What Student-Run Business Should We Start?
Stephen Carter
June 10, 2024
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What Student-Run Business Should We Start?

Back in 2014 when we launched our rolling coffee cart, it was mostly unheard of for a K-12 school to have a full coffee service on campus much less one that was run by students. Now, while not “common,” it certainly is no longer unique (though I would argue that having one that is FULLY run by students is an outlier).

It is also not necessarily the easiest business to maintain—an extensive drink menu leads to an extensive inventory leads to extensive ordering, training, and cleaning. Here at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, our coffee bar operates from 7:30 AM until 3:00 PM which requires no less than 15 students a day, filing in and out of bells, to function. It can be a lot, especially for a school just getting started with entrepreneurship.

Enter the pizza oven. The concept of having a student-run wood-fired pizza business happened for us quite by accident. Several years ago, when we were working toward building our 2,000 sq. ft. teaching kitchen for the entrepreneurship program, we were forced to move our culinary entrepreneurs outside for class for a few months while construction was happening. This required getting wildly creative (constraints breed creativity) and while searching for meaningful opportunities, we were given an Ooni pizza oven on loan.

After some serious trial and error, the pizzas started to turn out not only delicious but began to entice a wide array of other students and faculty to linger around our makeshift outdoor kitchen. This led to continued research and development (no one complains when this involves food tasting, by the way) which then led to the purchase of a large Italian wood-fired pizza oven which then led to the start of Eagle Pizza, Co. which launched in the spring of 2021 by selling pizzas after school on Fridays.

Now, three years later, Eagle Pizza, Co. is going strong and attracts not only students interested in running the pizza business but continued repeat customers who have come to see the business as a mainstay at home football games, the annual Homecoming festival, and special events. And it is one of the coolest operations to see because it is run entirely by students—one student takes orders and calls them to the next student who preps the pizza and passes it to the next student who throws it in the oven and rotates it to perfection until it is finished (in less than two minutes) and sends it to the last student who cuts it and boxes it before handing it back to the student taking the orders.

Are there hiccups? Of course. Do some pizzas burn? You bet. Have orders ever been messed up? It wouldn’t be a business if this weren’t the case. But when you operate with an entrepreneurial mindset, you see each one of these obstacles as an opportunity to learn. And when a learning opportunity is simultaneously a chance to impact the community with a much needed and much enjoyed product, then it is a win-win all around.  

Starting a wood-fired pizza oven business at your school is a viable student-run business and it can start simple with a cost of less than $2,000. Last year I worked with a school that started two of these businesses—one on each of their campuses—and this year they are already making plans to expand the business.

Reach out to learn more—Let’s Go!


Students Running Eagle Pizza, Co.

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