How many here want to see me throw away money?

Hey Guys,

Sorry to start a new thread, but as the title suggests… My partner (dad) for whatever disagrees with everyone here that says our current menus should have been in the trash months ago and replaced with new, updated ones. As some of you know, we have menus that have our changed hours scratched out and rewritten in with a sharpie, and there are at least 10 things that we don’t currently have anymore (3 being complete specialty pizzas, a couple sauces and a couple toppings). If people order those particular things, “sorry, we discontinued that item or pizza… can I suggest another…”? They more often then not say “well why does it say that on my menu”?

He thinks “the customers will appreciate that we’re trying to save money”. - LOL

So what I’m trying to do is get a testament from you guys as to why you (and I) think we need new menus, so I can print this out one day and put it on his desk for some early morning reading.

So what do you guys think? We have about 2-3 months worth left.


I would get new menus ASAP. It should help your store’s image and add a more professional look.

I threw away over 5000 menus about 3 months into the business. My reasons for doing it were first I had added somethings and deleted others and second I needed to adjust prices. I figured that I tossed out $500 but the price increase covered the loss in under a week.

Good answers so far, thanks guys! I really do appreciate it.

Keep em comin please!

I’ll be blunt - do you really think menus are your problem? Why throw any more money into this - even to just print menus?

From your other thread, I don’t see how it makes any sense to print new menus at this point. That ship has sailed.

Your talks with your dad should be about how to get out of this with the least amount of pain. Not about printing new menus.

I think new menus should be done without hesitation if you plan to keep the shop alive. if you do new menus, do a new grand opening or some big promo to rebirth your shop. Make sure to create your menu in full color and on glossy stock to give credit to your better higher quality pizza. Your menu should is your store front in peoples homes, make all those people mouth water while they go throigh your menu.

No problem, I expected nothing less.

It’s definitely not the only problem, but it is a problem. Thats for sure.

We’re sticking to the original plan which is to make this work. There really is no other option. The other thread was just venting, and getting some opinions on the situation. Thinking long and hard, I know I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m not giving up. I got this far, and I’m pretty proud of that. Theres no reason why our sales can’t double within the next year. So I gotta keep giving it my best, try new things, figure out why people aren’t returning and go from there.

Staying in this, we’re gonna need to menus eventually. Its just a matter of time whether or not to get now or later.

thanks again guys!


I have to ask. How many menus have you distributed since you have been open?

I have read here on the forum that you should be distributing at least 1000 a week. That would put you infront of 1000 potential customers each week. That is how you get them to try your food. If it is as good as you indicate your customer base should grow.

The other thread was just venting? I don’t think so. It was probably the most honest thing you have going for you now. Like you said in the other thread, even if your sales doubled in a year - so what? Even if they tripled, so what?

This isn’t about pride. This is about business. It makes no sense to operate a business like this at a loss - both a financial one and a personal one. Don’t be proud of continuing this charade even if you get a lot of “atta boys”.

Don’t take this personally. This is business. A new pizza place in an area as small as yours with 50 other pizza places never made sense - and will never work. New menus or not.

Let me add one other thing - so I don’t look like I’m just trying to be a total jackass.

I’ve had my share of failed business ideas. The best lesson to be learned from them is learning when to stop.

YOU are not a failure even if your BUSINESS fails.

This didn’t work out - this time. Next time it might be the same - or it might be different.

I suspect there are more than a few others here that are thinking along the same lines - but I could be wrong, I guess…

To make the menus make sense . . . this business needs a complete overhaul at ownership and conceptualzation level. There needs to be a clear and passionate committment to doing what it taes to succeed. The road is uphill as we discussed in other thread; you are in a crowded field in a really small market. Spending money on menus is pointless without a comrehensive marketing plan for the next three months. If it tkes a year to double your sales from $200 a week in that marketplace and this economic atmosphere, you might actually be better served finding something else to use the space and equipment for.

You have GOT TO GET someone with a vison, a plan, and enthusiasm to build and execute a marketing plan. You need someone with honesty and trust to come into your shop and give ffedback on your food, your shop and the service experience. Menus will be important when you get the other parts in place . . . but I believe them pointless without the rest. There are lots of things you have talked about that lead Registered Guest and me to think this may be an exercise in futility . . . unless you make changes and correct the core problems.

