Michael and Suzanne McLean, owners of the new Johnny's Pizza restaurant on Ga. Highway 36 are into more than just providing Newton County with a great new place to dine.
Beginning this week, the McLean's will offer schools the opportunity to participate in a fund raising program, dubbed spirit day, that will donate 10 percent of the funds raised during the day to the participating school. For instance, customers who eat at Johnny's on the day of a selected group's spirit day can ask that 10 percent of their bill be donated to that group.
Schools can book spirit day once a month, but the couple says the offer is extended to more than just schools.
"We'll do it for a church, a little league baseball team or any kind of organization that wants to raise the money," added Suzanne. "We just did spirit day for the Young American's group in Conyers."
The McLean's said each organization will have a set day of the month for its spirit day and having a routine is the key to raising funds.
In addition to spirit day, the McLean's will begin their fifth quarter program tonight after the Alcovy/Newton football game. Fifth quarter is an open invitation to the three high schools to reserve the restaurant after each home game. Instead of the usual 11 p.m. closing time, Johnny's will stay open until midnight and coaches, players and families will be able to dine while watching game footage on the closed circuit televisions.
The McLean's have done the same thing in Rockdale County, where they've owned another Johnny's Pizza restaurant since 2006.
"It's a great way for the team and their cheerleaders and families to come in after home games," Suzanne said. "We encourage them to bring a DVD and watch game highlights. It's fun for them to come in as a group and enjoy the game."
So far, the McLean's have done the fifth quarter program successfully in Rockdale during football season. Because of the consistency of scheduling and the fact that the high schools play one game a week, football has been the benchmark so far. But Michael said they are considering offering a similar program during the winter and spring hopefully to involve the other sports.
Alcovy has already booked all of their home games and Newton has committed to two games.
"It's laid back," Michael said. "The kids really get into ribbing each other when they watch someone make a play or something like that."
Michael said offering the teams the opportunity to come in late is a great way to bring the community closer.
"The reason they are so popular is because the players and families get to come in as a group," Michael said. "I think they really like to be able to get together with their friends and come in."
With a limited selection of restaurants open at the times after most football games conclude, the McLean's hope the fifth quarter program becomes a regular tradition for the high schools.
"In Conyers, it has been very successful. Teams like the idea of having a place to go after the game," added Suzanne. "We know it takes time, but we hope this becomes a regular tradition here in Covington."
If you are interested in booking a spirit day, contact Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.