Author Topic: Any ideas in finding ways to get more foot traffic to my area at market  (Read 14327 times)

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Online norma427

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I have mentioned on the forum before that Root's Market is complicated in all the vendors stands it has, how large it is, how many exits doors there are and maybe other things in general comments about my small pizza stand at market.  I also posted a few months ago that I had asked to move to another stand in the busier part of market.  I found out after a few months that market management doesn't want to run water and drainage to that stand and they also said I would interfere with other food vendors that are in are #1.  Market management is aware that where I am located in area #4 is the slowest part of market.  They have tried to help somewhat by placing a sign up near the nearest main exit door to the back parking lot that just says pizza and other food vendors back in my area.  To complicate matters a little more there are two stands, one a restaurant, and one an outside food stand that both sell frozen pizzas.  Market management had wanted a fresh dough pizza stand back in the area I am in before I even started making pizza there to try and draw customers back to that area.  Another man that was going to start making fresh dough pizza ran out of money and could ever open his pizza stand.  That is how water and drainage was run to that stand that I eventually started.  When my late husband and I had our caramel popcorn stand at market we were in are #2 which is a much busier part of market and between my husbands parents, him and then me in total years all of us combined have been at market since 1928. I even asked market management if I purchase a shed or food truck if I could move outside, but management said there isn't any vacant room outside. 
 My small pizza stand is somewhat unique in that I am only open one day a week, am very small, mostly sell slices of pizza and only right now sell pizzas and drinks.  It is hard to make a decent profit when only selling those things.  I have stand rent to pay, electric, propane, the ingredients for my pizzas, liability insurance and also repairs when something breaks down at market.  I have talked to market management about my mostly selling slices and how many slices have to be sold to make a profit.  I told market management I donít know of any regular pizza businesses in our area that only sells pizza and soda.  I know of another market near me that does sell pizzas that the crusts are frozen, but they also sell fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and other foods.  That business at a local farmers market sells lots of whole pizzas including other foods, but they are much more highly visible than I am and also have a sit down area.  I saw different times when I visited that local farmers market that they have about 30 pizzas sitting there on racks waiting to go into the oven.  That farmers market isnít open the long hours that Rootís is either and is a Saturday market, but that market sure doesnít get the number of visitors or customers that Rootís market does.  That market is only open from about 8:00 AM to about 2:30 PM.
 All of the above doesnít leave much of any money for advertising.  I did try to hand out coupons and that didnít work, Rootís market on their facebook page have offered money off of slices different times by telling customers to mention to me that saw they saw that post on Rootís facebook page.  I only had one customer use that method to get money off a slice and one person that asked about it, but didnít purchase a slice.  I have a facebook page for my small pizza business, but that doesnít get more customers.  I have signs on the 8 bulletin boards at market about my pizza stand, but people donít look at those bulletin boards because they are loaded with other business cards and other signs.  I do have a photo and what I sell under standholders on Rootís Markets website, but there really isnít any kind of directory on Rootís website, or many standholders arenít listed under standholders.  People have mentioned to me about having someone go around the market with a sandwich board that advertises my stand, but that would also cost me more money.  Other people have told me to give out free slices by handing them out to people around market, but that also would cost me more money and I would have no idea if those people that got the free samples would be one time visitors or regular customers that come to market.  Rootís Market does get many people from other states because we are in Amish country.  Market also gets some buses, but not many.  Years ago many buses used to come to Rootís.  Another standholder lady back in my area talked about going to market management and seeing if each standholder back in our area could contribute some money to get some kind of sign made that shows what is back in our area and points back to our area  I donít know if she ever talked to market management though.    
 
Market management told me last week if I can come up with some good ideas to get more people back to our area they will try to implement some of them.  Market management said they have been trying for years to get more people back in that area.  I sure donít know what they tried, but it sure didnít work.  I have seen many standholders back in my area leave and go outside, or either leave the market forever, because they said there isnít enough customers back in that area.  I have talked to standholders that were originally back in my area and they told me that since they have moved they have much more business because they were then much more visible.  Many standholders have told me if I was in another area I would be busier too.  The pasta lady was kind enough to put two signs on her stand advertizing my pizzas.  She is very busy and does great at market. 
 
