While Americans across the country continue to wonder when winter will finally give way to spring, the owners of Spin! Neapolitan Pizza in the Kansas City, Mo., area could be forgiven for remembering the blizzards of 2011 fondly.
Although the upscale-casual pizzeria chain closed its doors Jan. 10 and Feb. 1 of this year after storms dumped enough snow to shut down roads and businesses in Kansas City, it managed to make up for the lost sales by offering members of its e-mail club a Crummy Weather Voucher. The coupon, distributed to Spin’s 40,000-plus club members, rewarded diners who braved the elements with 20-percent off a meal.
Spin also made the offer available to anybody who visited the chain’s Facebook or Twitter pages.
The brand’s owners said the expected positive public relations made up for the sales losses the discount created on top of the lost revenue from the one-day closures.
“A big part of it was that we didn’t know what would happen or whether people would come if we opened the next day,” said co-owner Gail Lozoff. “But we got lots of good will because people really hate it when the weather’s like that.”
Spin got so much good will, in fact, that sales for the Wednesday and Thursday on which its restaurants honored the coupon rose 30 percent compared with the same days a year earlier. The increased traffic and sales continued through the weekend, Lozoff added.
The restaurant owners closed their locations during the worst of the snowstorms to ensure their staff members got home safely, and while the promotion was meant to drive traffic, the owners didn’t schedule more servers than was necessary.
“We didn’t over-staff,” Lozoff said. “We did this once last year, and we knew we’d get a big response to it, so we staffed just enough. Our wait times were a little longer than usual, but people were certainly understanding. The whole vibe of the restaurant changed from a restaurant to a party. Kansas City is an easy place to do this kind of stuff, because most people’s travel times on their commute aren’t that big.”
In its e-mail blast and Facebook and Twitter posts, Spin encouraged guests to share the Crummy Weather Voucher with friends and family, but the restaurant owners spread the offer themselves as well.
“We ended up discounting every one that came in,” Lozoff said. “Some came with a printed coupon and others showed us their e-mail on their phones, and then the people in line without either said, ‘Hey, what about me?’ We rely a lot on social media to get to new customers, so this was great content to pass on. We got a lot of new customers out of it.”
Spin opened the first of its four restaurants in Greater Kansas City in 2005. The locations average between 3,300 and 4,000 square feet, with 100 seats and a bar area. The average check totals about $10 per person at lunch and $16 per person at dinner, Lozoff said.
Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].