Business Builders

Win/Win Ideas

Renter “Bail Out”

When the feds began bank “bailouts,” Ria Fox questioned why irresponsible businesses were given a break, while many of her working class neighbors were now having to stretch to make their rent. That is when Ria approached a local apartment owner about rewarding his tenants with a free pizza each month that they pay their rent on time!

Families who pay promptly enjoy a free meal. There are fewer late payments for the landlord to chase. And Ria sells blocks of gift certificates monthly (at a modest discount) and has since turned several of the renters into paying regulars!

Ria Fox, Owner Pizza Ria’s Too, Thurston, OH


“Pizzeria Taste Off”

James Fauci helped raise $2,000 for local high school football by organizing a local “pizzeria taste off” contest. The football booster club sold tickets, invited school parents, and staffed the contest. At the Saturday event, 400 locals paid $5 each for a “tasting ballot” to sample competing pies donated by local pizzerias.

The pizzeria with the most votes won a “Most Popular” trophy. The local paper provided free prepublicity and a story on the event itself. For the ingredient cost of donated pies, each pizzeria got publicity, built goodwill, and gave 400 potential customers a chance to sample their pizza.

James Fauci, Owner Fauci’s Pizza, Lynn, MA


Monday Night Muse

To boost slow Monday nights, Anthony Donatone invited a customer’s poetry club to hold their weekly readings in his restaurant. To encourage others to enjoy this free entertainment, Anthony dubbed the event Monday Night Muse and offered half portion pastas and wine by the glass specials after 8:30 PM.

The popular event has even grown to include acoustic music by local musicians (for free!). In addition to tripling Monday night covers, half orders have not reduced ticket sizes. That is because attendees who choose them feel less full and feel less guilty about adding salad and/or dessert.

Anthony Donatone, Owner Casa D’Italia, Seattle, WA


Patriotic Radio Trivia

Depending on the type of customers you are trying to attract, local radio advertising can be surprisingly affordable. That said, radio ads only work if they can hook your intended audience.

That is why Joseph Oddo’s radio ads close by sharing a challenging patriotic trivia question. Then, rather than revealing the answer, the announcer invites listeners to ask Joe the next time they visit D’Angelo’s Italian Restaurant! The trivia questions often intrigue Joe’s customers and inviting them to chat with him reinforces Joe’s approachability!

Joseph Oddo, Owner D’Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Akron, OH


“But Don’t Answer Yet!”

The biggest opportunity to help employees internalize how you want them to think about your business (“Always put quality first!”) is before their first day of work while their brain is still a blank slate.

That is why when Val Ferrara Glasgow offers a job to a potential employee, she expects them to sleep on her offer before accepting. She wants them to recognize how much her staff loves their customers and that not everyone may be willing to make the same commitment. As a result, those who do accept have already internalized why their job matters from Day #1!

Val Ferrara Glasgow, Owner Water Street Café, Boyne City, MI


Displaying Digital Memories

A digital camera can capture thousands of customer photos (with permission of course) for free! But displaying those memories is not always as easy. Some folks just never seem to get around to printing their snapshots.

However, café owner Glenna Jones came up with an easy way to share her digital pictures with guests … via a digital tabletop photo frame on her front counter. Loaded with dozens of smiling customer faces, the frame automatically displays a new picture every few seconds. As a result, regulars and newcomers are visually reminded how much Glenna appreciates her guests!

Glenna Jones, Owner Clay’s Café, Hebron, OH