Student Awards

Hi! I’m new here, so please be gentle :slight_smile:

I’m starting a new marketing/PR program this fall with several elementary schools in my area. What I’m doing is making up “Student Achievement Award” certificates for teachers to give out to students in their classes. Each teacher will be able to give out 5 certificates each month at their discretion for whatever reason they wish - bringing up grades in a certain subject, helping out, not getting sent to the office for 2 straight weeks, whatever. The student brings the Certificate in to my shop and gets a 12" one topping pizza free. We sign the certificate when they bring it in (that way we know if they’re trying to use it twice).

The only caveat I’m giving to the teachers is that I’d like to see them spread the awards around a bit so that pretty much all their kids get one over the course of the year. The city I’m in is big enough that very few parents will let their children come to my shop alone, I’m counting on the whole family coming in to eat, rather than just giving out the free pie with no additional sale. I’m naturally also hoping to turn these people into regular customers. Being an indy in a large market, I can’t afford the media costs of most traditional advertising; I use direct mail, but the response there is limited, and I’m afraid that it’s usually only effective on the same people (most goes straight into the trash).

Between the schools I’m working with, about 400 of these certificates will be going out each month, so I’m counting on a big return - hopefully at least half will come in with the whole family & spend $20+ while they’re in.

My question is, has anyone else here done anything similar, and what can I do to make this promotion as effective as possible? I thought of just going with perfect attendance awards, but the same kids usually get those over and over, I wanted to do something to spread it around (better for me, too). I’d like to see this add at least $10,000 per month to my sales by the end of this school year between the awards, additional customers, and extra business from the schools themselves. Is this realistic, overly optimistic, or (hopefully) conservative?

Another thing I’m getting started with is a coupon book that I’ve talked with a couple of groups at a nearby high school. I would basically have the book put together for them with about 20 or so different coupons. They sell the books for $15 each. One of the coupons is for a free 16" one topping pizza (no other purchase necessary) - that, with tax, is basically worth $15 right there. The group pays me back $4 for each sold book to cover printing and the cost of that free 16". Any unsold books that they return to me I will charge only $1.50 to cover printing costs.

Has anyone done anything like this? How many should I expect a group of 50 kids to sell? 100 kids? What offers should I make? I want the rest of the coupons after that first free one to be something I will make a profit on … I have a good handle on what my food costs are, what I’d like are some ideas for specific offers. Aside from pizza, we offer Calzones, Stromboli, Salads, several Pastas, Salads, and Desserts. I’m thinking of combining some of these for at least a few of the coupons (ex Stromboli, Big Salad, 2 Liter soda, and 4 small cannolis for $17.99 - about $4.50 off regular price).

Any help on either of these would be fantastic!!!

We have done this several times over the past years.

Here is what I have found-

Go directly to the school to do this. Talking in person with the principal/secretaries is a great way to keep things hands on instead of mailing and going into a pile with other “junk” I usually bring in a certificate for a free lunch for them.

Second, some posters may not agree with me on this but my philosophy is the more certificates you get back the better. It is rare you will get someone coming in and order water and the free pizza. It will happen but very very rare. Soooooo…why not make them in abundance? It think your return numbers are way tooooo high. We did attentdance awards for summer school and only saw about 15% return.

Back in the day I did like you did…a specific certificate. Now I have a universal one they fill in the students name and what it is for. I also give them the freedom of making copies. My hope and fear was to get thousands back just doesn’t happen and if it did fine. We opened our new location and used the universal one last year and it did way better than the specific ones did the first couple of years. Both stores now use the universal one.

Another idea is birthday pizzas. At my daughter’s school they put a note on the lockers wishing the student a happy b day. I offered to print the cards with a free pizza offer. It has worked well for us.

All our offers are dine in only.

If you have kids in the school’s personally hook up with their teacher and she in turn talks about it with the other teachers. (Again the freedom to make their own copies works out well here because she can pass the copies along)

I know each town and school is different but this is what has worked for us.

As for the coupon book…sound like an ok idea but I would donate the books and make it buy one get one. I think pin pointing the reasons for these types of promotions helps us keep focused. For me it was to bring traffic in. An investment…bring em in and bring em back!

Good luck to ya and welcome to the board…

Thanks for the input - I already went in this past May to talk directly with the principals at the schools I’ve got lined up, so everything’s already set there. Since the certificate is at the teacher’s discretion, it’s going to be set up as kind of a universal certificate anyway, so I’m good there.

Kind of hoping for a higher return than what you experienced … maybe I’ll see if there’s a way that I can go in & address the student body to get the kids fired up for the program this Fall (I had to do this type of thing in my previous life as a DM for a small chain, so I’m not too scared to do it).

Great idea on the B-day cards! What a great way to do a birthday club type deal with a lot less work to set up!

Thanks again - helps me focus a little more on what I’ve got to do to make this as big as possible - even a 15% return wouldn’t be bad, especially if I can turn them into regular customers.

Hopefully our experienc is not normal, but I’ll share with you anyway - we had the worst-case scenerio.

We handed out about 500 “A” Student free small pizza certificates. Worked with the schools, very positive feedback, they were very excited and appreciative. They handed them out, we worked with elementary, middle and high school.

Had a return of less than 5% and NOT ONE SINGLE sale! Every one came in for their free pizza and left without so much as buying a soda to go with it. One parent even asked if they could pay the $3 difference and upgrade to a large to feed the whole family. JEEZ LOUISE! We will never again try a promo like that!

That’s one of the things I was a bit worried about - that’s why we’re doing dine in only on them. Counting on the fact that most kids can’t come in by themselves, and one 12" pizza won’t be enough to feed the whole crew. I’ll update everyone later in the year when I get an idea of how it’s going.

Mainly doing this because Pizza Hut is so entrenched in schools with their “bookreader program” that I figure it must have some pretty significant value to do this type of promo. Also, I guess I’m confident enough in my product & service that I think giving samples is my best form of advertising. As an old Mktg professor of mine once said - “If you have a poor product, advertise; if you have a great product, give samples.”

We do a Student of the week coupon for a free sub. The school prints them and distributes them so it cost me nothing to do. My only cost is for the sub but about 80% of the people buy something. That is the gravy the best thing is the word of mouth advertising I get from it you cant always measure things by what you make off of them you have to look at the big picture as well. For me the big picture is all the schools use me for the hot lunch program. so even if I dont make much off the free subs I make it somewhere else.