Need Advice or Opinions

My brother and I have an opportunity to get our own pizza place!
Its a takeout/delivery spot.

Heres a few things Im sort of worried about

1.) she’s open now and has a menu that has a lot of thing, I don’t really want to make, but I need customers right off the bat. should I suck it up and make her food for the transition period or just do my menu?

2.) Should I change the phone number?

3.) the situation were in now is a guy had a space with some pizza equipment left from a previous tenant he asked us to come start the business with our experience and recipes build it up then he’d sell it to us in 3 years, well we are doing that currently the business is doing very well, but we get the feeling he likes having a successful pizza place he can take all the credit for even though he does nothing but bring his friends there to eat free food during our busy lunches. So anyway one day I notice him trying to look over my shoulder trying to watch me make duck sauce (a recipe I perfected years ago at my house) I said what are you doing he says those recipes are his bc theyre made at his place. Then 2 weeks later a coworker tells me the owner of the place called him after hours saying find out how they make the house dressing and the duck sauce those recipes belong to me! The coworker knows those recipes belong to my brother and I and told him he’d feel like he was stealing if he did that, should I be worried he’ll try to sue me or something if I leave?

Sue you for what? Unless you signed a contract that all recipes belong to him, and even then I don’t think he would be successful, he’s got nothing to sue you over. Unfortunately, in this day and age, anyone can sue anyone for anything, but they will not be successful.

If you and your brother want to own your own place, you either need to sit down and hash out a contract with the current place you are at and have it drawn up by a lawyer that says when and how the price will be determined or you need to move on. If the owner of your current place will not agree to a legally binding contract for you to take over ownership at a specific time in the future, you’re kidding yourself that he truly intends to sell to you and your brother.

If you take over another place that isn’t wildly successful, I would recommend making the changes you want right off the bat. Keep the phone number, even if you just keep it as line two, as it will continue to bring you business long into the future. If you’re changing the menu dramatically, I would probably change the name, but you can keep it and market it as “THE NEW” ABC Pizza.

Regardless of what you do, don’t do it with a handshake. Get an attorney to draw up the contract and have everything spelled out in it. Payment terms, what liabilities you assume, ect. I would have some of the purchase money held in escrow to insure that all of the liabilities that you are not taking over get paid. Obviously you don’t want the staff to quit because they never got their last paycheck from the old owner. Similarly, you don’t want the food suppliers or the taxman coming to you for debts owed by the last owner. Lastly, have all of your ducks in a row from day one of taking over. Have your payroll already set up including workers comp insurance, have your bank account and credit card processing already set up with credit card machines in hand from the start. Fill out the credit applications with your suppliers and have accounts set up beforehand. Have the utilities changed into your name that morning and schedule whatever is necessary to get your business license in time for the day of the takeover. Have your new menus printed and ready to distribute before you take over as well.

hey Paul thanks for the thoughtful reply!

Im leaning towards just cutting the chord and changing to my menu from the start, keeping the phone number.

Now Im trying to think of what to say to customers when they call asking for her items. I want them to not feel apprehensive ordering from us

I would not drop her items until I understood what she sells. Do not cut off your nose to spite your face! No reason to walk away from successful items just because YOU are not familiar with them. There are plenty of ways to be successful and none of us knows all of them. Until you know what has been working and what has not, it is too early to be deciding what to cut.

My honest opinion is that it won’t be a big issue. While I don’t know exactly what items you are referring to, chances are they are not selling that many or them that it will be an issue. You will lose a few customers but that would happen if you kept her whole menu and just did everything with your own recipes. I agree that a clean cut from the old business is likely your best bet(unless it is an extremely successful business and you’re keeping recipes as well). My advice here is to be confident in your menu and do your best to convert those looking for her items into consumers of something that’s on your new menu.

I agree with Paul. If you have something super special with your recipes market that as a draw for the new business name.
Whatever you do don’t drop the phone number as that will bring in past customers.
As Paul suggested get all your ducks lined up and market hard from day one. Get your menus out a couple of days before you open with a big splash saying “new owners - great quality - great service” , etc. Do not push a lower price as it is harder to get prices up if you find you are not making enough, but it is easier to lower prices (not recommended)
Push your unique selling points, special menu items, something that stands you out from the previous owner and any surrounding competitors.
Also agree with Steve on keeping lines that they currently have. These may be the items that keep customers coming back. You can quietly phase them out later if you don’t want to do them.

She has pizza, wraps, subs, salads, appetizers, clubs, all the usual stuff just the wraps and club sanwhiches are stressing me, Clubs I can do even though they are a pain, but the wraps have some weird toppings like stuffing, and sliced apples I can’t imagine her store having those things its kind of dumpy right now, but she’s doing ok sales and the price and location are right

thanks dave for the reply my brother and I are going back and forth on pricing our items now with the what we pay for cheese, beef, and now chicken tenders skyrocketing I want to be all set for a year or two.

Bodge I hear ya, Im still making pros and cons lists

another thing- how would you guys handle her discounts she gives to her existing customers? she has some accounts that the discount is pretty steep. Im thinking I should honor it now but eventually get it to a price more fair for us. She has a few 20 pizzas a week type accounts

Thinking back to my college days in accounting, there is a theory that says “If the venture does not interfere with you normal course of business and you can make at least $1 then you should do it.”

So the questions are:
Do these orders take away from normal business?
Is there a spin off from these orders that brings more business at regular price?
Would you take more to the bottom line without these orders?