I am located in area #4 right next to the back parking lot along Lititz Rd. in almost the end of that building on the back side.  The first two photos are the only handout Root's has at market.  Although the areas at market or listed by numbers no standholders are listed and there is no directory of any kind of market.  Area #5 is the latest addition to market (about maybe 20 years ago) and before that addition was added more people went into the area I am in, but still not a lot of customers went into that area, especially in the back where I am because there are no other food vendors back there. That area was added before I started the pizza stand though.  I have talked to management many times about what I can do to get more foot traffic back in my areas so maybe more potential customers might see my pizza stand and really don't get much help from them.  Almost every week someone mentions to me that they didn't even know a fresh pizza stand was at market and I have been there for over 4 years.  Usually by the time they have found my pizza stand they have already eaten other foods from other vendors.  I do have regular customers, also people that are tourists, or people that might just wander into my area by chance.  Especially if the weather is raining all day more people will come back into my area, but really not that many.
 
Right up from my pizza stand there is a main exit door and most people crossing over from area #2  use that door and go straight across and exit right beside the sausage stand into the back parking lot.  That is located about right where the #4 is and about 4 stands up from where I am.  The people at market that do come down area #4 usually turn left there and go back up to area #3 without ever coming back to the back of area #4. 
 
To explain a little more, the biggest outside area where most people go in the summer, or when weather is nice is in front of area #1 and area #2.  Also outside the buildings number 6 and 9 also have many outside vendors.  It can be seen how big Root's Market is from their map. 
 
I took some photos on Tuesday morning before I started making pizzas at market to show how little foot traffic there is in my area compared to other areas of market.  It was really hot Tuesday when I took those photos and usually more people would have been at market if it wasn't so hot.  
 
1st two photos are the market handout.
3rd photo is back in my area.
4th photo is in the top part of area 3
5th photo is part of area 5
6th photo is between area 1 and 2
7th photo is almost the same photo showing people heading back to area 3
8th photo is more of area 3
9th photo is part of area 1
10 th  photo is the top part of area 1 leading into the office.  The Nature Center is the stand I would have liked to have.
11th photo is going down area 1 on the other side.
 
All the next photos are of outside and some of the stands and side buildings there, including only part of the Flea and Antique side of market.
 
Then the next photos are inside again.  When the Thermal Sash Window Systems picture is there that is the back part of area 4 on the opposite where I am located, then it back to where I am located again. 
 
Next two photos are where the signs are for my pizza and then where customers exit at the main exit door on my side of area 4.
 
The next photos are of market on a non-market day to show some of the buildings and some of the exit doors. 
 
Mike, (Essen1) has been trying to help me find ways to get more foot traffic to my area on facebook.
 
Sorry this is long-winded, but I am trying to explain and show photos and videos about market.  I can take more photos if anyone wants to see more.
 
Norma
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Online norma427

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Online norma427

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Norma
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Online norma427

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Norma
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Online norma427

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Norma
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Offline derricktung

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Norma,

From all of this, it sounds like location is the key problem.  I know it's more challenging due to the requirements that you need for the stand, but if you're losing money, it might be time to cut your losses and switch to another market or really force your hand to get into another lot within the market with higher foot traffic.  (Per your post, other vendors are experiencing more success after leaving area 4).

One thing that we do at our smaller market is we offer a vendor discount of $2 on a full pizza ($7-$10 pizzas).  It's a deep discount, but it helps pull vendors to come purchase from us.  On top of that, after the vendor picks up the pizza, they have to walk back through the market to get to their stall, and customers will see that they have pizza and often ask about where they got it from. 

I'm not sure I have any other ideas that you haven't already tried... you may just need to get your name out there more somehow?  Perhaps have the market do a "featured vendor of the week" of sorts which can help highlight some areas that have less foot traffic?  This would include a picture on a sign at entrances, or flyers, etc. 

As I think of more, I'll try to drop some ideas on this forum...

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These are videos I had posted before on the forum in 2010 of me going around at market to show what people were doing and who was at different locations at market.
 

 
Video of the Flea and Antique market across the street from Root's Market, that also operates on a Tuesday.
  In that video at the beginning a glimpse can be seen at the funnel cake stand I used to have.  I did make much better money at that stand, but it was only opened from April to October because of the weather.
This is also a video I posted on Youtube a long while ago when I entered a pizza contest.  Lol, was I ever nervous when I made that video and sure flubbed up talking.  :-D

Pizza Contest

   

I tried to get a better link on Google Maps to show a wider view of where Root's Market is located, but can't get a link to post.

