I Studied A Struggling Pizza Inn Chain’s Emails 4 Months: Avoid these Mistakes & Attract Recurring Customers (Screenshots)

I Studied A Struggling Pizza Inn Chain’s Emails 4 Months: Avoid these Mistakes & Attract Recurring Customers (Screenshots)

**See Disclaimer. As of this writing, Pizza Inn, Pie Five nor Rave Restaurant are clients. These are the types of ideas I send for free everyday. No “ill will” is being delivered with cheese on top to this company. Paid client work is never publicized in this manner. This is purely for learning purposes. These ideas were sent to these executives months ago with no response.


A few months, I was emailing back and forth with an executive at Pizza Inn (website) ( a subsidiary of Rave Restaurant Group and brother to the up-coming Pie Five chain).


Randy Gier

Randy Gier, President of the Rave Restaurant Group

I had reached out as I had heard the CEO, Randy Gier speak. Great, excitable, interesting man.


[One of my questions to him was if there is a “sibling” rivalry between Pizza Inn and Pie Five since they are both pizza chains. He got a kick out of that.]


Pizza Inn has been around for over 50 years and was (at one time) a leading Pizza chain especially in Dallas/Fort Worth.


More recently, they’ve seen profit struggles and restaurants closed down. After listening and enjoying Randy’s presentation, I reached out.


The executive mentioned they were having trouble with their drip email campaigns.

A drip email campaign is a series of emails sent out periodically that go together and the end result is the subscriber BUYS at the end of it (or even better at the beginning)


Being an absolute junkie for pizza, I sprung into action to help. Of course, I would need to SEE the emails. So, I signed up.

Over the next 4 months, Pizza Inn would send their emails, I would digest them (pun intended…) and collected them overtime to see what the “story” is.


An email chain should have a “story.” It builds on each other until at the end, your subscriber is pulling up to a Pizza Inn, grabbing a booth, and pulling apart (cheese still melting) a delicious slice. A slice not just for themselves but for the spouse and child they’ve brought. Pizza brings people together.


Can you tell I like pizza..


What I found with their emails, is there wasn’t a connection. It was a BLAST email, nothing personal about it. Nothing to say “I care about you and your family.”


This is what’s missing in many email campaigns and I saw that with Pizza Inn’s emails. I haven’t seen Pie Five’s, but would think it’s similar. Pie Five is a bit more “hip” in how pizza is served, so it’s emails should reflect that.


Why You Should Care:

You’re going to get an inside look at how an email could be bettered. You get a backstage pass so you can look at your own emails (and not have to pay a copywriter, like JC Copy, to do this)

Studied for months:

Pizza Inn

                                                    Look at the Subject Lines

I highlight some points in the image, but let’s write them out and go through them:

  • All the email headers look similar: “Hey, WE have a discount.” “Yo, come see ME”, “Wazzup, OUR pizza is good.” These are NOT talking about the customer’s needs, but your own.


  • An example of a great subject line might be: “You deserve THIS break, this is for you.” Something that says: “We want to help you, you’re busy.”

First Pizza Inn Email:

Pie Five

Triple Cheezy yumminess…pizza..

  • This is a blatant advertisement. Remember, our email was meant to be “PRIVATE” communications. We’ve allowed brands into them, but to keep them in there, we have to be receiving value.


  • This theme might work in an election year (it wasn’t when it was sent”, but that’s about it.


  • Idea for an email: “Choose to Give your Friend a Pizza Today. Surprise them. Just tell us who you’d like to surprise.” With this, you give value and you may gain a new customer.


  • Their 3x cheese crust is incredible (definitely try it), but you can’t make every email an ad. Just every so often. Try an email that says: “Shh, you like our 3x crust? Ok, here’s how you can make it at home” This is all about the customer.


  • Have a contest: “Compete with your friends: Who can finish a 3x cheese first?” Take a video and we’ll put it up on our website to make your friends jealous!

Second Pizza Inn Email:

Pizza Inn Email

Pizza Inn: Are you spooking your customers away?!

  • (This was a Halloween email)Everyone is competing on major holidays and weekends: Try going after weekdays. Be in Mom’s inbox on Wednesday night: “Rough soccer practice? Skip cooking, grab a pizza. Take the family time to hear your kids and they can hear you.”


  • Throw in some nostalgia and credibility: “We’re one of the original pizzerias in Dallas. Want to taste how pizza did in the 50’s?”

Third Pizza Inn Email:

Pizza Innthusiasts

Pizza Inthusiasts is pretty clever my Inn-ions

  • Coupons are great (at times). Many forget to bring them into a restaurant, what can you offer instead? If they like your Facebook page, they get $5 off. Or follow on Twitter.


  • Use descriptive copywriting, make their mouth water. “Our pizza has been around longer than Papa John’s and Domino’s. We don’t stretch ourselves thin by cutting corners. Instead, you get warm, buttered dough with melted mozzarella perfectly blended in with fresh spiced tomato sauce. The tomatoes are a gorgeous red when picked, and pressed into our signature sauce.”


  • Create content your target audience is waiting to see. Maybe just a nice note about something, thanking them for being long-time customers. It goes a long way.


Do you see what you can do with emails. You can transform them from something “so-so” and turn them into a “Yes, I want to read that.” Where they are nodding their heads and saying “I’m glad I read that.”


Don’t tiptoe and shout in my mailbox, provide value!


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