Marketing Tips for Breakfast in the Classroom

When it comes to marketing breakfast-in-the-classroom, we recommend listening to the experts—in this case, two Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom grant recipients. Today we’re going to share some of the simple, effective marketing strategies our BIC grantees swear by for breakfast-in-the-classroom success.

Incentivize It!

Contests, prizes, limited time offers, exclusive opportunities—get students excited about participating in breakfast-in-the-classroom with fun incentives. In Siloam Springs schools (Ark.) where he is the director, Jason Carter held a student art contest to create a new breakfast-in-the-classroom logo and used Walmart Foundation grant funds for the grand prize—a $1000 scholarship. Students narrowed the entries to three from which a winner was chosen by a five-person panel of school staff members.

“We also recognized the winner as well as the Walmart Foundation at our annual
high school scholarship ceremony,—the ceremony provides a great opportunity to recognize companies and partners and give them that extra recognition and a public ‘thank you.’”

Create a sense of urgency around a menu item by offering it “for a limited time only.” In Houston County schools (Ga.) getting students excited about a menu is as simple as putting an expiration date on its availability. Houston County dietitian Lauren Koff has a few other simple best practices for keeping kids interested in the school breakfast and lunch menus.

“Anything the kids feel is ‘special’ or ‘different’,” explained Koff. “We do bracket voting on chicken wing flavors during March Madness, we did an Italian Feast complete with checked tablecloths with a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs tie-in, we do breakfast for lunch during National School Breakfast Week.”

Visual Cues: Branding

Creating a dedicated breakfast-in-the-classroom logo helped Carter “tell a story” about his program.

“You’re controlling your brand, grabbing new families, and generating excitement,” said Carter. “My best tips are practical—use only up to four colors, commercial use fonts, and don’t forget the design has to work in color and in black-and-white.”

The staff in Houston County knew they would have to “dig deeper” into what students wanted—not just their likes and dislikes, but how, why, and even “where.” They brought in some outside help—Kern Halls and Ingenius Culinary Concepts—to conduct student surveys and paint a more specific picture of student preferences. At the same time, the school nutrition staff worked to create branding to set school breakfast apart.

“We had a logo contest, and worked with an online company on that,” said Koff. “We wanted to create something energetic and fun, so we gave them examples of logos we liked. We came up with “Revved” and it worked—the students love it, and the branding is so strong people think it is our own company.”

Other visual cues helped Houston County school nutrition staff create a dedicated breakfast “atmosphere,” like the SIPS smoothie carts (complete with their own branding), different staff uniforms, and using packaging and presentation with a “retail” feel.

“We want things to look and feel cohesive, but making breakfast in the classroom recognizable meant making it sort of ‘separate’,” said Koff. “Making things feel special and exclusive, it grabs the students’ interest and keeps things fresh.”

Looking for more tips on how to market breakfast-in-the-classroom? Find us on Facebook & Twitter, and don’t forget to visit the School Nutrition Foundation’s BIC Resource Center.

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