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Offline BillyCorgan

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What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« on: February 07, 2014, 01:49:22 PM »
Curious to those that own a shop the 3 hardest lessons they have learned from the business, with, of course, an explanation  :)


-Billy Corgan


Offline waltertore

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 02:57:42 PM »
Billy:  I posted this on another thread.  It may or may not be of use to you.  Good luck with you endeavor!  Walter

I come from a sort of wierd, back door, ecclectic, perspective.   I started working with dough mainly in bakery settings as a toddler growing up in the NJ/NYC area.  My mother's family came from Italy and brought the ways with them.  Everything was scratch made and the natural thing was to put the kids to it asap.  I have no formal training.  It all has come via great cooks, pizza makers, bakers.  I have worked in a dozen or so places that dough was my job.  I did music full time for 20 years and the dough always was there for me when I needed extra $    With that said I never dealt with the day to day stuff of running or owning a shop.  But 2 years ago I was able to have a commercial baking space built at the high school I work at as a special education teacher.  A new high school was being built and I now occupy a brand new state of the art baking/pizza space.  The district had no money to fund this project other than build the space to code.  So we have to be self sufficent.  This has thrust me full tilt into running a business.  If we don't turn a profit we are done.  We are doing fine financially and I have learned much about running a business.  It isn't much different then when I ran my band/owned a record lablel.  So with this in mind I will answer the questions.  Walter


Inspiration

This is the most important part of any endeavor.  Feel and see the vision of it all working beautifully.  This is something to grab hold of when times get scary.  Most people don't have visions and when they get scared see doom and gloom.  This keeps most people from blindly following their dreams. 

Follow your dreams.  Don't let anyone or yourself derail them.  Life is too short not to dream big.  Too many people analyze instead of allowing themselves to be guided.  The universe has a perfect plan if we will follow it blindly.  I have been living this way for over half a century and it just keeps getting better with each new chapter.  The first thing is make the pizza you love and have to stop yourself from eating 3xday seven days a week.   Forget what others say will or won't sell.  You can crunch numbers till you die and never get off the ground.  Yes you have to do some up front figuring but that is not that big a deal.  The dream is.   Figure out how big you want to be and what style/other if any items you want to make.   Next figure what ovens, how much space for eating if any, what mixer, fridge, figure how many hours you want to work a day/week.

Location is important depending on where you are located.  In a major city with food lovers it isn't as important as in the rural areas of america where location becomes more important.  I feel like Yogi Berra here with talking in circles but the location is not near as important as the product and vibe of the place.  Most people overthink things and make an average product at best so they have to work those angles to the max to survive. I prefer to let this  all unfold and keep the faith that people will come no matter where I open up.  Making things with love creates a special environment.  People regularly tell us they love our pizza but they also love coming in and being a part  of the culture.  We are a happy place.  That added with good food means nothing but good vibes.   I know this all sounds hippy (I was one) and California karma, and such, but it is the key to having a good life.  I am out here in central Ohio where people think little cesars is good pizza. Yet they continue to come and buy our stuff.  It is a major shift in their food palate but it is working.  My next journey will be owning a small building that my wife and I will live in and the shop will be on the ground floor.  I see this vision coming and just have to be patient and enjoy the journey.  I am in a great spot right now and am in no hurry to rush things. 

For me, the small ma/pa set up is the only way to go.   The more employees the more headaches.  You lose control of the product and will have constant problems.  After 20 years  in the baking industry I have observed the average employee is marginal at best.  Also the more size /varieties ofpies you make, the more toppings, the more other food items you sell, the more work there is.  Again you have to figure how many people you want as employees.   A friend here opened a full tilt Italian deli about a year ago with about 20 homemade items a day.  She is making it all herself.  It is too much and I doubt she will make 2 years before burning out.  I will always keep it simple with a very small place, seating for no more that a dozen or 2, no advertising, no buy one get one deals, etc.  This is not a plan for making swimming pools and vacation homes.  It is a model for small artisan, family run. 

- Where did you waste money?

Buying cheap dough boxes (they don't seal tightly and dough dries out) and a meat slicer to slice pepperoni.   

- Where did you waste time?

worrying it wouldn't work but that didn't ever last too long because the vision of success kept shinning bright. 


- What frustrated you?

people struggling with wrapping their heads around the fact that world class NY style pizza can be made in a public high school by special needs students.  It is all proving I wasted my time.  We are running at capacity  and with the newspaper article that came out on us Saturday, pizza orders are doubling.   

- Hired the wrong people, how?

I don't get to hire.  My students are assigned.  The passion shines so bright in the good ones it is simple to see who I would hire and not hire. 

- Trusted the wrong people, who and why?

Hasn't happened.  Most of the time this happens is when we project what we want to see.  That is always going to be a disapointment.  Take people for who they are and it makes life a lot easier.

- What would you do differently looking back?

Nothing because everything that happened had to happen to make today what it is today. Keep the faith that it all is destined to succeed and all one has to do is follow the passion blindly. 



« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 03:01:47 PM by waltertore »

Offline BillyCorgan

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 10:07:42 PM »
Billy:  I posted this on another thread.  It may or may not be of use to you.  Good luck with you endeavor!  Walter

I come from a sort of wierd, back door, ecclectic, perspective.   I started working with dough mainly in bakery settings as a toddler growing up in the NJ/NYC area.  My mother's family came from Italy and brought the ways with them.  Everything was scratch made and the natural thing was to put the kids to it asap.  I have no formal training.  It all has come via great cooks, pizza makers, bakers.  I have worked in a dozen or so places that dough was my job.  I did music full time for 20 years and the dough always was there for me when I needed extra $    With that said I never dealt with the day to day stuff of running or owning a shop.  But 2 years ago I was able to have a commercial baking space built at the high school I work at as a special education teacher.  A new high school was being built and I now occupy a brand new state of the art baking/pizza space.  The district had no money to fund this project other than build the space to code.  So we have to be self sufficent.  This has thrust me full tilt into running a business.  If we don't turn a profit we are done.  We are doing fine financially and I have learned much about running a business.  It isn't much different then when I ran my band/owned a record lablel.  So with this in mind I will answer the questions.  Walter


Inspiration

This is the most important part of any endeavor.  Feel and see the vision of it all working beautifully.  This is something to grab hold of when times get scary.  Most people don't have visions and when they get scared see doom and gloom.  This keeps most people from blindly following their dreams. 

Follow your dreams.  Don't let anyone or yourself derail them.  Life is too short not to dream big.  Too many people analyze instead of allowing themselves to be guided.  The universe has a perfect plan if we will follow it blindly.  I have been living this way for over half a century and it just keeps getting better with each new chapter.  The first thing is make the pizza you love and have to stop yourself from eating 3xday seven days a week.   Forget what others say will or won't sell.  You can crunch numbers till you die and never get off the ground.  Yes you have to do some up front figuring but that is not that big a deal.  The dream is.   Figure out how big you want to be and what style/other if any items you want to make.   Next figure what ovens, how much space for eating if any, what mixer, fridge, figure how many hours you want to work a day/week.

Location is important depending on where you are located.  In a major city with food lovers it isn't as important as in the rural areas of america where location becomes more important.  I feel like Yogi Berra here with talking in circles but the location is not near as important as the product and vibe of the place.  Most people overthink things and make an average product at best so they have to work those angles to the max to survive. I prefer to let this  all unfold and keep the faith that people will come no matter where I open up.  Making things with love creates a special environment.  People regularly tell us they love our pizza but they also love coming in and being a part  of the culture.  We are a happy place.  That added with good food means nothing but good vibes.   I know this all sounds hippy (I was one) and California karma, and such, but it is the key to having a good life.  I am out here in central Ohio where people think little cesars is good pizza. Yet they continue to come and buy our stuff.  It is a major shift in their food palate but it is working.  My next journey will be owning a small building that my wife and I will live in and the shop will be on the ground floor.  I see this vision coming and just have to be patient and enjoy the journey.  I am in a great spot right now and am in no hurry to rush things. 

For me, the small ma/pa set up is the only way to go.   The more employees the more headaches.  You lose control of the product and will have constant problems.  After 20 years  in the baking industry I have observed the average employee is marginal at best.  Also the more size /varieties ofpies you make, the more toppings, the more other food items you sell, the more work there is.  Again you have to figure how many people you want as employees.   A friend here opened a full tilt Italian deli about a year ago with about 20 homemade items a day.  She is making it all herself.  It is too much and I doubt she will make 2 years before burning out.  I will always keep it simple with a very small place, seating for no more that a dozen or 2, no advertising, no buy one get one deals, etc.  This is not a plan for making swimming pools and vacation homes.  It is a model for small artisan, family run. 

- Where did you waste money?

Buying cheap dough boxes (they don't seal tightly and dough dries out) and a meat slicer to slice pepperoni.   

- Where did you waste time?

worrying it wouldn't work but that didn't ever last too long because the vision of success kept shinning bright. 


- What frustrated you?

people struggling with wrapping their heads around the fact that world class NY style pizza can be made in a public high school by special needs students.  It is all proving I wasted my time.  We are running at capacity  and with the newspaper article that came out on us Saturday, pizza orders are doubling.   

- Hired the wrong people, how?

I don't get to hire.  My students are assigned.  The passion shines so bright in the good ones it is simple to see who I would hire and not hire. 

- Trusted the wrong people, who and why?

Hasn't happened.  Most of the time this happens is when we project what we want to see.  That is always going to be a disapointment.  Take people for who they are and it makes life a lot easier.

- What would you do differently looking back?

Nothing because everything that happened had to happen to make today what it is today. Keep the faith that it all is destined to succeed and all one has to do is follow the passion blindly.

Wow.. there is a ton of great information in here.  Thanks so much for sharing your story and experiences!

