Building Community to Increase Sales
With more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S. and nearly as many internationally, Pizza Hut is the largest pizza company in the world. It is operated under a franchise system. Our client was a local Pizza Hut franchise group in North Florida that had 9 restaurants with a combined revenue of over $20M a year.
Our clients were facing the daunting challenge of trying to grow their market share for their restaurants located in the St. Augustine metropolitan area. It had become an increasingly diluted market, with competition encroaching rapidly. In addition to their Pizza Huts, there were four Domino’s, two Papa John’s, and more than two dozen other pizza establishments in an area with fewer than 25 thousand people. They wanted a unique, word-of-mouth campaign that would involve the community, bring new sales and help them stand out.
We analyzed the local population and identified an untapped segment to market to that was unique to the area–the large hearing-impaired community surrounding The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine. Through our research we learned that the hearing-impaired community was very tightly knit, and that local businesses did not typically go out of their way to be more accommodating toward them. We decided that making our clients‘ restaurants more appealing places to work for hearing-impaired people would organically lead to more sales from their community.
- We first developed and implemented a training program for hearing employees to communicate more effectively with hearing-impaired employees.
- We also developed systems to facilitate a hearing employee training a hearing-impaired person more effectively.
- We then started a campaign to attract more hearing-impaired people to apply for employment in the restaurants. This included working closely with the nearby school to promote available positions.
- Word spread quickly through the hearing-impaired community that our clients’ restaurants provided supportive opportunities for employment. This led to more hearing-impaired people and their friends visiting the restaurants.
Our new employment campaign had a positive impact on the local community of hearing-impaired and hearing employees and patrons alike. It also gave a great boost to Pizza Hut’s image locally, creating buzz around town that led to increased interest and sales. Prior to implementing the program, they had flat year over year sales growth, and afterward they had a 4% year over year increase in sales.