Norma
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Offline mkevenson

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Norma, from your pics, that place looks packed. My initial thought on how to get more folks to you was, " sign them up to PM.com" so they could see for themselves what a great pizza maker you are. My second thought was, increase your time at the market . Obviously this option may or may not work. Perhaps a third option would be for you to deliver your pies to the crowd! ^^^


When I was doing comp BBQ, there was PC sales. You could sell samples to the guests from your area. Worked ok but as you, we were waiting for folks to "come by". Many times I would prepare a tray of samples and circulate throughout the crowd, giving tastes and once they had it in their mouth they wanted more. Might be an idea in your case.
Overall it looks like there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed and you have to get the pizza in their mouth! :o


Good luck.


Mark
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Norma,

From all of this, it sounds like location is the key problem.  I know it's more challenging due to the requirements that you need for the stand, but if you're losing money, it might be time to cut your losses and switch to another market or really force your hand to get into another lot within the market with higher foot traffic.  (Per your post, other vendors are experiencing more success after leaving area 4).

One thing that we do at our smaller market is we offer a vendor discount of $2 on a full pizza ($7-$10 pizzas).  It's a deep discount, but it helps pull vendors to come purchase from us.  On top of that, after the vendor picks up the pizza, they have to walk back through the market to get to their stall, and customers will see that they have pizza and often ask about where they got it from. 

I'm not sure I have any other ideas that you haven't already tried... you may just need to get your name out there more somehow?  Perhaps have the market do a "featured vendor of the week" of sorts which can help highlight some areas that have less foot traffic?  This would include a picture on a sign at entrances, or flyers, etc. 

As I think of more, I'll try to drop some ideas on this forum...

Derrick,

I also believe that the location I am in is the key problem.  I am not really losing money, but not making much either.  I am at the age where I really don't want to have to move to another market and if I don't get more business where I am.  I might think of selling my pizza stand in the next year if I don't do better.  This last Tuesday I had 20 dough balls leftover and sure don't know what I am going to do with them.  The 3 weeks before that I did good and used all of my dough balls for pizzas.  There are other pizza businesses that are interested in purchasing my pizza stand, but I sure don't know why.  I guess they think because Root's Market is so busy they would do well.  I would really hate to sell my pizza stand because I do love what I do there and I enjoy talking to customers.

If customers would purchase more whole pizzas I could see offering a bigger discount off of them.  Usually I don't sell a lot of whole pizzas.  The whole cheese pizzas I do sell are 10.00 for a 17 1/2Ē pizza and the Detroit 4-square cheese are 7.99.  I do have many vendors that purchase slices from me, but hardly ever do they purchase a whole pizza.  I have gotten some customers from people walking around market eating slices of my pizzas. 

I also think I need to get my name out there somehow, but really don't know how to do that without spending a lot of money.  I am willing to spend some money, but not tons of money. 

I wish the market would do a ďfeatured vendor of the weekĒ and highlight some areas that have less foot traffic.  Really Root's doesn't do a lot of advertising on their website, or their facebook page. 

I might send this link to this thread for the market master and management to look at.

Thanks for your help!

Norma
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This is another video I found of inside of Root's Market that I took.  In this video the Caramel Popcorn stand can be seen about 2:27 minutes into that video that my husband and I use to own.  It can be seen that part of market is busier than where I am located. 

These are also pizza signs on the Caramel Popcorn Stand that they were kind enough to let me place there.

These are the photos of the signs I made for the Pasta Lady's stand.

Norma
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Offline PizzaJerk

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Norma,
   I have taken notice of many of your posts and experiments on this forum and have a question regarding the experiments; do all of those experiments make it to market? I have noticed in my years of making pizza commercially that consistency is the key to making and keeping a good name and reputation for your product. If the product that you offer is always different in some way, it can guarantee an unsteady business flow.

I too experiment but it must be in very small incriments so as not to noticeably change the product from one day to the next. This includes dough formulation, sauce, cheese, and oven temperatures. Evolution is good but sudden change is not. Overall, people will find you if they are craving your product, no matter where you are located.

Note: I am by no means insinuating that you are doing anything wrong with your stand or product. Frankly, I have the utmost respect for you. I am hoping to give you food for thought and hopefully a small step to a solution so you can build more business for your market stand.

Best of luck Norma,
Anthony
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Offline deb415611

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Norma

I just sent a link to your facebook page to my friend who lives near Roots and asked her to like it.  Hopefully she will and that will get you a few more people.

