I’m so sorry that my arrival gave you a fright, Mrs. Lovett—but after stumbling into your pie shop, I couldn’t help but offer up my services. You see, I’m a professional marketing consultant for local restaurants, and never in my life have I seen an establishment in such dire need of help. So please allow me to share some advice with you, the first and most important is that you simply need to stop singing a song about how terrible your pies are the second a prospective customer walks in.

I would have thought that would be obvious, but by the second chorus, I realized you weren’t aware that this is actually a major faux pas in the food service business. While the song itself was very good and quite catchy, the subject matter, detailing why the pies you’re trying to sell are, in fact, the worst in London, isn’t good marketing. Especially considering that you were squishing scurrying roaches throughout (albeit on beat with the song).

At first, I wondered if this was some sort of gimmick, like those diners that are deliberately rude to you. Or maybe it was just an innovative way to sell ale to wash them down? Perhaps, I thought, hyperbolically positioning your products as the worst pies in London would pique curiosity and dare people to brave them. But upon my first bite, I realized this was no gimmick, but rather brutal honesty. But brutal honesty has no place in marketing.

Broadcasting to anybody within earshot that your pies are disgusting, revolting, crusting, and molting—while truthful—is not good business. It’s no wonder you haven’t seen a customer for weeks. Instead, you should massage the truth more. Just look at Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir, for example. Have you heard their song? Now that’s a marketing campaign.

So, rather than describing your product as “lard and nothing more,” try using the phrase “flavorful shortening.” And instead of “greasy and gritty,” try “moist and flaky.”

Focus on stoking your customer’s appetite, not spoiling it with talk of popping pussies into pies. That being said, I did appreciate you making a point to clarify that you personally draw the line at cooking cats, although I did question if that was a moral stance or if you just haven’t been able to catch any yourself. In any case, that might be a good angle for you to focus on moving forward… perhaps a sign out front touting that your pies are zero percent feline. And while I couldn’t endorse a full-blown smear campaign against Mrs. Mooney’s Pie Shoppe, if things continue to decline that might be an avenue worth pursuing.

I understand your head’s a little vague, Mrs. Lovett, so I hope this advice can help. I understand that times are hard, especially with the price of meat what it is. But until these fundamental issues (like your ingredient shortage and the beggar woman soliciting prospective patrons outside) are resolved, hopefully, some good old-fashioned creative marketing can help improve matters. I think you’ll find that simply not singing a song about how disgusting your product is when somebody walks in will do wonders. And maybe look into renting out the room upstairs in the meantime to bring in some extra revenue?

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. All this work has made me hungry, and no, not for a meat pie. I’m thinking… Italian?