OK


Roadside Humor

To passing motorists, roadside businesses risk becoming “invisible” over time. That is why Andy Cantillo was willing to try some unorthodox ideas to draw the attention of the 25 thousand commuters passing daily. For example, passersby recently witnessed a hunter in khaki trying to capture alligators (plastic) with a loop on a pole. Andy’s actor has also soaped old televisions beside a “Free TV Wash” sign and waved a “Free Samples Tomorrow” sign beside a mock moonshine still.

Perhaps because Andy’s “sign spinner” is hyping humor, not cheap deals, more curious commuters are stopping to try his food and sales are up!

Andy Cantillo, Owner Bayou Bay Seafood Knoxville, TN


Grand Finale

Usually, Colletti’s Italian Deli is open only for lunch. But once a week, the Colletti family also enjoys hosting a prix fixe supper for regulars. To make this weekly dinner seating even more fun and memorable, the Collettis cap the evening event with drawings for plates of Terry Colletti’s signature Italian “sprinkle cookies”!

Finding a way to end the evening on a high note has helped the Collettis transform the evening into a popular social “happening” for everyone involved!

Terry Colletti Colletti’s Italian Deli Palm Coast, FL


B.Y.O.P. Spaghetti

Newcomers to Angie’s Restaurant in Littleton, CO, are intrigued to see “to go” customers bringing their own lidded sauce pots from home. It is all part of Angie’s B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pot) program. Instead of taking home four or five individual spaghetti servings (and then throwing away as many takeout boxes), “BYOPers” order the same quantity of pasta “family style” in their own pot. While the restaurant passes along modest savings (from not buying individual disposables), many of Angie’s regulars simply prefer avoiding needless waste!

Chris McCaffrey, Owner Angie’s Restaurant Littleton, CO


Camera as Training Tool

When restaurateur Joe Leroux sees that an employee chore has been done incorrectly, he takes a photo with his cell phone camera so that he can later use it to show his team exactly what should or should not have been done. Being able to show a picture (rather than trying to describe the scene verbally) instantly gets the point across, without misunderstanding or debate. As a result, fewer errors get repeated, freeing up Joe’s time to focus on more valuable tasks of his own!

Joe Leroux, Owner Amadio’s Mississauga, ON