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Back to School

As a kid I looked at the mid-August calendar with dread … summer was almost over! School starts soon … AAAHHH. Summer has almost ended. As an adult, with a middle-schooler, I say, YYIIPPE, school is almost back in session. It might be an upsetting fact of life for your kids and mine, but it can be a good thing for pizzeria operators.  

How can Back to School, build revenue? Here are some ideas:

Lunch Program

Every pizza operator has seen school lunch programs, lot’s of volume, little profit but great PR. All true but what if the profit was part of the package. Many schools focus on better nutrition, be it natural, organic, gluten-free or veggie.

The opportunity: You can create a separate menu offer for “healthier alternatives” with increased margins. Additionally, consider turning your cafeteria relationship into catering sales for the faculty or evening events where price may be less sensitive. Use your online order system and email campaign to promote.

Sports Teams

The classic way to connect with schools is through sports teams. Sponsor the football, baseball or soccer team and provide team jerseys and after-parties. Since this is classic, it also means it is over-used and likely competitive with other pizzerias in town.

The opportunity: Get creative and back the chess or computer team. What about the cheerleaders? This is a big sport these days that gets less attention than their on-the-field counterparts. Use new technologies, like Twitter, to report the scoreboard for parents stuck at work. For example, “Lions 32 Giants 28 third period, 18 minutes to go in the game. The pizza party follows at Joey’s Pizza, 123 Main St.” (Only 107 Characters, Twitter allows 140)

Fund Raisers

Schools desperately need money for books, pencils and art supplies; most teachers dig into their own pocket for these items.

The opportunity:  Connect with a teacher (maybe one of your own children or niece, or your assistant manager’s child) and brainstorm a specific need and a program for their class. “Buy a Gift Certificate and Buy our class a new World Map”. The teacher can coordinate so that each family purchases a $25 meal certificate for $15 or $20 with the additional $5-10 donated to the class. This will create 20-30 families coming to your restaurant or ordering for delivery; many will be new customers.

Sponsor a Classroom

The opportunity: Sponsor Ms. Walker’s 3rd Grade class and every order earns $3.00 in Office Depot Rewards Points. You could raise a few hundred a year and make Ms. Walker (and you) very happy.

The point is, there are many creative, new ways to generate goodwill and profits by forming a relationship with a school in the neighborhood. As your success grows, you can increase the number of classes, teams, events etc. You will be going good and doing well at the same time.

Wishing you success in pizza – Ed

Ed Zimmerman is a pizza industry veteran and President of Pizza.com, the number 1 web portal that connects consumers to pizzerias. His almost four decades of foodservice experience includes food manufacturing and distribution leadership, food industry technology, marketing services and restaurant and grocery operations management.

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Ed Zimmerman
Ed Zimmerman is a pizza industry veteran and President of The Food Connector. His almost four decades of foodservice experience includes food manufacturing and distribution leadership, food industry technology, marketing services and restaurant and grocery operations management.
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