Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor Me ..

Hello :

I am 30 years old and looking to get started in the Pizza business. I have been saving for a number of years, and am in a position that I feel confident my wife & I can succeed. I’m also not interested in losing my investment or hard earned money and would SINCERELY appreciate if someone that KNOWS the ins and the outs of the pizza business would be willing to ‘mentor’ me as I plan my business and source products/recipes/equipment.

Again, I would very much appreciate your assistance if you’d be so kind to give it to me.

Thank You.

Mike in Georgia
Email : mr4242us@yahoo.com

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Where are you in your process? Still planning? Lease signed? Trying to get open?

If you are still planning, I would suggest that you go get a job in a well run shop in another market. Be up front with the shop owner about your intentions and let them know that part of what YOU want from the job is to learn. I would hire someone on that basis if they could commit to working through the busy season (Nov - April).

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to attend one of the Pizza Shows. PMQ one coming up in just a couple weeks close to you in Orlando. This is an excellent opportunity to look at equipment and gather information on potential products and suppliers, and visit with industry experts. Be sure to stop by the Tom Lehmann Dough Center to pick up some formulas and maybe some pointers. We also have a pizza seminar coming up in October (Practical Pizza Production Technology) that is designed for both “newbies” and seasoned operators. This course will give you all the tools you will need to develop and make great pizzas. Show a person how to make pizza and they can have a great meal, TEACH a person how to make pizza and they can build a business from it. If you want to learn more about this class, please go to our web site at <www.aibonline.org> or send me your e-mail address and I’ll give you a hot link to the course info.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M


This whole board is like having many mentors. Tell us what kind of plans you have set in mind and many here can give you tips on how to proceed. Have you had any experience in this business? Are you looking to do a small delco or a full blown sit down pizza restaurant? Why the pizza business for your investment? Give us some more info to send you in the right direction.

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

I’m not going to ask specifically waht city unless you want to volunteer it, but what part of Georgia are you looking into? What size city? I am in Grantville, and have connected with LOTS of pizzeria people around the West Ga and south metro Atlanta area. I’ve learned a lot from them about product, marketplace and marketing. If you can give me a little more on location, I may be able to offer suggestions where to “apprentice” and/or what feaetures to consider in your business plan.

Glad to help however I can from my limited background.

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Well thanks for saying GIRL. Sometimes in DA BROTHERHOOD with such talented WOMEN running their business, it seems so 70ish :slight_smile:

I would suggest you post more info and watch the feedback fly.


Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

I will second your statement pizzadiva! We girls are rocking pizza queens!!
Yee haww!

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

MamaMia … DITTO :wink:

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Pizza girls are HAWT!

Thanks to All Who Have Posted – Here are additional details

I have LOVED pizza since growing up. I have frequently considered owning a pizza shop, but have been told on numerous occasions – pizza is a tough business … you have to work ‘7’ days a week in order ot make money … and that you can do better working for corporate america (which is what i’ve done thus far).

Now … it’s time for a change! Plus, I’d like to be able to do this with my wife which is a bonus for us.


Two Options that I am Currently Considering :

1.) Existing Pizza Restaurant. Closed a couple weeks ago (owner of restaurant is owner of building / shopping plaza … he wants to focus on real estate and get out of the pizza business). Gorgeous buildout (I’m told nearly 400k was spent, which includes approx 195K in equipment). Freestanding building. Indoor/Outdoor Seating. Sq Ftg just over 3,000. Sale Price 100K. Rent 5k-6k. Located 15 minutes from our home. All equipment in place, just need staff/recipes and advertising. I would expect sales to be 600k+ Located 1/2 mile OFF OF a heavily trafficked major road, close to residential homes and shopping.
–> Owner also willing to offer a 2nd option : lease building for 7k, with no out of pocket for equipment (equipment would remain part of the building/landlords assetts indefinitely)

2.) New Store Concept. Located less than 1 minute from my home. In small, strip plaza style retail space. 1,600 sq. ft. Rent IS 3k per month. Buildout would be required. Located at a busy “cut through” intersection (35k traffic count per day) but with somewhat obstructed visibility due to a gas station … near residential, rental and significant office parks.

Thoughts? I’m a newbie … but very interested in getting started.

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Originally, I had expected a pizza restaurant that was not full service/sit-down until I discovered what I thought was a good deal on an existing restaurant that just recently closed. As for the reason for my desire to open a pizza business : 1.) I love pizza. 2.) I’d like to work for myself (have always wanted to do so – just was unsure how/doing what) 3.) I’d like to work with my wife.

My other post details a bit more the two options I am considering (existing building with equipment vs. new store) … would love your honest thoughts/feedback!

Thanks again.

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

  1. One of you two keep your day job so you can pay the bills.
  2. Just because you love pizza does not mean you will like making it for others. I love staying at nice hotels, but I would not run one. Work in one for 6 months and see if you still love it.
  3. Don’t borrow from anyone you want to maintain a decent relationship with. You don’t want to lose a friendship if you lose your business.
  4. Put together a real business plan. Plan for the worst and ask yourself if you can still live with that (ie pay off your debts and move on)

The best advice for you now are warnings. Not to deter you, but to make sure you approach this rationally. However, I do wish you the best and hope that you act on your dreams.

BTW, the guy that wrote 100 Things To Do Before You Diejust fell at home, hit his head, and died at age 47. So get on it!