Offline waltertore

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 07:33:13 AM »
Billy:  You are welcome and I wish you much joy on your journey!  About 35 years ago in one of my darker moments, which I have had many, with trying to convince the music industry that a person can spontaneously create all their words and music every time they perform, my wife gave me this qoute.  I remember it everyday.  "life is a daring adventure or nothing at all" - Helen Keller 

Offline gabaghool

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 07:09:03 PM »
1. ITS NOT YOUR JOB TO BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES FINANCIAL LIVES.
2. THE OLD SAYING "THE CUSTOMERS ALWAYS RIGHT" is SO correct, i can't even BEGIN to explain it.
3. MOST owners WILL UNDERESTIMATE WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR THEIR PRODUCT.

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 07:18:23 PM »
1. ITS NOT YOUR JOB TO BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES FINANCIAL LIVES.
2. THE OLD SAYING "THE CUSTOMERS ALWAYS RIGHT" is SO correct, i can't even BEGIN to explain it.
3. MOST owners WILL UNDERESTIMATE WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR THEIR PRODUCT.

I know you revived a very old thread, but I like your third point. I have noticed that. Some customers complain all my pizza isn't $5, while others are amazed they can feed a family of 6 with cheese bread and dessert for under $30. Just keep targeting those who find value in what you do.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 07:53:41 PM »
Jeff..

point 3 was ALWAYS my biggest hassle...that is EXACTLY WHY i brought in a financial partner.  Being able to cook is just one SMAAAAAAAL part of this deal.......

thanks for the response.


Have you underpriced your menu??????

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 09:47:07 PM »
3. MOST owners WILL UNDERESTIMATE WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR THEIR PRODUCT.

Most owners never put any thought into it.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 11:04:09 PM »
Jeff..

point 3 was ALWAYS my biggest hassle...that is EXACTLY WHY i brought in a financial partner.  Being able to cook is just one SMAAAAAAAL part of this deal.......

thanks for the response.


Have you underpriced your menu??????

No I didn't. I went into a pizza place and worked for a month and they had just raised their prices by $1. It was like all hell broke lose over a buck. So what I did is start the prices where I wanted and for my soft and grand opening sent out a lot of good deals. That way I can still have specials but won't have to raise my prices for a long time to come.

This week I ran 32.28% food cost, and my ideal food cost was 31.15%. So I had about 1% in spoilage/over use. I like those numbers. But now to just get my labor to 15%, that's another story.

Offline chasenpse

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 08:13:57 AM »
No I didn't. I went into a pizza place and worked for a month and they had just raised their prices by $1. It was like all hell broke lose over a buck. So what I did is start the prices where I wanted and for my soft and grand opening sent out a lot of good deals. That way I can still have specials but won't have to raise my prices for a long time to come.

This week I ran 32.28% food cost, and my ideal food cost was 31.15%. So I had about 1% in spoilage/over use. I like those numbers. But now to just get my labor to 15%, that's another story.

From my customer point of view a dollar increase is a big jump when you're talking about $2-4/slice, that's a 25-50% markup. I like your business model better because it's more up-front and sounds like it will stand up against the rising costs over time.

Just my $0.02 :P
If Tetris has taught me anything, itís that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.


Offline fazzari

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 11:50:53 AM »
I think I would like to limit this to one huge lesson.  If one makes a list of the undesirable items which keeps his business from advancing, most of the time he will find most of these items are simply the results of one big problem.  That is, there will be a thread which bands these undesirable items together and most of the time, that thread will exist because of faulty policies, which exist because of wrong assumptions.  So, one must take the time to thoroughly understand where and why these policies or procedures exist in the first place. Knowledge about systems is key.  This was the most important lesson I ever learned, the lesson that took the most energy and study, and the lesson that transformed my life.  The lesson was first brought to my attention reading "The Goal", by Eli Goldratt, and I've been at full attention ever since absorbing everything I can regarding constraint management.

John

Offline gabaghool

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 01:01:24 PM »
No I didn't. I went into a pizza place and worked for a month and they had just raised their prices by $1. It was like all hell broke lose over a buck. So what I did is start the prices where I wanted and for my soft and grand opening sent out a lot of good deals. That way I can still have specials but won't have to raise my prices for a long time to come.

This week I ran 32.28% food cost, and my ideal food cost was 31.15%. So I had about 1% in spoilage/over use. I like those numbers. But now to just get my labor to 15%, that's another story.

labor cost of 15%???!!!  Wow......thats mighty low, but if you can do it, more power to ya!!

Offline gabaghool

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 01:02:41 PM »
Thats funny cause every single time ive raised the prices in over 30 years....ive NEVER had a complaint....but that might be a commentary on how low my prices were.....

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 12:11:27 AM »
labor cost of 15%???!!!  Wow......thats mighty low, but if you can do it, more power to ya!!

Not including manager salary.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: What 3 lessons took you a long time to learn?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 09:51:04 AM »
Still.....not bad.....wish i could hit that low....