Small Businesses With Class: How Teaching can Boost Your Bottom Line

""“A growing number of small businesses are getting hands on with their customers, teaching classes on what they do best. “While the dough is rising, we give students a history lesson on pizza dating back to 7000 B.C.,” says Miki Agrawal, owner of Slice, The Perfect Food, an organic pizzeria in New York City that offers three-hour pizza making classes each week. ‘After the history lesson, students team up to answer questions and the winner gets a free round of beer the next time they come in,’ Agrawal says. ‘It’s gotten really ugly. Bottles of wine have flown across the room. Imagine a bunch of New Yorkers in a competition over pizza– it’s pretty hairy.”’

“As consumer spending remains sluggish in the wake of the recession, small business owners are looking for other additional revenue generators to supplement their core business. Slice began offering the $150 per person classes two  years ago in order to compensate for lost revenue during the winter months. The pizzeria’s dining room holds just 20 people, but their outdoor seating area doubles that amount. With the patio closed during colder months, Agrawal said business dropped 50%, prompting the addition of the pizza classes. Agrawal expected the classes to be a hit and bring in additional revenue,  but she wasn’t expecting the positive brand recognition and word-of mouth marketing they also spurred.”