When the economy collapsed back in 2008, every business was affected, including the pizza industry. Some pizzerias continue to feel the effects of that catastrophe today. The question is, what can we do if it happens again?
Precinct Pizza, the pizzeria I founded with my wife in Tampa, Florida, was two years
old in 2008. We had registered huge sales from nearly the day we opened, but we
also built up a lot of debt from our build-out. When the economy tanked, we were
receiving job applications by the dozens on a daily basis. Then our landlord defaulted
on the loan for the building, so the court took over ownership of the mall in which
Precinct Pizza is located. It was a scary time for everyone. My wife and I had to make
some tough decisions about the future and figure out a way to keep our sales from
slipping. In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the important things we
learned from that experience and from our 10-plus years running one of the busiest
pizzerias in the United States.
SAY YES TO SPECIAL REQUESTS
In an earlier article in this series (“Seizing the Upside of a Downturn, Part 2,” January-February 2017), Jeff Mease, owner of Pizza X in Bloomington, Indiana, noted there
are two types of customers: “deal customers” and “real customers.” Independently, after
many long discussions, my wife and I reached a similar conclusion.
Saying yes to special requests and negotiating a broader deal with your main
vendor can help bring success even in difficult economic times.
By Rick Drury | Photos provided by Precinct Pizza