For many years, Greasecycle has employed part-time student marketing interns to help us grow the company. Typically run in the summer months, our three month program is designed for students who want to learn sales and marketing and other practical life skills while getting paid to help us grow. This program is modeled after a similar program I instituted for Marriott’s College/University food service in the 90’s and early part of the last decade.

As recycling partners of over 1200 restaurants and other institutional food service establishments, we are committed to offering ideas that help restaurants get customers in the door. To that end, we want to show how a part-time, student driven student intern or the “Neighborhood Ambassador” program, can help grow your business! It worked so well for Marriott that we instituted this type of program at dozens of universities and colleges nation-wide. It most certainly has helped Greasecycle grow. Exponentially.

This summer, we will discuss how to get such a program of started, where to find recruiting resources/look for candidates, and sample communications/promotional plans that any intern can follow and use to grow sales. In other words, you can use it to grow your sales

First, though, some definitions to better understand our terminology:

  1. Student Marketing Interns- For our purposes, these would be young people in the range of recent high school graduates through the traditional college years and those recently graduated with no full-time job offer and—while searching– looking for experience. These are paid positions, typically slightly or more above minimum wage and—in our case—includes incentive components like bonuses and commissions. While helping students gain life experience, in today’s world, we believe such a position should also have a financial rewards component.
  2. Your Neighborhood–Your neighborhood simply means the area around your business where you are most likely to pull in first time and repeat customers, catering business and other types of sales. It will be different for most restaurants, and only you can truly define your target marketing area or “neighborhood”. For many of you it will be more a less a circle around the restaurant that extends out a few miles but this area is variable. If you operate in a small town, the town itself is your neighborhood. If you are a small restaurant, say, located in North Raleigh, it might be the neighborhoods roughly 1-3 miles out from the restaurant. You will define your neighborhood—and once done—this becomes your target market for instituting a student intern communications/promotions plans.
  3. Neighborhood Ambassadors— some people think the word intern is perhaps to old school or doesn’t fully describe the position. So, for those people, we also came up with a name that describes the core responsibility for part-time student marketers. The main role is to get to know as many schools, civic organizations, clubs, governmental, professional, and business entities in your neighborhood. To put a recognizable face to your business. To spread the word–through inter-personal relationships and meetings–knowledge of your menu, service and specials/promotions. To get new and repeat business through your door and spending money at your location.

Going forward we will blog in more detail how to get a student intern/neighborhood ambassador program started. We will follow the following outline:

  • Sample job description
  • Recruiting resources: where to find talent
  • Training: providing students with practical skills that will also grow your business
  • Your Neighborhood: who do you target? A sample communications plan Your Neighborhood: who do you target? A sample communications plan

Why is Greasecycle taking the time to put our experiences to a blog and share this knowledge? In short, it is at the core of what we stand for. We want to be a PARTNER, not just a VENDOR. Anybody can be a vendor. A partner truly cares about the success of his/her clients and understands the role each party can play in sharing success. Based on the successes we have had in growing sales, we will share ideas in this blog series that can help small businesses flourish, especially the food service community.