Deb

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Hi Norma,

Could you put a larger version of your sandwich board sign on Lillitz rd pointing towards area 4? I would also consider giving samples. They don't have to be big. Maybe some kids could wander the area and pass them out and direct them to the stand with a coupon, flyer or you could give them out at the stand? I know when we did pasta at markets we always sold lots more when we sampled.

Also have you considered posting ads on Craigslist or other electronic billboards? You can put flyers on windshileds of cars in the parking lot in the hopes that when they come back next week they'll come see you.

Lastly, I would try to use what's against you for you. You have a limited supply of pizza once per week, so how do you turn that into exclusivity? I would feel comfortable having signage  or flyers that says something like "Best pizza in PA, limited supply one day only! Come to Roots market area 4!"

I'm just brainstorming some free/inexpensive things off the top of my head, hopefully they help some.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline waltertore

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Norma:  I am sorry to hear of your struggle.  I have found the key to success without spending money on advertising is promoting oneself.  Some people do this naturally and others cringe at it.  I am of the PT Barnum mold and coupled with my cause of working with developmentally delayed students brings us much free publicity and contracts.   You may have done all this already but here goes for free advertisement.  All it will cost you is your time.

contact local, regional, newspapers, radio, TV stations.  Make appts with them and bring your pizza for the meetings.  Talk about how you handmake everything with top ingredients, and how that is lacking(hopefully) in your area.  People need to be led to the plate so to speak.  In major food centers if one is starting out with a new twist or classic good stuff, food lovers will come and word will spread.  From what I have gathered from your posts is you don't live in a vibrant food cultural center.  I live in good food wasteland.  I have to bring my product to the masses and explain why it costs more than a little ceasars pizza.  I explain the art of dough and how it can't happen in the chain places.   This has been a great thing because there is no other person doing what we do and it has allowed me to rapidly move to a place of being well known and also brings my cause of training developmentally delayed people to the front page as well.  People that try our pies/baked goods/breads immediately say- this is like I had in NYC, Italy, France, or just say- this is good stuff.   I have helped/am helping several people start up small bagel/bread ventures here.  I love doing this because the more good food being made will just increase the awareness to good food and they learn about what great entry level workers my students are.  I see no competition because I do my own thing and IMO all artisan people do their own thing.  That is the beauty of handmade.  People are starting to learn here in Central Ohio that eating good food is a good thing.  Stuff out of cans, frozen, premade, etc, is still the norm but small cracks are appearing in the mantra.   

It is a small town atmosphere in our county and everyone gets to know everyone eventually if you step out of the norm.  I walk around in the summer in our village giving out pizza and our baked goods.  Most people insist on paying.  I also carry menus (that state our cause) and business cards.  I ride my bicycle to work barring snow/ice and when we have leftovers I pedal to homes I know like our stuff.  My mother, who came here  from Italy and settled in the Newark NJ area, tells me about the corner baker when she was growing up.  He would come house to house around 6am with bread deliveries (walked).  I got to experience some of this type of artisan service growing up and living in Brussels, Belgium.  I love carrying on this tradition. 

You might want to consider hiring a disabled person to do cleanup and prep.  If you contact the local state agency for developmentally delayed people you could most likely get a person to work and their salary paid through federal funding.  This would open up a win-win for you.  You would be bringing hope and meaning into someones life and this would interest the media in promoting your business.  I wish I lived closer because I would gladly help  you connect this up if it interests you. 

I have hit dead ends all my life with my music/approach to teaching special education but each one led to another new horizon, which currently is my most exciting to date.  The music industry told me for years no can spontaneously create their words/music everytime they play and record 300+cds a year.  Yet I was able to perform around the world for 25 years doing this without their support. I continue with my music strictly on my terms.  It has taught me a lot about doing just what interests me with art(and I consider pizza art).  Start blending into what the norm is for a pizza shop and you are easily forgotten and to make money will end up doing work instead of passion.   Public schools have also told me my current set up would never happen.  Let the passion guide you.  Sometimes a change of venue (I know you said you don't want to move) is just what is needed.  I have lived in 3 countries, 15 cities, searching for where I fit.  It works for a spell and then it is time to move on.  Everything ends and as I approach 60 I am learning it is a good thing because better stuff awaits.   If you really love making those pies it will all work out.  If there is anything I can do via the net or phone to connect you with the disabled scene let me know.   Walter
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 01:38:32 PM by waltertore »

