changing the name....

Hello everyone,

I’ve been “lurking” in this forum for quite some time now,

I’m in the process of making a decision wether to purchase a pizza shop or not, and for the past several months, I worked at a friend’s place to learn the basics, my family owned a restaurant in italy and I grew up in the craziness of this business, i managed restaurants in college, was a food vendor for pizza supplies here in NJ for a few years.

I’ve got a menu down, where I want my strenghts to be, I’m working on a timeline to make the changes to whatever existing menu I will be taking over (I will be buying a business with a custoemr base, so status quo will be of the essence for some time since customers go to a place for a reason), but there are things I will want to implement myself in time.

My question though is this, buying a pizza shop that is established presents an issue if I wanted to “re brand it” with a different name.

do the “thinktankers” feel it would just be a dumb Idea to change the name after a while? or do you feel there is the possibility to do so in a sensible way?
any help will be greatly appreciated.


Mike in NJ

Bought a place established for 7 years amd re-badged it after 6 months. No problems. Made my own identity and got rid of any previous bad vibes and grew the buisness sustantially.
Can be done without any problems. Just make sure you keep the sam phone number.


Changing the name is a big step. On balance is the place doing well or poorly? If it is not doing well, by all means change the name in short order. (Keep the phone as pointed out above). If the place is strong and profitable, why would you want to change the name?

I bought my second store already open and running and planned to change the name to match my existing first store (that I opened). I decided to put that off for a year as we were just heading into the season. During that first season I discovered that the customer base was attached to the place. I changed the menu for the better, cleaned the place up, remodeled etc… but kept the name for the next ten years until I sold it. It was the right decision for me and I would do it again.

On the other hand, if I bought a place that was on it’s last legs, I would probably change the name as soon as I could have a new sign made up or, latest, when the next yellow pages came out.

100% agree

Thank you so very much,

I love this forum it’s rare to find business owners willing to share their experiences this openly.

While I’m a few months away from making the leap, I really don’t want to leave anything to chances or “fool’s taxes” as someone on this board uses… I know I will make mistakes, but why not prevent a bunch of them first?

once again thank you very much.

Update, purchased the place a few fools taxes paid, a bit disappointed of the business as it was presented to me but covering expenses and payroll and although tight my house bills are paid it’s been two months the expectation in town with other owners is that as of next week business will pick up substantially (we are a town on the NJ shore but we are NOT the NJ shore meaning we are a residential shore town not a resort town so the locals drive 15 miles and hang out with snookie and the situation…) school stars tomorrow so we will see.
Over the past two months I changed slowly dough and sauce and only received compliments, every monday or any other day has been better than the priors so I am seeing albeit a low growth, growth nonetheless we are just about ready with the new menu and the new name (the old owner had a core set of followers who I have made sure to reassure that what they liked didn’t change if not for the better), I feel that these two months were perfect for me to get comfortable with the town the clients ad well as the staff, I’m considering it a sort of an extended soft opening so that when the new menu and the new name rolls out we will be better prepared and we won’t perform like newbies.
One other thing I did I have about 10 couples of all different ages who come in and eat at least 2 to 4 times a week I have sat down with them over the past month told them what I was changing and asked for feedback, I have also showed them new menu items and cooked them samples every time they come in they are more excited than I am almost and other people are coming in already telling me how they were already told of the positive changes on the horizon
I look forward to the next few months and see how it works…
The only draw back is that I wanted to name the place FAT MIKE’s, but I lost 42lbs so far… :slight_smile: stress is still high but after two months things seem positive

Now Mike let’s not forget the Jersey Shore motto “ETL”… Eat, Tan, Laundry! Gotta eat…might as well be pizza! I feel stupid that I just saw the ETL thing on the news the otherday and that I remember it!!! :frowning:

I feel I must edit this…as I was told recently that I am wrong! GTL… Gym, Tan, Laundry! Pizza and all food is dead on the JS! My bad! :frowning:

Sounds like you are handling things well Mike. Good luck to you.

All else being the same, your new brand identity will inspire greater motivation within you.

ETL funny Mike, the brother of one of my drivers is actually the guy that the steroid buff Ronny punched out in season two ( I will let u know how the suit goes… :lol: )

Pirate you are right, about the extra motivation, today I filed with the state for the new dba name, and I have a stack of supplies to change wall colors rearrange furniture, and last night I finalized the menu we are adding 12 items removing 3 and only adding 2 new ingredients to my purchasing list while removing 4 (less spoilage on the horizon).

My mind is racing 100 mph and can’t wipe the smile off my face.

I now have a vision that is MINE to pursue not the previous owner’s and it has changed the way I approach everything on my daily tasks…
Once again thank you guys for all the input

Cogratulations on pulling the trigger. Sounds like you have approached almost everthing intelligently and are profitable…even before making the changes that are going to forge your new identity. I really like your idea of existing customer input…it not only provides some assurance of popularity, but it serves as a bridge to change, gives them a sense of authorship (is that a word?) and a reason to suggest you to their friends.

Tells us a few details, if you have any time left in your day of 27-28 hours. What’s the new name? What are the key menu changes? Whats the key marketing strategy?

I wish you the very best of luck.