December 1, 2020
Pizza Pro Gives Old-School Pizzeria Modern Advice
Lena’s Pizza, Subs & Wings has been a Fredonia staple since 1995, and while Matt Swank worked there in the late ‘90s, he didn’t purchase the business until 2018. Lena’s is known for legendary quality, so as the new owner, Matt was tasked with paying homage to that quality while figuring out how to modernize the business—especially in terms of operations. To help Matt bring his vision to life, we brought in the CEO of Pizza Lucé, JJ Haywood, who oversees nine pizza shop locations throughout Minnesota. Here’s the advice JJ supplied to help Lena’s Pizza streamline their business:
1) Ensure your workspace maximizes efficiency.
Lena’s makes pizza, sub sandwiches, and wings—all of which get prepped in one small kitchen where the staff was often bumping into one another. Through a virtual tour, JJ showed Matt how Pizza Lucé’s kitchens are organized efficiently to keep workflows separate. After some remodeling to Lena’s existing kitchen—with a little help from renovation icon Ty Pennington—Lena’s now has more space dedicated to each station, offering a separate work area for pizza, sub, and wing prep.
2) Create an efficient ordering process for customers and employees.
Matt adopted Lena’s long-standing method of taking orders over the phone and writing them down in a notebook, with a complicated color-coding system for employees to follow. Plus, Lena’s website didn’t have the capability to accept online orders (and an astounding 75% of Pizza Lucé’s orders are placed online). With guidance from JJ, Lena’s now has a point of sale system that allows orders to be taken efficiently—either online or over the phone—and prints out a ticket at each respective food prep station. This has allowed Matt and his team to take orders more efficiently and shorten the time it takes to deliver an order (which was a common customer frustration).
3) Create a simple, eye-catching menu.
Lena’s original pizza menu was busy and wordy, with no real rhyme or reason for its structure. JJ recommended Matt redesign the menu to prioritize best-selling items and provide more thorough, appealing descriptions of menu items. Based on the preferences of today’s customers, she also encouraged Matt to offer some healthier options, so Lena’s added gourmet salads to their menu. With design help from Deluxe, Lena’s menu is now visually appealing, highlights their specials, and creates a clear separation between categories like appetizers and pizzas.
While so many businesses have struggled during a global pandemic, Lena’s is one of the lucky few who have continued to see demand grow. Today, Lena’s has opened a second location in nearby Westfield and is working on opening its third in Dunkirk, just outside of Fredonia. Watch Lena’s full transformation in Season 5, episode 4 of the Small Business Revolution.