Business Builders

Unique Ideas

Menu Anchoring

Because menu engineering can influence how guests perceive restaurant offerings, Jon Doemel added a $50 all-meat “Meatpocalypse” pizza to his menu. He only sells a few annually.

But Jon believes that anchoring the high end of his menu with super-premium priced items (like “market price” lobster or a $150 bottle of champagne) subtly elevates guest perceptions of the rest of the menu.

Jon Doemel, Owner ZaRonis Macaroni and Pizza Pub Oshkosh, WI


Creative Dough-Work

Creative dough-work makes Jimmy Casapizziolo’s pizza offerings visually distinctive in person and on social media. Jimmy often forms his pies to include unexpected “extras” not available elsewhere.

Sometimes, he forms crusts from cheesestuffed, oil-brushed garlic knots. Or dough is partially folded back over fillings to create a partial calzone. These unique flourishes cost nothing to execute. But they capture guest attention and generate valuable word of mouth!

Jimmy Casapizziolo, Owner Casa Pizzeria Ludlow, MA


“Nonna Wall” of Photos

Restaurateur Julia Hanna covered her dining room wall with framed photos of guests’ mothers and grandmothers. Her “Nonna Wall” is dedicated to “honoring the women in our lives who fed and nurtured us, putting their own wants and needs aside.”

For every framed “nonna” photo guests donate, Julia’s teams donate a meal to a local family in need! Knowing that their “nonna” is part of the restaurant helps customers feel especially close to everyone at Ritorno!

Julia Hanna, Owner Ritorno Ristorante Oakville, ON


Thinking Like Owners

In the absence of cost education, restaurant employees often assume “menu price – food cost = restaurant profit.”

To help his team internalize the skinny truth of restaurant margins, restaurateur Derrick Tung gave each of his employees a stack of 100 pennies and asked them to guess how many are left from each sales dollar after all expenses are paid.

Then Derrick shared his real “pennies per sales dollar” costs item by item for taxes, rent, insurance, workers’ comp, utilities, wages, ingredients, disposables, repairs, etc. At the end, only a few cents remained.

Now Derrick’s team better understands why breaking a single plate is expensive and why it is so critical to satisfy every customer on every visit to keep them coming back!

Derrick Tung, Owner Paulie Gee’s Logan Square Chicago, IL


Work Less, Keep More

COVID-19 caused Will Grant to reevaluate his pizzeria profitability by “daypart.” He learned that, even after sizeable school orders, lunchtime labor costs had long matched sales, leaving nothing to cover ingredients.

Switching to “dinner-only” instantly increased profits. It also freed Will’s time to focus on further boosting profitable evening sales.

Will Grant, Owner Sourdough Willy’s Bainbridge Island, WA