“With every drink order, you get a free pizza.”
It sounds crazy. Or at least backwards.
But that’s the deal at Crocodile Lounge in the Gramercy / East Village neighborhood of New York City. With every single drink order, you get a ticket for a free pizza. All the time.
It’s not just a story, it’s a story that spreads. Friends tell friends. Friends bring friends.
They check in on Foursquare.
Crocodile Lounge isn’t even active in social media themselves. They gave their fans a story that is easy to explain and fun to tell and the fans are carrying the message in person and online.
People are incredulous when you tell them about the free pizza per drink deal. “That’s impossible?! How do they make any money?”.
This only helps the story to spread, of course.
For you spreadsheet and ROI jockeys (I used to be one) here is my take on the short version of how it works (I’ll guess conservatively on the #’s):
The two guys who make pizzas all night probably make $10 / hour plus tips. Call it 10 hours per day * $10 / hour * two guys = $200.
Dough is cheap. The raw materials to make all the pizzas in a night probably costs about $200.
So, being conservative, the incremental cost of Crocodile offering free pizza is $400 per night.
A tap beer is about $5.
Cost to the bar = less than $1.
So at a profit of $4 per beer, once the free pizza gimmick brings in an incremental 100 drinks per night, it’s now making money, at a very high profit margin.
Plus all the word of mouth, social mentions and positive press.
Once you do the math, it’s no longer crazy. It’s not backwards. It’s brilliant.
[NB: They also have two skee ball lanes in back. Here's the throwdown. I can beat any of my readers in skee ball. If I lose, I'll buy you a pizza.]
What crazy and backwards idea can think up for your business? What story can you give your fans to tell?