Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: June 2012

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Get a jump on back-to-school

Seven easy ways to start your back-to-school marketing

Seven easy ways to start your back-to-school marketing

 Partner up to cross-promote with a retailer that sells back-to-school supplies.


Yes, summer has just started, but it’s time to start making plans for your back-to-school marketing. September is generally a very busy time, especially for families who have just returned home from holidays, or are busy shopping, stocking up on new clothes, school supplies and other things. Pizza sales tend to spike during this period. As a pizza operator, putting together a smart marketing plan can help you nab a big share of this market.


1. Pair up with a retailer
Work together with a local retailer of kids’ clothes, office supplies or electronics to create a back-to-school promotion that will help families save on both a meal and on necessary items for back-to-school. For example, create a promotion that offers anyone who orders a large pizza a $10 coupon towards the retailer, or anyone who shops at the retailer a $5 coupon for your pizza.

2. Work the schools

Many schools run a pizza day fundraiser, so reach out to all the local junior and senior schools, daycares, and community centres, and offer your services. School boards are placing an increasing focus on getting kids to eat healthy, so plan to upsell the nutritious benefits of buying pizza from you.

3. Sell a student lunch special
Some parents of older children and teenagers prefer to give their kids lunch money instead of packing them a lunch every day, so entice these cash-rich students to eat lunch at your pizza operation by offering a student lunch special comprising a slice of pizza and a pop. Make sure you have plenty of pepperoni or plain cheese slices ready during the school lunch hours to ensure quick turnaround times.

4. Use social media to attract students
Attract high school and college students by engaging in social media and mobile texting. Today’s youth are glued to their smartphones, so send out deals and text blasts/messages an hour before the lunch bell, offer prizes for check-ins, and use Twitter to notify your followers of specials of the day.

5. Drop off coupon booklets for schools
Schools always send home an information package to each and every family at the beginning of the school year. Many of these packages include coupons for various activities, lessons, clubs or restaurants. Ask the school to include coupons for your pizza operation, and offer a donation in return.

6. Sponsor a sports team
The beginning of the school year is also the start of the season for many different sports teams. By sponsoring a team, your brand and logo is plastered all over the team’s jerseys, and your operation will be the home base for all after-game parties, team meetings and gatherings.

7. Help the school raise funds
Schools are always looking to raise funds for new books, art supplies, computers and other items. Work with a principal or teacher to come up with a promotion where $3 of every pizza ordered from your restaurant will be donated towards the purchase of a needed item. This will encourage families of the school to order pizza from you rather than your competitors, and give you an opportunity to win over some new customers.

With September comes school, routines and busy families. If you use the right strategies, it can bring more business to your restaurant, too.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit .

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