WhitewblackbkglogoThis is the third in a multi-part series that shows you step-by-step how to plan, start, and grow your pizzeria business

One of the keys to success in the pizzeria business is to differentiate your company from your competitors. That starts with defining your mission and brand.

Define your mission

Ask yourself: “Why do I exist?” The answer to that question is your mission. Think about who you serve, how you serve them, what makes you different and better, and why you do what you do. Your company mission might not be the same as your personal mission, but it was for me. I wanted to create awareness of Detroit Style Pizza, create an authentic version of my own, and teach its history to others. Your mission has to be something you can believe in, as it will be the driving force behind your business. It will be your purpose, and it will be what you show to the public. Of course, everyone is in business to make money, but that’s not a mission your customers can connect with. It has to be something bigger than that, something greater than your own personal desires. Once you’ve answered your reason, or reasons, to exist, you can consolidate it into a single mission statement. Detroit Style Pizza Co.’s mission statement is “to increase awareness of Detroit Style Pizza by serving an authentic Detroit Style Pizza, sharing its history, educating others, and expanding our business while providing memories and opportunities.”

Define your brand

Your mission shapes your brand, but branding is more than a statement: it’s the entire customer experience, employee culture, and visual and textual representations of your business. Your brand is not your logo, though your logo is part of your brand. Your brand is what the public is most exposed to, and it represents not only your mission but your values, philosophy, and goals. It also represents your customers; a great brand seeks solidarity with its fans. At Detroit Style Pizza Co., we incorporate branding into everything we do. Logos and marketing collateral feature our logo, of course, but we go beyond that. For example, we:

  • Feature Detroit-inspired artwork inside our pizzerias
  • Name many of our pizzas after Detroit themes
  • Hire employees who share our company values
  • Teach our employees the history and culinary importance of Detroit Style Pizza, and how to pull those in to the customer experience
  • Train our employees to bake only authentic Detroit Style Pizza
  • Support Detroit-based and Michigan-based companies by selling their products in our pizzerias (for example, we sell Faygo pop, which is made in Detroit)
  • Make sure our restaurant is clean and diner-friendly at all times
  • Focus on culture and customer experience above all

Much of the work in creating our brand goes on behind the scenes; ultimately, we want our customers leaving happy and excited to return. You want the same for your pizzeria, so it’s important to define what your brand means to your customers and deliver a customer experience that fulfills that promise. When you have a well-defined mission and brand, it’s easy to differentiate yourself from competitors and grab your slice of the market – hopefully, it’s more than your fair share.