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Franchise Mentor: CiCi’s Pizza Franchisee Greg Costley Says Hard Work and Knowing Your Customer is Key to Success (Part 2)

by Brian Bixler on January 9, 2013

in Franchise Mentor, Pizza Franchises

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This post is the second of two parts. To read Part 1, please click here.

Connecting with Your Community

When he was first starting out as a franchisee, Greg Costley would attend sporting events. He once attended a baseball game to hand out coupons. He agreed to allow the coaches to use the coupons to bring in their teams after a season-ending tournament. But on the way home, he began to worry. There were three teams with about a dozen kids on each team, and he had agreed to feed all of them for free.

Cici's Pizza Franchisee Greg Costley

Greg Costley, Cici’s Pizza Franchisee

However, subsequent events soon allayed his fears when each of the kids showed up with four or five paying adults with them. Food costs were barely impacted, he said, because the kids ate very little and were more interested in playing in the game room, which also brought additional revenue to the business.

“I do the same thing with awards in schools where kids eat free with the purchase of every buffet and drink for an adult,” he said.

His CiCi’s store created a “Citizen of the Month” award in schools, recognizing children of outstanding character, who show respect for others and are role models for fellow students, by treating them to pizza when they come into his store accompanied by an adult. He has created similar awards for students who achieve excellence in reading or maintain perfect attendance.

And, he rewards teachers with free food for the work that they do, often issuing coupons that are redeemable during the Christmas holidays or spring break when the teachers are away from school.

Costley’s contact with various school officials and teachers is invaluable to his business, he said. It has opened the door for him to win a contract with several school districts by becoming a pizza vendor for school lunches. Between his four stores, he delivers about 1,000 pizzas per day — that meet specific nutritional requirements — to about 25-30 schools.

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