More than just a slice

Nov. 10, 2009
Pizza is generally thought of as a communal food, which can preclude lunch or dinner business from on-the-go singles. Wisconsin-based pizza franchise Toppers saw that dynamic as an opportunity: They rolled out their distinctly rectangular, single-serve Myza offering on Monday after several months of testing at corporate.
Scott Iversen, director of advertising and franchise development for Toppers, said the strategy partially grew out of bigger pizza chains' lack of attention to the singular eater. The new Myza item allows Toppers to exploit that gap and steal business from different sectors, including mom and pop by-the-slice shops and more. 
"We went into the MyZa strategy with the idea that we (mainly) wanted to steal QSR occasions at the lunch and dinner dayparts," Iversen said. "To do this we needed to create a personal size product that was comparable in price to what someone would spend at a QSR."
The price point does jive with fast food medians: one-topping Myzas are $4.99, while signature, house items run $6.99.
Immediate implications of single-serve advantages include eliminating a "no vote" in a group setting where members can't decide on a single pizza to share. That way, they may end up spending more cumulatively by choosing one of each of their own.
But Myzas are designed to drive trial as well. Toppers' signature items include The Potato Topper and Hangover Helper -- more obscure items that customers are more likely to try at a lower price point, Iversen said.
"The thing that's been really great about the introduction of the Myza is that people are ordering several of them at a time, increasing sales of the normal house pizzas in an ongoing way," he said. "Someone will try the mac and cheese pizza and say, next time we order as a family, let's get a larger size."
Toppers' attention to the individual customer seems to have paid off: The company claims to do about 40 percent higher sales than their competition when they first come to markets. In fact, part of Toppers' strategy is to steal market share from the bigger guys by connecting directly to their customers. Social media is also a big part of their branding strategy to that end: The company has 1,362 Facebook friends and 1,190 Twitter followers.
The company also launched a Facebook contest with the Myza rollout. Followers who post funny pictures of themselves with their Myza pizzas to Toppers' Facebook page become eligible for a $1,000 gift card.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability

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