Author Topic: Advice to yourself  (Read 1300 times)

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Offline allanbranch

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Advice to yourself
« on: January 30, 2014, 09:32:38 AM »
Those who own a pizza shop...

If you could travel back in time and give yourself advice before you opened your shop, what advice would you give?

Inspiration
- Where did you waste money?
- Where did you waste time?
- What frustrated you?
- Hired the wrong people, how?
- Trusted the wrong people, who and why?
- What would you do differently looking back?


Offline dogboy

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 10:30:06 AM »
Great questions and I look forward to hearing responses.

Offline waltertore

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 02:31:09 PM »
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 eatin 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 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?

I haven't yet. 

- 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: January 30, 2014, 09:07:08 PM by waltertore »

Offline waltertore

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 05:59:24 AM »
I do regret buying a meat slicer to slice pepperoni.  It was way too much of a hassle and dangerous.  Also bought some cheap plastic dough boxes.  they don't fit together very well and the dough dried out after a day in the fridge.  Walter

Offline Oceans05

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 09:17:59 PM »
great tips so far, thank you Walter!

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 08:24:03 PM »
I have never opened a pizza joint (other than a Domino's back in the day, but I did setup that one and stick around for a while to get them going), but I have set up several and opened other small businesses.

- Where did you waste money?
Physical plant and decor-most of the time a small business is improving the premises for the next tenant.

- Where did you waste time?
See above, get it to a soft opening and finish it as you go.

- What frustrated you?
Employees

- Hired the wrong people, how?
See "waste time" above, by hard opening you may have gone through 50% of your first hires.

- Trusted the wrong people, who and why?
No comment.

- What would you do differently looking back?
Spend more time on the front end researching the location and as little as possible on equipment and decor at first.  Keep the front end debt down and get the cashflow moving ASAP.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 02:06:47 PM »
Those who own a pizza shop...

If you could travel back in time and give yourself advice before you opened your shop, what advice would you give?

Inspiration
- Where did you waste money?
- Where did you waste time?
- What frustrated you?
- Hired the wrong people, how?
- Trusted the wrong people, who and why?
- What would you do differently looking back?

Hi....ive opened a dozen places or so since 1988....ill try to answer these questions as best I can....

WASTE MONEY
Since ive done a lot of hands up improvement, i would definately say that I payed (on many, but not all)way too much for a closed down place that was basically selling used equipement, and most of the time.....a not so great lease.  A good rule of thumb for a shut down business is 5-10 percent of the original cost of their equipment.  You can pay more IF the lease is excellent or the location is a PRIME PRIME one......

WASTE TIME
i believe its not filing for paperwork as soon as I could.  ALL, and I mean ALL beaurocratic paperwork is a massive screwjob.  The people in charge, by in large, are simply not fullfilling their job requirements. Push all paperwork, not worrying whether or not you are doing it right....its THEIR job to guide you through it....make them earn their pay.

MOST FRUSTRATING ASPECT
Government beaurocracy (sp?).  Its incredible.  Frustrating.......maddening..........and BELIEVE ME when i tell you, many, many of these guys will not like you....simply because you are going off on your own and not counting on the government teet.  Got something to do with insecurities,  it think.  Not all, and if you run across a fairminded, capable gov employee.........stick by him....he or she will ALWAYS be an asset.

HIRED THE WRONG PEOPLE.
Tough one....since almost all your hires will be lacking.  Its simply the nature of todays mind set.  Your not hiring accountants or attorneys....your hiring, for the most part, people who have failed in every other endeavour in their lives.  Substance abuse, personal issues......its all gonna come...and its a royal pain.  Also...hiring family.  While hiring certain family members will be a plus....IF you hire a family member who takes advantage of the situation.....oh boy....its a drag to rectify.

TRUSTING, WRONG OR RIGHT
Here, i gotta say family and friends again.  I hired a friend who turned out to be a GOD SENT ASSET, but many more were a pain in my ass.  I've learned that the lower a position you hire your family at, the easier it is in the end.  Now, I will pay a family member more...simply cause I beleive in family responsibilities, but i am real careful in WHICH position I hire them.  IF, and its a big IF, you hire an honest, hardworking, dedicated family person....you have LITERALLY struck gold...but its rare.  As far as "friends" are concerned, believe me when I tell you, when the almighty $$$$$ comes into play.....it will amaze you how a 20 year friendship goes down the drain.....

DO DIFFERENT?
without a doubt, i would say i would change my habit of OVERPAYING simply cause I feel guilty about the pay structure in this biz.  I worked a long time for others.  Ive worked for guys making HUGE BUCKS, while I, the employee, was making squat.  In fact, the most I have EVER MADE, working for someone else in the food business, is 12 bucks an hour.  Now, I've worked for salary.....but a lot of weeks, it worked out to LESS than 12.  And salary for kitchen help, for the most part, is illegal.  This is simply ashitty business to work for someone else.  Its great to work and LEARN......always keeping in mind your goal of SOMEDAY, opening your own...but thats it.  Ive stated before, those years when I did NOT have a business, I had to work 2 full time jobs and 1 part time job......SIMPLY to make ends meet.....and i DON'T live an extravagent life style.  Sure, there are those special important employees you pay extra for, do things for.....but, in reality, those are few and far between.  When you start paying MORE than standard simply because you LIKE the employe....you will begin to bury yourself....and that is ESPECIALLY significant to those of us who try to be "fair".  Its a tough business.....YOU got to owning your own place through hard work and perserverence, ALLOW your employees to get their the same way....do NOT do them any favors that will hurt YOUR business AND your FAMILY'S future.



Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 02:52:41 PM »
MOST FRUSTRATING ASPECT
Government beaurocracy (sp?).  Its incredible.  Frustrating.......maddening..........

+1,000,000+

Quote
and BELIEVE ME when i tell you, many, many of these guys will not like you....simply because you are going off on your own and not counting on the government teet. 

That or they are simply jealous that you are not too scared to take risks like they are.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: Advice to yourself
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 06:50:48 PM »
can I do A MILLION AND 1??

It all sounds petty and judgemental....but ONCE you are in the SITUATION....it becomes O SO CLEAR.........and, for the most part.....they get away with it.


 

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