Pizza Today - July 2016 - 18

with SCOTT WIENER

man on the street

Prevent Customer Complaints

Free appetizer samples can keep customers occupied during kitchen delays.

I

f not for Tom and Christian,
my first job waiting tables at
a suburban New Jersey chain
restaurant would have been absolute
Hell. My managers swooped in like
angels, saving my soul whenever
I made a mistake. They protected
me when I made errors and cooled
down devilish customers who had
no intention of backing down from
grievances. It's been a long time since
my last shift at that chain restaurant,
but I often think about how Tom or
Christian would handle situations
I observe from my perspective of a
professional pizza customer. I learned
from them that the key to maintaining customer satisfaction is summed
up by a single word: prevention. Independent pizzerias can save time and
money by learning how to anticipate
disasters before they become customer complaints.
A busy pizzeria is a double-edged

1 8 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / J U LY 2 0 1 6

sword. On one hand, you're making
money! On the other, you're turning away customers. I once visited a
pizzeria that had a particularly long
wait for a table. The manager kept
the queue engaged by serving pizza
samples every few minutes. Not
only did it encourage us to stay, it
also helped us plan our pizza order.
Another pizzeria that managed long
wait times installed heat lamps along
the front of their building to take care
of queuing guests in winter. Small
gestures like this make it easy for
me to endure a long wait that could
otherwise morph into a negative
experience.
I once visited a pizzeria that had a
huge kitchen backup thanks to a large
takeout order. What's good for the
night's sales was potentially disastrous in terms of complaint potential.
The manager brought free appetizer
samples to tables whose food was

excessively delayed. A free meatball
here and a breadstick there kept customers occupied while the kitchen
got their groove back. Preemptive
food strikes helped avoid customer
explosions at an extremely low cost.
If you're unsure about how to spot
potential disasters, start by making a
list of your most common customer
complaints. A brick-oven pizzeria
that frequently fields complaints
about "burned crust" might want to
consider having servers open their
spiel with a bit about why charred
crust is an intentional feature of this
pizza style. If a customer is violently
opposed, at least they'll let you know
and you'll have the opportunity to
bake the pie to their liking rather
than waste the time and money
on a re-fire. Explaining that your
Pizza Margherita doesn't have a lot
of cheese will help in the same way
and might even result in upselling
extra cheese to those who can't deal
with the idea of visible sauce on their
pizza. Setting customer expectations
is essential for neutralizing complications before they happen.
You'll never be able to prevent
every complaint, but anticipating
problems is a huge step toward avoiding them. Think about how you're
directing your disaster relief energy
and consider ways you can proactively
neutralize customer problems before
they happen. It will save you time,
money, energy and frustration so you
can concentrate on making killer
pizza for customers like me to rave
about. ■
SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott's
Pizza Tours in New York City and
SliceOutHunger.org.

By JOSH KEOWN


http://www.SliceOutHunger.org http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - July 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - July 2016

Pizza Today - July 2016
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
Trending Recipes
Destinations
Dough Doctor
Offering Wi-Fi to Customers
Sweeten Up Your Pie
Hot Toppings: Canadian Bacon
Hiring a Consultant
Pizza Today on the Road: Sauce Pizza & Wine, Phoenix, AZ
Pizza Today on the Road: Venezia’s NY Style Pizzeria, Phoenix, AZ
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Snapped
Pizza Today - July 2016 - CT1
Pizza Today - July 2016 - CT2
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Pizza Today - July 2016
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Cover2
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Commentary
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 4
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 5
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Contents
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 7
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 8
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 9
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Contributors
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 11
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 13
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Interact
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 15
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Conversation
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 17
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 19
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 21
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Trending Recipes
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 23
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Destinations
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 25
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Dough Doctor
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 27
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 28
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 29
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Offering Wi-Fi to Customers
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 31
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 32
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 33
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Sweeten Up Your Pie
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 35
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Hot Toppings: Canadian Bacon
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 37
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 38
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 39
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Hiring a Consultant
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 41
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 42
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 43
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Pizza Today on the Road: Sauce Pizza & Wine, Phoenix, AZ
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 45
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 46
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 47
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Pizza Today on the Road: Venezia’s NY Style Pizzeria, Phoenix, AZ
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 49
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 50
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 51
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 52
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 54
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 55
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 57
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 58
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 59
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 60
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 61
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 62
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 63
Pizza Today - July 2016 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 65
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 66
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 67
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 68
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 69
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 70
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 71
Pizza Today - July 2016 - 72
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Snapped
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Cover3
Pizza Today - July 2016 - Cover4
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