No BS. We were a one-of-a-kind shop that also employed people with Cognitive Disabilities. I made every dough, every pizza, did all the preps by myself, shopped daily for our produce, and my wife did the register, phone, books, salad. We used to be open 5 days a week for lunch/dinner but that was too much on our senior citizens bodies and we cut down to Thur, Fri, Sat, 5-8. We were lucky to be recognized by the top pizza guys and got lots of worldwide press. We were rated #1 and #3 in the USA on Yelp as well as many other respected lists like The Daily Meal - #11 in the top 100 pizzerias in the USA. I worked 80+ hours a week when at 5 days a week and still did 40-50 when open Thur, Fri, Sat. We had less than $10/week in waste and payroll never went over 40 hours a week and was down to 15 with the Thur, Fri, Sat. We sold out of dough every day before we opened via my wife taking phone calls starting at 3pm and was sold out by 3:30-4. We opened at 5.
Most people are lacking in business skills, pizza skills, and marketing skills, and without all three of these, it will be tough to make a decent living. We had people flying in for our pizza in their private jets. We paid a few part time employees $9/hr and they made $29-31/hr average with tips and this was with curbside and patio seating (weather permitting) only. Regulars would often leave $100 tip on a one pie order. A simple menu that is all top notch, with limited toppings, and a vibe that spoke “welcome to our house” instead of you are #3, along with consistency in service and food, made us a success. We knew your name, your life story, where with you when you had ups and downs in your life. No POS, online ordering, door dash stuff.
We used paper and pencil and answered the phone. Customers had a contest going to see how many times they tried to get through for a pie in a night - record was 212. They never got mad either because they appreciated the old school model we created. Few people are willing to do this. We did not take a vacation in our 7 years open. Only days off for service were Christmas/New year’s day. On those 2 days off we got a whole foods heat and serve meal. I cooked a meal for the first time this Christmas.
There is still great money to be made with this model as we proved. It is great to be retired now but I am open to consulting on our method of doing pizza both recipe and vibe wise. Also, we are continuing to sell our 22 gauge cold rolled steel Sicilian/Grandma pans that have been endorsed by Tony Gemignani, John Arena, Chris Bianco, dozens of pizzerias and hundreds of home bakers, via this link. Home | Smiling With Hope Enterprises (swhenterprises.com)