ASSESS your entire business and its pieces
SET GOALS for what you want to change and when you will commit to completing changes
PLAN for how you will acomplish the goals and how you will build the business
EXECUTE the plan
ASSESS the progress and effectiveness of the goals and plans . . . repeat . . .

No matter what you say in this thread, I get the feeling that:

  1. you are burned out and lack fresh perspective
  2. You have no business plan, or at least no marketing plan written down and committed to
  3. You are neither skilled nor effective in connecting with customers and providing a service atmosphere
  4. You and your partner still do not have a meeting of the minds of what the goals and needs are
  5. There is a huge disconnect between your perception of product and that of the majority of people who eat once and never come back.
  6. You need to develop the aggressive and confident mindset that you have to employ guerilla marketing tactics to survive . . . once you figure out what the issues are in your business that need correcting.

Everything you posted above is right on target. However, I think it’s way too late for any of that.

The main problem, as I see it, is 50 competitors. He can’t do anything about that. I don’t care what you do, you are not going to make a dent in that. And even if you do, you will have just bought yourself a job that pays miserably and has you working 80 hours a week or more. It doesn’t matter how “proud” that makes you, it simply doesn’t make sense.

R.G. & Nick - I appreciated you guys being blunt and giving me the harsh reality. If it matters, our family would be torn apart if we closed up shop. My dad would lose everything he’s worked for in the last 35+ years. He’d probably lose his main business, and both his house and the 18 year owned summer house. If thats the way it is, then, thats the way it is I guess.

You’re right. This place is done and pretty much has been the whole time. We need about $450/day to break even (without any take home pay) and right now we’re averaging a little over $200/day.

We’ll see what happens from here. I don’t even know what to do at this point or where to start.

Thanks again everyone.

So, if you are going to keep at it, you have to recognize that what you are doing is not working. You are too close to the situation, too tired and too emotionally invested to see why. I suggest you turn what you perceive as a weakness into a strength. Have you father, while wearing the hat as silent partner, run a secret shopper program. there are times that customers will not tell you something to your face. Have your father randomly select customers from your pos system, offer to reimburse them for their meal up to xx dollars if, after their next order, they provide honest feedback on the service, quality etc. Come up with both general and specific questions on a questionaire that must be completed in order to get reimbursement. He can explain that at this point we are not meeting expectations and we would like some customer feedback on how we could serve them better. The actual approach needs a little wordsmithing to have a positive spin but you get the idea.

If I know someone has poured their heart and soul into something, and I think its not good, I will not tell them. I once ate two slices of homemade coconut pie because my girlfriend’s mother made it, and I hate coconut. I stupidly said it was great, so her Dad got me another slice. Mom promised to make it again next time but I never ate at that girls parent’s house again :frowning:

Just a suggestion.


Rick G

What does that $450/day include? Does it include loan payments?

Where does the $250/day deficeit come from?

The $450/day break-even just includes all of our fixed expenses I believe. Don’t think it includes loan payment.

Steve it looks like your back is against the wall…Sometimes despite your best efforts and hard work and doing all the right things the market is simply not there…It is really hard for anyone at a distance to tell you what is best for you…I get the sense that the “writing is on the wall”…And it sounds like any more money spent will just be wasted…Good luck…

Okay - that makes it a bit easier.

Right now each day is costing you $450 + $x in loan payments. If you do $200 in sales @ 30% food cost, that leaves you $140 to go against the $450+$x.

So, it is costing you $310+$x to be open each day. PLUS your time - I don’t know your hours but lets say 12 hours of your time each day.

If you closed, it would only cost you $x each day. And 0 hours of your time.

You could get another job that would offset $x, and hopefully actually put some money in your pocket.

Does everyone really need to lose everything if you closed?

I have no financial equity in this place, just my sweat.

Lets just put it this way… We’re about 300k in the hole right now with the place. My father put this under an S Corp through his other business and put up his house (can’t remember if both or just one) for collateral. We have over 10 grand sitting on the roof that we can’t take with us if we were to break our 3 year lease. All the equipment, if sold, would be most likely less than 50k cash, if that. I don’t really know the TRUE outcome of closing up shop, but it will not be pretty, in fact it would be a complete devastation for everyone involved. Things would never be the same.

Absolutely nothing in the world like owning your own business. Nothing. Sometimes the risk pays off, and sometimes you get swallowed whole. I feel for you. I know that feeling and don’t wish it on anyone.