DoubleDave's Pizzaworks Mesa (in Austin, TX) is passing on their love of pizza-making and entrepreneurship to local Kindergarten through High School students. From "How To Make a Pizza" to the "Principles of Business: Entrepreneurship and Franchising", DoubleDave's is passing on valuable information to future dough sling'rs and helping out local teachers in the process. We talked to Owner (and Pizza Professor) Joey Bramwell to find out more about the program:
What is Pizza School, and why did you start the program?
Pizza School is an education initiative with area schools in which classes come into our restaurant to learn various aspects of running a small business. We think learning should be fun, and we believe participating in the education of our community children by showing them the joy of DoubleDave's and the pizza industry is WELL worth our time.
What do you feel is the most important aspect of programs like this?
Teaching young people about the ins and outs of running a small business and the value of using the highest quality products.
You hold Pizza School classes for everyone from kindergarten to High School students. How do you customize the curriculum for different age groups?
I tailor the information based on their age and school curriculum with help from the class teachers. For young kids, we start with tours of the kitchen and finish up with how a pizza is made. For middle school, we focus on the science behind cooking (like how dough rises) and how our products get from market to table. For high school, it's all about the business behind running a restaurant (like budgeting and management) with an emphasis on the importance of giving back to the community.
Do you have any particular anecdotes or favorite responses from students?
I've had some fun questions like, "Do you know the other pizza guys, like Papa John?" (some, but not John), "Do you pick the tomatoes yourself?" (only at home) and my favorite, "Are you really rich?" (depends on how you define rich). The most fulfilling response from students is always the request for a job application at the end of the lecture. If they want to work for us after they've finished, then we did well indeed.
What do the students seem to enjoy the most?
It's different for every age group. The young ones love standing in the Walk-In Cooler, and sling'n dough is always a hit. The older students really get into management role-playing and practicing selling products to another student. Of course, eating the pizza at the end of class is fun for everyone!
What do you get out of the program personally?
Honestly, working in the service industry as a Pizza Guy is not the sexiest of job titles in life. However, after sharing our business and passions with young people, I see the career of Pizza Guy becoming real possibilities for many students, and it validates my belief that what we do on a day-to-day basis is pretty darn cool. If so many kids want to own a pizza restaurant when they grow up, then how lucky am I do be doing it?
Do you have any final thoughts?
Public speaking is one of the most difficult things for some people to do, and public speaking to kids can be a nightmare at times. I truly respect our teachers for their service. That being said, I look forward to teaching these classes every year because of the energy that the room generates during our talks. It's one thing to read about the DoubleDave's culture on a poster. It's another thing to live and breathe it. Anyone who takes the opportunity to really be a part of the community will find that it isn't just a monetarily rewarding event for the restaurant, but also a deeply fulfilling experience for the person giving the lecture. I challenge everyone to try it once and see!
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks is proud of franchisees like Joey, who are giving back to the community by passing on DoubleDave's knowledge and culture! Here's to you, Professor Pizza!