Business Builders

Clientele Cultivation

Saturday Fun!

In her pizzeria, Zasa, owner Tara Hattan works to attract more young families by appealing to their youngest members. For example, she offers Saturday morning dough throwing classes for kids and their families, ending in a tasty pizza lunch!

The reasonably priced family outing also gives Tara time to make friends with the parents as well, making them feel especially comfortable returning to her place. A Win-Win!

Tara Hattan, Owner Zasa Pizza Tulsa, OK


Thanking Naysayers

Pizzeria owner Freddo Santos credits his current double-digit growth in “pies out the door” to his high online Google reviews. Freddo influences his positive ratings by attracting service-oriented customer types. How? By responding positively to every “less than positive” online review.

Sometimes he offers to personally deliver replacement food or recommends other area restaurants closer to the customer’s stated preference. But he always thanks them for trying his place! Always thanking negative reviewers may seem counterintuitive.

But the service-minded first-timers Freddo wants to attract don’t just pick new restaurants based on their Google ratings. They often also review actual customer comments, good and bad. And seeing how Freddo responds promptly to the occasional poor review, no matter how unfair, demonstrates to these future customers that he cares about satisfying even the challenging folks.

The bonus is that when they actually try his place, many of these service-minded newcomers end up adding their own positive reviews!

Freddo Santos, Owner Square Pizza Company


Earning Staff Loyalty

During the pandemic, Dave Kuban challenged the odds by launching D&C’s Hometown Deli. Located 5 minutes from his original pizzeria, the two businesses compete in different dayparts. The neighborhood deli is busiest during breakfast and lunch, while the pizzeria is busiest during dinnertime.

While Dave had no deli experience, he applied the same business model which successfully built his pizzeria. He instituted online ordering, took credit cards, and used frequent social media posts to introduce his existing clientele to this second venture. To stand out from the crowd, he featured ultra-premium brands of cured meats and cheeses and freshly baked Italian bread from NY’s Arthur Avenue.

The backbone of Dave’s success is his closeknit staff. Even during the pandemic, his employee retention remained high as a result of his making their working together feel meaningful and appreciated.

Before owning his own business, Dave burned out, endlessly working six days a week for others. To keep his team fresh, Dave only schedules them five days a week with either Saturday or Sunday off.

In addition to above average pay and dependably full-time hours, Dave also demonstrates his ongoing appreciation by treating his team to postlunch- rush sushi every Friday. On Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, the restaurant buys employees large bouquets of flowers to take home to their loved ones. On their birthdays, teammates enjoy a bakery cake decorated with their name!

This level of personal attention has kept Dave’s employee retention high, even during the pandemic. Building a strong sense of “family” within his crew also makes it easier to make new hires feel they belong as well! As a result, staffing the second business was relatively painless because it allowed him to promote longtime team members and then fill in with new hires.

Dave Kuban, Owner D&C’s Hometown Deli Norwalk, CT