I don't have any plans to start another one right now, Pete-zza. I had a
lazy, sleazy, liar partner with a small share and I'm more motivated to dissolve that disaster partnership before I do anything else in the pizza business.
I think this is a good chance to get out. The sales tax is going to double in the next two years and the last time it was raised only 2%, the restaurant industry was decimated. It's going up 5% over two years. Also, costs for imported flour (Caputo), fresh Mozzarella cheese, olive oil and tomatoes have risen almost 20% in the past six months from exchange rate changes. Those are pretty important in pizza!
I liked the business. I liked the cash flow, for sure. I still have a food & box cost under 24%, which most places in the world would love to have. But prices are high here. It's a different market.
I liked making really good pizza and enjoy it immensely when customers tell us how much they like our food. A lot of them are truly disappointed we're closing, and that's a little sad. I'm proud that we never once dreamed of serving something that we didn't think was anything but perfect - perfectly topped, seasoned and cooked. We would trash any pizza that wasn't perfect. I know that may seem old-fashioned or a waste of money to some people.
We've been financially successful, so it's been a difficult decision. But I think the market landscape is going to change and the restaurant business usually suffers first when disposable income drops.
So, I'm happy, but I'm not!