As the summer wanes, parents and children shift their thoughts to returning to school; they also turn away from hot dogs and barbecues and toward the comfort and convenience of a pizza pie.
It’s not that people don’t eat pizza during the summer months, but the combination of hot weather and the opportunity to cook outdoors open up more social options. Let’s face it, summer is the time to enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, barbecued chicken and ribs. We head outdoors to cook on the grill and party at the beach or park.
When the kids hit the books again in the fall, a delicious hot pizza becomes a natural option for family dinner and quick snacks.
Savvy pizza operators know this and the good ones prepare for the renewed interest in their menus. With schools getting ready for the new year, pizza operators can capitalize on school lunch promotions, sports team parties, fundraisers and sponsorship. Pizza and schools go together like…pepperoni and pizza…and by teaming up, they create a win-win situation.
Use your website, online ordering system and email campaign to promote a lunch program with your local schools – how about “Pizza Fridays”. Additionally, approach the school to cater their faculty and evening events. Provide the school with discount coupons to drive business to your establishment. Staying connected to the school makes you a valuable part of the community.
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. Put a store banner in the school gym or on the soccer/football field. Go beyond the primary sports teams and support the chess club and the cheerleaders. Help fund the program by giving back a percentage to the team or the library. Use Twitter to provide score updates from games for parents stuck at work. “Lions 32 Giants 28 third period, 18 minutes in the game, the pizza party follows at Joey’s Pizza, 123 Main St.” (Only 92 of 140 characters.)
Schools desperately need money for books, pencils and art supplies; most teachers dig into their own pocket for these extras. Be creative by connecting with a teacher to brainstorm a specific need and a program for his/her class. For example, “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 $20 with the additional $5 donated to the class. This will direct 20-30 families to your restaurant or ordering for delivery; many will be new customers.
Summertime is hot but you can be the coolest and most successful pizza parlor on the block by going back to school.