Pizza for Achievers Good grades earn good food for kids in Cincinnati (and other cities with LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria locations). For more than 20 years, LaRosa’s has offered a student reward program for grades K-8. The program even has its own website at pizzachievement.com. Teachers and school administrators can request “Pizzachievement” certificates, worth one small one-topping pizza or one calzone, and award them to deserving students. Kids can win the certificates for everything from good grades and good attendance to good deeds and plain, old-fashioned kindness.
FATHER DOESN’T ALWAYS KNOW BEST LaRosa started selling pizza—made with his aunt’s recipe—at a parish festival in the summer of 1954. It was such a hit that he opened his own pizzeria, despite his Sicilian father’s skeptical warning: “You gonna sell pizza? Med-i-cans never gonna buy pizza from you.” Fortunately, father doesn’t always know best. Thanks to the quality of his pies and its founder’s entrepreneurial drive, LaRosa’s grew and grew, becoming a Cincinnati landmark. It was one of the first pizzerias in the Greater Cincinnati area to offer home and business delivery service—anything on the menu delivered anywhere in the city, just by calling one number. A smartphone app with online ordering is a key component of LaRosa’s marketing strategy.
PMQ Pizza Magazine The Pizza Industry’s Business Monthly
LaRosa’s continues to evolve with the times. The company now has its own smartphone app and offers online ordering and digital coupons through its website, which ranks No. 48 on PMQ’s Top 100 Pizzeria Websites list. Additionally, LaRosa’s Strikeouts for Slices summer promotion has endeared the company to baseball fans throughout the area. Whenever Cincinnati Reds’ pitchers strike out 11 or more batters, everyone at the ballpark can turn in a ticket stub to receive a free small, one-topping pizza. LaRosa’s stores have given away hundreds of thousands of pies, with a retail value of more than $1 million, over the past several years, but company executives say the positive publicity from the promo is worth it. Another promotion, the Buddy Card, is a popular neighborhood fundraiser. With one Buddy Card, the holder can buy any large pizza and get a second large cheese pie for free. Nonprofits, civic organizations, sports teams and school groups sell the cards for $10 and can keep $5 from each one sold. Additionally, the company solicits customer feedback on its website with the “LaRosa’s Listens” section, which lets customers rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 10 and leave comments. Meanwhile, LaRosa himself has become a well-known fixture around the city. He visits local schools—including Roger Bacon High School, his alma mater—to talk to kids about starting a business and inspire them with his entrepreneurial spirit. To drive his message home, he needed something tactile, something the kids could take home with them. LaRosa’s partnered with Osborn Coin, a Cincinnati mint that specializes in custom designs. LaRosa’s commemorative coin, slightly larger than a quarter, bears the LaRosa’s logo on the front and the St. Jerome motto