Online norma427

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Norma, from your pics, that place looks packed. My initial thought on how to get more folks to you was, " sign them up to PM.com" so they could see for themselves what a great pizza maker you are. My second thought was, increase your time at the market . Obviously this option may or may not work. Perhaps a third option would be for you to deliver your pies to the crowd! ^^^


When I was doing comp BBQ, there was PC sales. You could sell samples to the guests from your area. Worked ok but as you, we were waiting for folks to "come by". Many times I would prepare a tray of samples and circulate throughout the crowd, giving tastes and once they had it in their mouth they wanted more. Might be an idea in your case.
Overall it looks like there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed and you have to get the pizza in their mouth! :o


Good luck.


Mark

Mark,

Those photos and videos don't even show how packed Root's can be.  Most of those photos and videos were taken when it was really hot outside.  Most of the time you can not get by other people without bumping into someone in those other areas.

I don't think many potential customers would be interested that I am here on the forum.  How would I increase my time at market?  I also wonder how I would deliver the pies to the crowds.  It takes Steve and me most of the day to do everything.  I don't think I can afford to hire someone to take the pizzas around and I don't know how the slices would be reheated then.  I would have to think it over how I could take pizzas out for people to try.

Thanks and I will consider your ideas!

Norma
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Online norma427

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Norma,
   I have taken notice of many of your posts and experiments on this forum and have a question regarding the experiments; do all of those experiments make it to market? I have noticed in my years of making pizza commercially that consistency is the key to making and keeping a good name and reputation for your product. If the product that you offer is always different in some way, it can guarantee an unsteady business flow.

I too experiment but it must be in very small incriments so as not to noticeably change the product from one day to the next. This includes dough formulation, sauce, cheese, and oven temperatures. Evolution is good but sudden change is not. Overall, people will find you if they are craving your product, no matter where you are located.

Note: I am by no means insinuating that you are doing anything wrong with your stand or product. Frankly, I have the utmost respect for you. I am hoping to give you food for thought and hopefully a small step to a solution so you can build more business for your market stand.

Best of luck Norma,
Anthony

Anthony,

Most of my experiments do not make it to market permanently.  I started with a basic Lehmann dough, went to the preferment Lehmann dough, now onto the boardwalk style of pizzas at market. I have kept my sauce the same, but now have changed my cheese since it suits the boardwalk style and the Detroit style of pizzas.  The dough and crust I am making now really isn't that different than a regular Lehmann dough pizza.  My oven temperatures are a little lower than before. 

I appreciate your ideas about what I do!  Thanks for the best of luck.

Norma
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Online norma427

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Norma

I just sent a link to your facebook page to my friend who lives near Roots and asked her to like it.  Hopefully she will and that will get you a few more people.

Deb

Deb,

Thanks so much!

Norma
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Online norma427

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Hi Norma,

Could you put a larger version of your sandwich board sign on Lillitz rd pointing towards area 4? I would also consider giving samples. They don't have to be big. Maybe some kids could wander the area and pass them out and direct them to the stand with a coupon, flyer or you could give them out at the stand? I know when we did pasta at markets we always sold lots more when we sampled.

Also have you considered posting ads on Craigslist or other electronic billboards? You can put flyers on windshileds of cars in the parking lot in the hopes that when they come back next week they'll come see you.

Lastly, I would try to use what's against you for you. You have a limited supply of pizza once per week, so how do you turn that into exclusivity? I would feel comfortable having signage  or flyers that says something like "Best pizza in PA, limited supply one day only! Come to Roots market area 4!"

I'm just brainstorming some free/inexpensive things off the top of my head, hopefully they help some.

Jeff,

The sign is supposed to be right on Lititz Rd. pointing towards area 4, but it is too heavy for me to lug out that far and back.  I have problems just taking it in and out where I do.  Sometimes the man that is next to me does that for me and he is a golf caddy the other parts of the week and he told me the sign is even too heavy for him to lug to Lititz Rd and he carries golf bags around all week.

I have to think over more about giving samples since you also mention the same thing as other members.  I haven't thought of  posting ads on Craigslist or other electronic billboards.  The idea of flyers on windshields sounds like a good one. 

I like your idea about what to say on signage or flyers.  I appreciate the free/or inexpensive ideas.

Norma
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