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Before taking the plunge, as dewar said,start with a solid business plan. Examples of business plans can be found at SBA.gov. This is a great business and it is great to have passion to want to be in it. The other thing about working with your wife… that can be vvveerrrryyyyy stressful. Don’t get me wrong. I love my wife and would have had a rough time ( or should i say rougher ) without having her there, but there have been many arguments. I would not suggest having both of you there if you can do it. Have her keep her day job. If you have a really strong relationship and a clear understanding of who will be the final decision maker, when you don’t agree on a subject, it can be rewarding to each other to work together. I am just saying it is not always a bed of roses.

The other side of her keeping the day job, is, as dewar said, a good way to keep up on the bills as you get started. Then after a year or so, if you see that the shop is running well and making money, by all means have her start at the restaurant.

Re: Looking for a Successful Pizza Guy (or Girl) to Mentor M

Another thing to look at is that you might like the idea of working with your wife, but have you worked with her before?

Some couples work together like a dream…some cannot tolerate working with each other (especially if both are headstrong and have their own ideas of what they are wanting out of the business…her idea may be completely different from your idea).

My husband and I work very well as a team…he tends to let me take on the “management” role while he “supports”…but, for us, that works well…because he has a full time job, so when we work at Papa John’s together…I’m a manager, he’s a part time driver (in addition to his main, full time job). haha

But, I completely agree…loving pizza is one thing…but making it is another. Do you make pies at home from scratch, or go to a pizzeria or grab a box from a freezer? There’s a big difference in the satisfaction of the taste versus the satisfaction of making.

Make sure you’re both on board, and that this isn’t “your” dream only, or it’s almost bound to fail. One of you keep your day job, as others have mentioned, as well as coming up with a business plan.

Pizzerias are having harder times making it in todays world…while still cheaper to make than a lot of foods, costs of supplies and utilities have skyrocketed, so it’s just not the profiter it used to be.

Hope any of this rambling helps. haha

Re: Thanks to All Who Have Posted – Here are additional det

Any advice on which of the two options you would lead me to consider more strongly than the other?

Thank You!

Re: Thanks to All Who Have Posted – Here are additional det

Before deciding any of these location, study your market if you haven’t done so. Do you know how much big three makes per week? How about independents? Is this a great market for pizza business, or already crowded which is why your guy closed it down. I guess you are not believing in him when he says he rather focus on real estate after spending 400K for the restaurant.

If both of these location were excellent location I would still hesitate to jump in for the first time. Why? Your first option is too big operation. You got the have skills of running a restaurant besides Delco operation. It would be very frustrating run that kind of operation.

2nd choice ? You got no experience what so ever for construction process or setting up a system. It will drive you crazy and will cost you between $ 150 to $300K and if not more.

Don’t you have 3rd option just like your first option but much smaller space? You can buy one underperforming pizza shop in great market. So you don’t have to deal with big operation or construction process. Economy is really bad , higher food costs hurting lots of pizzerias, it is a great time to find underperforming pizza shop in a great market.

You are still young, you can be very successful in this business, but don’t rush or and make mistake. Take your time finding better place at better location, so you don’t have to start your life from zero again.

Sorry I didn’t like any of your options.

Dewar’s right you should work for a pizza shop before you open one. To assure your success and test your commitment.

Good Luck.

Market Research / Other Options?

That’s ok, this is just the honesty I was looking for. I too have mostly ruled out option 1. I will tell you that the demographics are quite good for option 2.

Option 2 :
Population within 1mi. is 6,400, within 3mi is 70,115, within 5mi is 203,052
Day Workers within 1mi. is 13,359, within 3mi is 52,643, within 5mi is 132,538
(4,000 students within 1 mile radius)
daytime traffic count exceeds 35,000+

I agree with you that I am not prepared for the option 2 construction/build undertaking, but at the same time, I have been searching for existing underperforming pizza operations for months and have been unable to find any. There are few independent pizza places in this area – and having moved from the Northeast, I can tell you it is hard to find any good pizza here.

Thoughts // Guidance? Thank you to all who have offered feedback.

Re: Market Research / Other Options?

2nd option sounds better after hearing the population of residential and the businesses. This can be great for you lunch and dinner business.
It is also good you couldn’t find any underperforming pizzeria near 2nd location. This can be good or bad. It means all these pizza shops knows very well what they are doing and knows how to compete with big 3 (this can be tough on you) and or people don’t have much option to choose from so all the pizza shops busy (which is good).
Again if you really want to be successful, I suggest you work one month for the busiest independent pizza shop and don’t tell them that you are going to open a pizza shop. Just say you are looking for part time driver position to get you in, and then you can ask for cook position. At same time or after go work for Dominos or Papa Johns but don’t tell them you already working for a pizza shop. At Dominos you will learn what the system is all about and in independent you will learn what the quality and the personal customer service is about.
Than you can combined the 2 concepts for your venture.
Anyways construction is not that hard once you find the right people to work with. Most important thing is finding a architect who specialize in a pizza restaurant who can help you to find right contractor to finish your job. And make sure you apply the partiall or full system you seen in Dominos Pizza.
The good thing is you will get more attraction to brand new place vs re-established place.
Pizza is not just a pizza and pizza business is not easy as it seems.
Send me your email address I will send you some valuable information.

Re: Market Research / Other Options?

Thanks, I appreciate it!