Business Builders

Standing Out

Collect 10 Chips

Some eateries provide punch cards that reward customers with a free item after so many purchases. But to Bryan Watari, punch cards do not seem particularly memorable or unique. Instead, Bryan gives his guests a “Collect 10” casino chip with every order. Unlike a card hidden in a wallet, the sturdy chips remain highly visible reminders of Bryan’s place wherever they accumulate. The durable chips are also easily sterilized and reissued once redeemed. They are so popular that Bryan now buys blanks in bulk, imprinting them himself with a foil embosser from eBay.

Bryan Watari, Owner Neighbors Pizza Olivehurst, CA


Sampling Sells Flavor

At Uncle Peter’s Deli, owner Peter Caruso greets first time customers with a free two ounce cup of hot soup or one of his signature oatmeal cookies. If someone inquires about his unique meat pies, he hands one across the counter, saying, “Taste one for yourself, and if you don’t like it, it is on the house!” Not only does this cheerful hospitality make them want to come back, they often end up buying plenty of whatever they just sampled to take home to family and friends!

Pete Caruso, Owner Uncle Peter’s Deli Clarkston, MI


Eye Catching Prank

Wanting his delivery vehicle to stand out around town, this pizzeria owner topped it with a head turning visual prank … a stack of pizza boxes left on its roof by an absent minded employee. In reality, the stack is sturdily glued together and hidden magnets in the bottom anchor it in place.

Once locals realize they have been duped by the harmless prank, they cannot help but tell others about their experience, spreading valuable word of mouth!

Prefers to Remain Anonymous


Finding Motivated Servers

Want to increase reliability and reduce turnover among your servers? After 50 years in the restaurant business, Tony Vaccaro confides that many of his best servers have been those who demonstrate mature judgment and have family obligations.

So unlike students who come and go, some of his hardest working servers have been single parents needing a steady income and recognizing the connection between treating customers well and earning significantly higher pay in tips!

Tony Vaccaro, Owner Tony’s Italian Restaurant Fort Oglethorpe, GA


Customer Cost Education

Back when ingredient costs were rapidly spiking back in 2008, restaurateur Vic Rocca raised menu prices to reflect his higher cost of business, without much notice by his regulars. Beforehand, Vic had assumed they were already aware of food inflation from shopping at the supermarket.

But for his own peace of mind, Vic tastefully posted some current newspaper articles explaining rising commodity costs where curious customers could read them. While the education may not have been necessary, either way, Vic’s customers continued to take his menu price adjustments in stride!

Vic Rocca, Owner Santo’s Pizzeria Welland, ON


Takeout Tray Support

When Tony Petti gives customers large aluminum catering pans loaded with pasta and sauce to take home, there is always a chance that the pan will buckle, causing disappointment and perhaps a big mess. To prevent this, Tony first loads them into trays crafted from the sturdy cardboard boxes that originally protected his canned ingredients.

That is, by cutting each 6 x #10 case lengthwise to remove its cans (rather than opening its end flaps), he creates an identical pair of 12” x 18” cardboard trays, the perfect size to rigidly support each problematic pan. While not elegant in appearance, his solution is practical, eco-friendly, and best of all, free!

Tony Petti, Owner Cannoli’s Ristorante St. Louis, MO