Opinion wanted

I’m currently looking into opening my own store. I will be located across the street from an open campus high school with about 1100 students. my question is I’m not sure if I should go 100% pizza only or do pizza by the slice with subs and miscellaneous stuff such as chips candy soda. There are no other stores in the area that sell this kind of food only a coffee shop that sells espresso. And as of now the administration tells me that most kids don’t go out for lunch because they don’t have a car. Does this sound like good idea? :wink:

you kiddin me? they walk or take the bus just to go eat outside. Trust me, if they know about your place and if you have school specials you will be swarmed. I know because i know more than 10 locations near schools that i have been to more than regularly. Subs and pizza might make it complicated for your operations but if you can do it, go ahead. The more snacks, chips and stuff you have the more you will upsell on each order. And yes you should have slices available for purchase because no one is going to buy a box if they are student at school hours.

We have never had much luck with pizza by the slice. We switched to individual pizzas for our lunch specials.

You need to remember you are marketing to more than just these high school kids. You don’t want to fill up a dining room with kids spending 3 bucks on a slice and soda or a candy bar and soda.

An individual pizza and soda can get you about 6 bucks. You can also do medium’s they can share. That way you have space for a more dependable/predictable lunch crowd from local businesses who also happen to have money to spend.

I think it is a great idea to offer more than just pizza. Look at your maketable…you can make all kinds of great subs/sandwiches with just adding bread and a bag of chips.

As for the candy…not worth the bother. How much will you really sell and what would the profit be compared to the hassle.

Good luck to ya.


good thing about being near a school is that on your quiet times which is normally lunch times during weekdays you will be busy. and in the afternoon you can cater to the households in the area. you will be busy all day. just make sure people know your opening up and get the word around (good marketing stand point).

what do you guys think about doughnuts? and maybe someday espresso the building is a decent size

I am 3 blocks from a school that was open campus when I opened. The thing you NEED to know is there is a very limited window of time to serve these kids. You MUST have enough slices ready for when they come in the door becaause they will not wait. In a 15 minute window I would usually sell 60 to 100 slices, 40 to 60 drinks and could probably have sold chips and chocolate bars (but there are restrictions in my lease). The biggest thing is BE READY.

I know I drone on about these sorts of things, and I do apologize up front. Lunch is VERY, VERY lucrative for some of the people I have talked with. Some it is a pain in the neck with little return.

It sounds like you need one of them “business plans” I’ve heard talked about. Really, the decisions you are asking us about, we can give input for . . . but only you will know you area, market and what you want to do with the business. Develop a written business plan that identifies the target market and what they potential products are to sell to the identified target. you will likely need to research what is and is not selling in your area, what the financial info is for your people, and the like. Once you have written out a description of what your business will look like, the questions like this are easier to filter through.

In general, I (in my limited experience) recommend a varied menu in order to attract more interest and more repeat business (and offer more up-sell opportunities). The fewer people in your target market . . . the more variation might be needed. Our pizzeria has LOTS of item types for our 3000 or so people in our delivery area. We started marketing county-wide to build more traffic. The variation is attractive to people traveling 20 minutes with a family with varied tastes. OOOPS! There I go assuming. Are you looking at delivery, carry-out, dine in? Menu and styles of food can vary on business model.

All the answers will flow/filter through your business plan.

To add on to Nicks point…Your business model for the high school lunch crowd may be very different from you evening business model.

You high school lunch will be all about speed…slices, salads, sandwiches ready to go. Probably include the drink in your price, otherwise everyone will ask for a cup for water and take a soda anyway. Keep in mind 25% of the kids will come in with no intention of buying anything, just to sit with their friends. Likewise, I would expect the high school crowd will probably drive away the business crowd, but that may not be a problem for you.

Then at evening, your business may evolve into something completely different. This is where you’ll analyze your market opportunities based on a different target market. Probably everything you do at lunch will not work at night, unless you have a lot of pedestrian traffic.

Think about those two distinct businesses, and then think about specific questions about each. I’m sure a search of this forum will answer most of them.

good luck. we all like to hear how business plans develop

We are directly across from a high school and the kids have lunch from 12:18 to 1:01pm. They are at the shop at 12:20 and most of them are gone by 12:50pm. We have cheese and pepperoni slices ONLY for them. We offer canned beverages as well. We make 18-20 18" pies and cut them in 8’s. If they want something different (whole pies, wings etc) they know to call on their break between classes and that’s around 11:30am. They tell us they’ll pick it up at lunch time. The can go to the front of the line and pick it up. Most of the time, we have to make one or two more pies. My husband is good at knowing how to judge the line. You’re right though - YOU HAVE TO BE READY FOR THEM BECAUSE THEY WON’T WAIT! Because we are mainly pick-up, we only have a few tables but they usually go outside and sit on the benches out front.

The only draw back is that once school is out for the summer, lunch time slows down drastically! I have talked to people who say they won’t come in when the kids are there because they don’t want to deal with them. I’m trying very hard to get our regulars in during the summer but it’s very hard.

My suggestion is to not offer to many varieties (slices, specials, sandwiches etc.) because the kids don’t have much time and it would make things more difficult for both your staff and the kids. Make it as easy as possible for both of you! Good luck!

this is what one of a pizza stores i know did. they made a deal with the school so that the school would buy pizza from them directly (large) and sell at their cafeteria (slices). That way they kept their regulars at the store while deliver A LOT of pizzas to the school. if you can do this, the best of luck to you :).

This is what i am now doing. As my previous post indicated I used to have the students in when the school was open campus. I now do 3 times the lunch business as the business people now do not have to fight the wave of students.

If it hasn’t been covered yet…you need to contact the school and make sure that the plan is to still have open campus lunches next year.

Many high schools are moving to closed campuses.

It would totally stink to be expecting a busy lunch, base your business mostly on the high school crowd, and find that there will not be any of your target customers after all.

Hi again. We have tried to get our pizzas at the school but because of the “No Child Left Behind” program, the school doesn’t allow outside food items. We are having a hard tme even getting into doing club events. I think it’s more political than it has to be - but that’s just my opinion!

Also, you have to make sure you have the school lunch schedule as well. There are days when our school gets out for lunch a half hour earlier than normal. There are half days when they leave right at lunch, finals and testings also change our lunch schedule.