Tell me your success story

Hello I am a I.T. Techie guy and a pizza shop owner wannabe. I have an opertunity to get into the Business but have some anziety about leaving the corporate world. So if you have a good story about your start up or your pizza biz Ii would love to here it.

I came from the ‘corporate’ world and left to set up my own shop. 3 years later I now have two stores. Reading between the lines of this and your previous threads I feel you are looking for someone to tell you it will all be ok and a great move for you.

My single piece of advice to you is this - go work in a shop as a manager for a year. Get involved with every aspect of the job, work 11am to 12pm see if it is really what you want. Then, opening your own store will be a walk in the park.

No one here can tell YOU what you will or will not do but if you can not (or do not want to) manage a shop as a manager I can assure you you will not suceed opening your own store.

Well Wizzle you are partly right on your observation but I am not wanting anyone to tell me what to do. I am 47 years of age and a manager in a insurance company IT department. I have been in customer service for over 25 years and have had two smaller businesses in my past. My duties as a manager is primarily been research and security and being of the research mind set i try to get all the information i need to make rational decisions.
Working for myself has been something that has been a burning issue for me my entire life but doing the responsible thing has been my highest priority. I now have come to the point were happiness is starting to out weigh the latter. Hard work has never been a problem for me I can work with the best of them. There has been a opportunity that has come up and I am just trying to get info on the subject of Pizzerias’ and this forum looks like it could help me find some answers. The people here seem to want to help so asking these questions should not be to much of an issue and i really appreciate all of the answers i have received so far.

Lets see I have asked how much could a indie ( just learned what you meant by that from this forum) make so I would not leave a good paying corp. job to jump into pizza.
i asked if people could tell me some inspirational stories to help me see that it can be done as a indie.
I asked what an appropriate lease might be so i have some figures to go by.

I don’t think i should quit my corp. job and cut my salary 3/4 to become a manager for someone else’s shop.

So hopefully with this forum and the help and guidance from people like you i can make a good decision about becoming an owner/manager of a pizza shop.
Thanks for all the info.

Congratulations on your decision to explore a different lifestyle and vocation. Change can be a good thing… but only if you know what you’re getting into. I think it would be prudent to have some hands on experience in a pizza operation before fully committing financially and emotionally to your dream. There are many whose dream has turned into a grinding nightmare in the restaurant industry. Would it be possible to work at a pizzeria as an insider or driver nights and weekends for a period of time to get a true feel for the business before your big leap?

Hi, as I said I came from a corporate background and have run large teams of people, training teams and technical teams and finally spending years trouble shooting and project manging large projects. I too don’t want to be a manager of a shop but wanted to have my own business. What I was trying to make you realise is that this is not an off the shelf industry. If you are going to start from scratch you will need to be in the shop a lot, leading by example and fixing problems specific to this industry.

All my experience in my previous role whilst useful did little to help the operational side of the busienss on say a busy saturday night. Did I want to spend nearly 6 months of 7 days a week open close? No but I needed to.

I’m just trying to give you a reality check here.

Thanks for the advice and yes that could be in my future. But as a younger man I did work in a pizza place. I started there washing dishes and making dough then went to hand making pies and delivery. Also befor i got into the Tech industry my family owned a doughnut/ samwhich shop. So i do have some familerarity with business and PIzza. The opportunity that has come about for me may not be there if i dont take advantage. I am not talking about days or anything but it will have a limited time. So i am soliciting people like you and the other successful Pizzia shop owner to give me a glimpse into your world.
thanks again.

I understand the point you are making. I dont have a problem staying from open to close to manage my own place thats a given in the first year or so i would presume. So what and how did you come to do this? Did you have the help of a forum like this? DID you buy a shop that was around or start your own? you see you have the info i am looking for. That kind of info will be a grood help.

techie - I know you have a ton of questions, and don’t want to lose this opportunity (it sounds pretty amazing to me, I think I would be strongly looking into it too). But, I have a question for you. Do you know how to put out a superior product? If you’re only facing the national chains with a community that is making that kind of income, I believe there is a lot of money to be made. The thing I love about our shop is that we can put out an incredible pizza that the chains could only dream of.

If we hadn’t bought this existing shop, I would have had no chance in this market. But, now I’m kind of shocked how simple it is to make pizzas that blow away Pizza Hut.

Indie, I have had the Pizza’s from the big three around here and it dosnt seem like it would be hard to put out a better product. Also i know have this forum to help refine my product if i get that far in this process. I am sure there is a lot of tast testing and pie creation in my future. lol

Techie, heres where Im at. Im in my second month of ownership of a pizzeria in a great market. The TT is by far the best place for information. Im curently keeping my day job and working the shop at night and weekends,till it takes off. My cell phone is blowing up all day long with questions from the staff. My wife is extremely understanding I miss her and my son. I know in the long run its going to be worth it. After buying an existing shop, here are my main obsticales:

My POS is a piece of CRAP!
Im working on leasing a new one. I though for sure I had 6-9 months to work out this one. WRONG more like 6- 8 weeks. Research this in advance.

Previous owner dissapointed alot of the customer base. He was too afraid to change anything. For example pizza cook time, he wouldn’t adjust the conveyer oven. He just put out burnt pizzas. Fixed this on day 2 of ownership.

Previous owner was lazy. The staff that remained has to be retrained on how to clean up. This guy did the bare minimum so he could go home early every night. (thus contiuning to dissapoint the customers). He came back into the shop and commented on how nice it smelled. I told him that was the smell of the floor cleaner he never used.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is…as twisted as it sounds is go for it. Im glad I did.

Remember this:
Dont be afraid, be sucessful.

The Think Tank Rules!!!

There are alot of great people here with great ideas and advice. Dont be shy about asking for help.



Thanks for the info Pizzaviking and the motivation. How long do you think you will be at the main job? Does your wife work? what about your insurance. How much will your shop need to make a week for you to go full time?
just a few questios…lol

I dont know how long I’ll stay ay my main job. I work for my family business in the construction field. Leaving is going to cause alot of tension. This pizzeria did about 300K last year. I feel that this shop should easily do 500K . But as Im seeing, running it as a full time job is going to be more about controlling costs. My costs ( food and labor) are all over the place right now. I think cost control is a more attainable goal to set, thana weekly number. Because, regardless of your sales, costs truely drive your profitablity. Once my costs are in check, it will then be more justified to move to fulltime at the shop. Dont get me wrong, I still spend about 60 hours per week at the shop. Its the family time, going to the gym, and some sleep that has been cut out.
I used to get up at 4:30 3 days a week, work out and be to my day job at 6:30, Home at 5:30 hanging with the family. Now, Its up at 7 am everyday, work by 8am, Straight to the shop till close. During the week home by 11, the weekends, home by midnight. Latley with the POS problems, Ive had nights till 1 or 2 am. Back to bed and do it again. I bowl on Monday nights and then straight to the shop. My older brother and I are partners he is pretty much doing the same with his day job too. We realize that eventually we can split up the daily tasks, but until we are both at 100% competent with the shop, we are there learning by doing.

As for insurance, I assume you mean health insurance. I am blessed that my wife has a great job in corporate America and we pay for our healthcare through her employer.