In the music world, Barry Gordy of Motown fame coined the phrase, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” While rooted in the
music industry, this philosophy resonates profoundly with the restaurant world, particularly for us in the pizzeria business. The essence of Gordy’s advice? Be direct, be clear and don’t dilly-dally.
In our efforts to be catchy or clever, to weave a story or create a unique brand voice, we often need to remember the power of simplicity and directness. I’ve seen this in my own experience – pizzas with straightforward, easily recognizable names consistently outperform those with clever but obscure references. Sure, there’s a time and place for creativity and inside jokes, but clarity should never be sacrificed for cleverness.
Take Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.” The chorus isn’t just near the beginning of the song; it is the beginning. They captured their audience in the first three seconds. In today’s saturated market, this approach is more relevant than ever. People’s attention spans are short. They’re constantly bombarded with choices. You need to grab them immediately to avoid losing them entirely.
A “Maui Waui Hawaiian Pie” works to brand it uniquely while still being obvious. However, “The Ailina,” a street in Kona, is too inside of a reference to ever outperform the previous example.
This concept extends beyond menu items to branding as a whole. Consider a pizzeria’s tagline. A vague or generic tagline like “Fun and More” or “Great Eats” doesn’t really say much. It’s forgettable. In contrast, a specific and descriptive tagline – “Pizzeria and Wine Bar,” for instance – instantly informs the customer about what to expect. It’s straightforward, it’s clear and it’s effective.
The power of direct messaging can’t be overstated. While nuance and creativity have their places, especially in areas like logo design and interior decor, clarity and directness win when it comes to communication – whether it’s your menu, your marketing, or your tagline.
In our industry, getting caught up in trying to be different or unique is easy. We want to stand out, to be memorable. But sometimes, in our quest for originality, we lose sight of what really matters – communicating effectively with our customers.
Remember, your customers are looking for an answer to a simple question: “What can I expect here?” The more directly and clearly you can answer that question, the more likely they are to walk through your doors. It’s about meeting them where they are, speaking their language, and delivering what they’re looking for without making them work for it.
So, as you think about your menu, branding and marketing strategy, take a page from Barry Gordy’s book. Don’t bore your customers with unnecessary fluff.
Get to the chorus. Look at these two versions of a description, the first with too much fluff.
These mozzarella sticks do the trick with our signature marinara topped with our special blend of Romano. You gotta try it, to anything else, fuggetabout it.
Just say the menu item with only what will resonate to convey the point effectively.
Lightly fried, made in-house mozzarella topped with signature marinara and Romano
Be clear, be direct, and watch as your message resonates with efficiency.
Mike Bausch is the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instagram: @mikeybausch