Looking to avoid costly mistakes.

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to ask you all if you could share with me the most costly mistakes or common mistakes you have made while operating your businesses. I know employees are a problem and so is the cost of food, but what other pitfalls are lurking in the shadows that are not so obvious. This could be a topic we could all learn from. I know Im going to be making mistakes in the not too distant future, but Id really like to avoid as many of them as possible…Thanks so much!

If you spend 30 or 40 hours reading through the “ThinkTank” archives you will see that pretty much every thing has been covered int he past…Good luck…

Watch out for people on the line sneaking toppings. I know at a pizzeria I worked at it became a real problem, people grabbing pinches of this or that and eating it. Might not seem like alot, but it can actually add up realy quick for food cost. Also on toppings that fall off the side of the pizzas, If I fail to scoop them up and put them back on the pie I tend to put them on supreme pizzas later in the night to help eat food cost so it’s not waste.

Install a nice camera over the Cash Register. Watch dough waste, Really the big thing is to keep track of all the waste. Keeping track of it without doing something about it can make ya queasy to see how much money trickles away but hey thats part of business.

Are you being serious? If the viability of your business comes down to reusing toppings that fell off of a pizza “later in the night”… well, I’m actually at a loss for words.

my words of advice:

1)when it comes to money and food trust no one. You’ll be a shop with cash and easily accessible food. Make sure you keep control of both, Make sure your POS keeps a log of all changes made and review this regularly. Do your inventory as frequently as possible (daily).
2) get good cctv
3) try and get someone else to look at your figures and question anything that looks odd. I say this as when you open you’re in it up to your neck and can often missing seeing things/costs that are starting to creep up.

Hope this helps


A high overhead is what I would imagine cause most of us to fail in the first five years. If you open with no debt your chances of survival increase dramatically. You may have a excellent product, great marketing, great employees etc but if you are consumed in debt it adds weights to your shoes and slump to your stride.


and the choir says, “AMEN, Sister!!”

Debt service is what I believe to be the number one hidden killer of businesses who have a real, fighting chance. You know, the ones with a industry experience, good product, a solid and comprehensive business plan, marketing vision, adequate working capital (on the surface).

Maintaining a time management plan for your own time that allows you to give attention to planning and change. It is all to common for owners to get bogged down in the chores and tasks of the day and let months slide by without giving attention to the longer range thought process that success depends upon.

I have to disagree somewhat with some of the posts above with regard to how much focus needs to be given to employees eating. No amount of employee snacking will put you out of business if the business is sound in the first place. If it is not, the focus needs to be on the basic business issues, not the snacking.

Your cost reporting will tell you if you have major issues with theft of food or cash.

Put your focus on quality, service, marketing and planning.