NEW PORT RICHEY – What does a business teacher do when he wants to give his students real-world experience without having to leave campus?
He brings the business to them.
So, the “crazy idea” of River Ridge Business Academy Instructor Chad Mallo not only allowed his Business Entrepreneurship students to augment their course with a real-life business, it also provided many of the students in surrounding classes with fresh, hot pretzel bites.
Those pretzels came by way of OMG! Pretzel Bites and its owner, Brett Mueller.
His class includes a food truck curriculum that is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, Mallo explained. “Bringing the food truck to the school was my idea and hasn’t been done in any other Pasco County class from what I know.”
The curriculum runs for a week, during which students learn how to create a food truck business, Mallo said.
“They name the food truck, they choose a location, the type of food, hire employees, balance an income statement and develop marketing,” he said, “What better way to end that week with meeting a local businessman who has taken those business rules and created and succeeded in the real thing.”
Mallo said bringing the food truck to the school “takes our curriculum to the next level and makes it ‘real world.’
Mueller, whose business has been featured on the Food Network, spent the morning talking to the River Ridge students about his business plan and his experiences in owning his own business.
“We want to give back to the community that has been so good to us,” Mueller said in explaining why he accepted Mallo’s invitation.
“Learning how to do a business plan is so important to those wanting to own their own business,” Mallo said. “The students are served from a real food truck and get an education at the same time. How perfect is that?”
Mallo’s Business Entrepreneur course has proven to be one of River Ridge’s most popular classes, having grown by 40 students since last year.