Technology and the Independent Pizzeria

I love independent pizzerias and never noticed the lack of their use of technology until I read this article. Now, I fear for the independent pizzeria’s life.

When you go to an independent, “Mom & Pop” establishment, you go there for the unique atmosphere and flavors you don’t get with the corporate big boys. Most likely, they still have a dine-in area with a few old tables and chairs, one shaker with parmesan and another with red pepper flakes on the table, a young high school kid walking around taking orders and cleaning tables, and an old TV in the corner tuned the local team’s game.

It’s a place to take the family for the less and less frequent family dinner.

But you see those types of establishments less and less because it’s all about delivery. It’s all about looking something up on your phone, pushing as few buttons as possible to order and pay, and then sitting back on your couch to wait for the doorbell.

Having the ability to produce apps and technology that allows consumers to do that is something the corporations have invested heavily in, and it’s paying off. Unfortunately, that means the independents are closing down at a record pace.

Uniqueness and creativity is slowly being stifled.

wood_stone_pizza_oven

Quick facts from the article:

In the last decade, independent pizzerias in America have lost 21 percent market share in terms of sales and 19 percent market share in terms of units to chains. Put more plainly, that’s about 7,800 restaurants that have closed-up shop.

Domino’s price per share has grown more than 3,000 percent since 2008, from $3.86 to $132 (as of March 2nd, 2016). Its market capitalization was less than $300 million then, to now $7.42 billion (a fantastic fortune was made accurately forecasting and betting on tech).

Digital and online ordering is growing 300 percent faster than dine-in ordering (again, this means billions of dollars in the U.S. alone will shift from dine-in to delivery in the years ahead).

51 percent of all mobile searches on Google are for restaurants, yet by some estimates as few as five percent of restaurants have mobile-compliant websites.

The problem goes deeper. Independent owners across the board are failing to use technology and social media.

Perhaps the most telling and frightening statistic from above is the last one. It signifies to me that restaurant business owners have failed to recognize the importance of and implement technology and social media.

As time goes on, the corporations are only going to use technology to create an even bigger gap between themselves and the independents.

Dominos Facts

Luckily there are a number of companies who are diligently working to put together technology and software that is useful and affordable for independent businesses.

Companies like Sethi Inc, based in Toronto specialize in building mobile apps and smartApps that can be customized specifically to your restaurant and business needs.

Another thing the big guys are doing right is utilizing social media marketing to build their brands.

Once again, they’ve invested the time and money into researching what their consumers are doing on social media and how consumers use social media. They then take that research to create unique social media marketing experiences that build their brand and attract customers.

It’s hard to do it all on your own, so find affordable help.

We all know about and use technology and social media for ourselves and it may seem outdated to say that business owners do not understand the importance of the two, but the statistics don’t lie.

Independent restaurant owners are falling behind in the game and are closing down at an alarming rate. Whether they have failed to use the technology because of cost or some other reason, they need to solve that problem quickly.

The problem is, independent owners can’t do it all. I’ve been an independent operator. I’ve spent 16-20 hours a day (or more) in my restaurant preparing for business and that’s what you need to be focusing on. That’s what you opened the business for in the first place.

Frustrated

If you’d like help on finding a company to work with you on developing an app for your restaurant or business, or if you’d like help with planning, implementing, and maintaining a social media marketing strategy contact me now at Serviceable.

If you have any thoughts to add or recommendations on app and software developers, please leave a comment.

Follow me at Serviceable for news, tips, and advice on the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Please like and share this important article with your colleagues and friends.

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