Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Marketing
Courting the schools

Schools can be a great source of revenue.


February 26, 2009
By Timothy Twydell

Topics

Courting the elementary school business is quite profitable and an excellent way to increase brand recognition. There are key strategies to take in approaching the school system and pizzerias should keep in mind the introduction of Ontario government legislation in 2008 that mandates healthy food in schools.

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Baska Nagalingam, owner and operator of Reginos Pizza in Thornhill, currently delivers to four local public schools on a biweekly basis.


Courting the elementary school business is quite profitable and an excellent way to increase brand recognition. There are key strategies to take in approaching the school system and pizzerias should keep in mind the introduction of Ontario government legislation in 2008 that mandates healthy food in schools.

Charlton Public School in Thornhill, Ont., orders Panago pizza for a variety of school functions and pizza days. Steven Kim, head of phys-ed for Charlton and the athletic representative for a number of schools in the western York region, says he orders pizza for every tournament.

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“Pizza can be a healthy choice, given the various options that are available. With tight budgets and limited funds, pizza was not only a healthy choice but also made sense fiscally.”

Kim considered a few options when researching what to feed his hungry student athletes. 

“I shopped around – subs, burgers – all of which were too pricy. As a cost-effective measure, pizza was the best possible product to feed the athletes. Per child the cost of pizza was minimal compared to other food items. 

Panago has set forth some key strategies through dedicating a section of their website to schools. The chain provides a downloadable order form and promote the healthy aspects of its food – pizzas are rennet free, the cheese is 2 per cent partly skimmed mozzarella and vegetarian pepperoni or chicken are menu options. Panago also offers freshly squeezed juice as an alternative to soft drinks.

Large pizza chains are not the only ones to tap into the school revenue stream. Baska Nagalingam is the owner and operator of Reginos Pizza & Wings in Thornhill. He currently delivers to four local public schools on a biweekly basis. Nagalingam used old-fashioned leg work to court the schools.  

“I offered free samples to all the schools and visited them all talking to the principals.  They tried them and liked it. I sell 60 individual pizzas to each school for lunch.” 

Nagalingham considers his school business an excellent marketing tool and has these words to assuage any fears that parents might have about their kids eating pizzas.

“We at Reginos are parents as well. I am very conscious of the food I serve at school.  I would not sell anything that my children could not eat.”

If you are a parent, providing this information could be helpful in building your relationships with the schools. Parents can also be a source of new business and may choose your product after learning about it. There are many benefits to having a good relationship with your community.
 
Help your local schools understand what health and cost benefits your products provide for their children. This proactive approach will help earn you more profit in the school market.