Serious about another pizza business.

Hi All,

Some many years ago I was the owner/operator of a pizza franchise, (2 locations). Basically I purchased someone else’s sinking ship. Prior to the purchase, I had been in the industry for about 10 years, management for about 2 of those 10. The 1st shop was rapidly going under, as it was about 3/4 of the way there when I got the keys. I opened a 2nd location to try and float the 1st disaster. Although I was far from being ready to own a business, there were people that knew that this ship was sunk and wanted to jump before they went down with it. The whole deal was very attractive to a young sailor. I was 26, it was an owner financed turnkey operation. The franchise fees, building rent and owner loan payment ate me up within the first 3-4 months. Every newspaper and advertising publication got word of the “naive” new owner on the corner pizza shop. So needless to say, having no experience in that area, I had a beautiful bi-weekly spread in the local newspaper and direct mail stuffers. I don’t know how that shop went on as long as it did before I opened the 2nd location. I finally closed the first as it was beginning to drain the 2nd too. There’s lots more in between, but to make a long story short, After having to take on a second job outside the shop, I know… this is getting painful now, I had to put an end to this torture and close the 2nd shop too.

To this day debt from those shops follows me, but the pizza business is still in my blood. Not so much the business end of it, but the day to day preparations outside the office door. The feeling of the cool flour in my hands, the satisfaction of creating the “perfect pizza”, (I think that’s the artist in me, I’m a photographer and digital designer now), and the friendly faces of customers to name a few.

So that brings me to the subject at hand. A local independent shop has just gone up for sale and I, (believe it or not), feel drawn to make the call for information regarding buying the business. There is one thing though, this is the 3rd time this shop would change hands. It’s not in a very good location, but not that bad either…on a main drag, on a corner, and it does have a rear parking lot. The shop does get a lot of visual exposure, but it’s situated between 2 stoplights on the main drag.

So am I nuts for even giving this a second of thought. My mind hasn’t stopped thinking about what I would do to make this a sucessful business to benefit all involved. Any thoughts or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Ro

This is a common questions and some of these links should help. Give them a try and see if they answer your questions:

• Buying a Pizzeria Checklist
• Bank Loan
• Buying a Pizzeria I
• Buying a Pizzeria II
• Buying a Pizzeria III
• Buying a Pizzeria IV
• Buying a Pizzeria V
• Buying a Pizzeria VI
• Buying a Pizzeria VII
• Buying a Pizzeria VIII
• Buying a Pizzeria IX
• Taking Over a Pizzeria I
• Taking Over a Pizzeria II
• Seller Financing Option
• Determing Value of Pizzeria
• Turning a Store Around
• Purchased Pizzeria, Need Help
• Should we take over this store?

come work for me, I need a good assistant.

sad story, you really do like the pizza business so you should persue it

not being from that area, I cannot say anything about the location
find someone with some experience in buying existing pizzerias and seek some help there. I have meet several people at pizza conventions that do just that. It can be a good business, done right
Maybe you could partner with someone to lighten the load.

If you were in Arizona, I’d be interested in giving you half the profit, to lighten my load, I do not like the office stuff either, it is a vital part

cross paths with the right person, and you could be feeling the flour again
maybe someone near there will pop up here,

good luck,

Where are you from?

I’m looking for a manager if you want to move to Kansas. :wink:


Hey thanks for the offers guys. I live in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. About 35 mi. north of the city. The shop for sale is a small hole in the wall, but I think with the right marketing, great product, and exposure, this shop has potential.

Thanks again,

The greatest thrill one can get is to change a dump into a thriving business…Been there, done that and sold it for double less than a year later…With hard work it can be done…But make sure you are not paying too much…RCS…

Romy77 well you might want to listen to these people If you go into a place that has changed hands a lot over the past few years, there maybe people that won’t come into the shop. I know from experience. I am in a spot that has 16 pizzerias in 22 years none lasting longer than 1 year. I have been here 5 years. Last night we had a customer that would never come into our place because he thought the prevouis owner was still here. He had a fight with the guy or something like that. But he likes our product and tells us he will be back. We will see. That’s just one of many stories we hear. So do a lot of research and try to get the place at a bargin price.


I’d like to suggest that you find a business partner that would be able and willing to handle the back end of things. The “not so much the business end of it” comment means you’re probably don’t give that end your 100% effort, or it just isn’t in your skill-set.

Very few restaurants that fail do so because their product is awful. Most pizza is at least edible at the right price. However, not running the business end of things well is a surefire way to fail.

As for me, I hate running the day-to-day operations of a restaurnant. I hate the staffing, I hate the ordering, I hate managing the rushes. But I LOVE the business end of things… marketing, accounting, finance. For me this is just an investment, pizza isn’t “in my blood” like you. If it wouldn’t have been an investment in a pizzeria, it would’ve been something else.

So, I found a guy that DOES love the day-to-day aspect. He loves making pizza, loves the customers, loves the rush. It’s in his blood. He’s now my GM and about to become partner (he’s buying a piece of it.) He couldn’t calculate the cost of goods to save his life, and I couldn’t handle the HR responsibilities of a restaurant. We make a successful team.

A partner could also help you get properly financed. You said you’re still carrying debt from the last two. So where are you getting the money for this project? Being under capitalized is a huge mistake that a lot of operators make. I’d say that’s what causes the majority of restaurant failures… they simply run out of cash before the can build a customer base. You will need working capital.