hand-on or abssentee

I’m facing a challenge: how do I move from a hand-on owner ( and by that I mean I make pizza, schedual, hire, fire and everything in between) to absentee owner and still maintain a profitable operation?.
How many of you are like me? and how many are absentee owners? and if you are absentee how did you acheive that?

We are hands on owners. We have a manager that makes pizza one nite a week and every other Sat nite and Sunday so we can take off.

We do not have plans to become absentee owners… plans to have our manager work more when he is fully up and running. But he has been there 6 months, and hubby has 20 years of experience.

Since this is “our baby”, we will want to be involved to ensure it stays profitable.

Why, may I ask, are you looking to become absentee?

It really depends on what your nut is. How much do you need to take home in order to live comfortably, and how much do you need to pay someone to work in a responsible role as a manager of your business.

I would really suggest opening at least three stores, cause you probably can make one store operate really well and make about 60k a year, but what you will find is when you open your second store your food purveyor will take you more seriously, and when you open your third you will see about a 4% reduction in your food cost, and about a 4% reduction in your fixed costs, and the bulk expenses of insurance, and professional fees go down when you have multiple stores. And you will see might see the profits per store go down as you find yourself paying more labor to manage in your absence, but you will net about 150K a year, which is enough to hire a group supervisor if you really desire to disappear.
Also by owning multiple stores, its unlikely that all of them will have a down month, or year at the same time, so if one store is down, the other store will probably pick up the difference. Kinda like the old indian saying “its easier to break one arrow in half, but if you bind three arrows together it is very hard to break.”

I have set my stores, up so that each store has a manager with a good salary, and a performance based bonus. I work about 10 to 20 hours a week. Mostly administrative I usually visit the stores twice week for an hour each once during lunch rush, once during dinner rush. I plan to open up more, I would like to hire a supervisor once I hit 5 stores, so that I can take a couple of months at a time occasionally, and I will have someone at home doing rounds for me.

Hello Alessandro,
It took me five years to become an absentee owner but only after I had in place systems that made it easier for my staff to recreate my specialties. Yes it can be done and don’t let anyone tell you it can’t; if you can train people, you can be absentee. How it’s done? You must look at your entire business and break everything down into stations with job descriptions, etc. Create as much detail as possible for every working part of your biz. I am not telling you anything new, this is all available online and through others who have achieved absentee status. The most important thing is your attitude and belief in people, if you desire absenteeism, you must believe in the people that work for you. Believe and you can achieve; it all starts in your mind.

I still do the administrative because that is where I go over the details of the operation which to me is the pulse of the biz. Once you acknowledge numbers and their ratios, you will start to run a more successful biz. Control of details are what seperate the better pizzerias from the mediocre so try your best to create systems that control as many details as possible. Give your management team structure and you will get a structure that holds itself up without you!

Think about every successful absentee biz out there; how in the world do they do it?! If they can, you can; its a bunch of Kroc out there! You know, Ray Kroc! McDonalds made it big because of his vision. What is your vision? Hope this helped! Good luck!

I agree, if you don’t want to be their for the day to day then you must implement a training process and be able to continously improve it. Anythign can be broken down into steps so that just about anyone who can read can do it, but you must squeeze out as much of the subjectivness as you possible can.
I would also suggest if you dont’ have an employee handbook and policiies in place for your managers and crew to follow get them in place now, start working on them or find someone who can help you create those.


A lot depends on how far absent you want to be. This summer when my manger was on vacation and one of the assistant managers broke his arm I worked two kitchen shifts. Other than that, I have not worked a scheduled shift in years.

I pay the bills and do the marketing. Every two years or so, I redo the me menu. I come in the place a fewe times a week and see how things are running and I talk with the manager for an hour or so once a week and review the numbers and other issues.

We have two stores. The advice above about multiple stores is good advice. In my mind, the keys things to concentrate on are systems and policies. Getting things done the way you want them done when you are not there to do them or supervise can be a challenge.

Also, you should figure that a manager who runs things for a shift or two when you are off is not the same skill set or responsibility as one that runs the place day to day and orders food, schedules, trains, hires etc etc and you will have to pay more. I would estimate about another 50% above the guy that can run a shift and close the place.