Success Stories

Vito’s Pizza

After a dozen successful years, Vito and Jane LoMonaco became dismayed when tough times began squeezing their guest counts and sales. While they remained committed to superior food quality, uncertainty prompted them to freeze spending on just about everything else.

But as tough times continued, their spending freeze made it hard to feel in control of their situation. (It is hard to envision improvements if you first assume that you cannot afford them.) That is when the couple chose to stop worrying about issues beyond their control (the economy) and focus on improving everything else.

Vito and Jane began by creating a wish list of improvements that could help make their place more attractive to customers. Then, over the following months, they worked on one high impact, low cost improvement project after another to freshen their restaurant in four key areas:

1) Freshened Exterior – To draw more attention to their storefront from the busy roadway passing in front of their strip mall, the LoMonacos updated their illuminated roadside sign with a new, brightly colored logo they designed themselves. Just taking this simple step helped them attract a number of new customers. Ironically, several newcomers asked whether the restaurant was new because they had driven by its location hundreds of times without noticing it before.

Taking a closer look at their storefront with “new eyes,” the couple then decided to find new, reasonably priced replacements for their sidewalk bistro tables and chairs, which had begun looking a bit worn.

To draw further visual attention, Vito added a giant, eye catching chef statue to display just outside the front door.

2) Brightened Interior – The couple also took a hard look at freshening the restaurant interior, first by repainting their counter area. They also took a close look at each photo and poster hanging in the dining room to replace any appearing the least bit worn or faded. They also inspected and thoroughly cleaned every table and chair. Vito also added a 62” flat screen television to the dining room and began promoting boxing “fight night” viewing events.

3) Updated Offerings – To broaden their menu appeal, the LoMonacos decided to add several salads and a Sicilian style pizza, all of which could be made from existing ingredients (important in avoiding “inventory creep”).

4) Menu Redesign – Vito and Jane eventually had their menus redesigned to feature their new logo, highlight their new offerings, and make it easier to read.

As the ongoing improvement program gained momentum, guests also began making their own helpful suggestions. For example, a college aged customer offered to build them a simple, yet attractive website to showcase their redesigned menu and highlight photos of their sparkling clean kitchen. She also built them a Facebook page where Vito keeps regulars updated about upcoming “fight night” events.

Focusing on one affordable DIY improvement project at a time kept the process from becoming overwhelming and allowed the LoMonacos to start seeing positive progress almost immediately. And while it is hard to credit any single change, the cumulative enhancements helped Vito and Jane profitably boost their sales 25% over the previous year! Bravo!!