What were you least prepared for?
"I guess we were least prepared for the amount of stress that it takes on us and how we deal with the partners. Coming into it with good friendships and good reliable people puts a lot of stress and strain on that to where it really makes the elastic stretch." Todd
"I don't think there was anything you could possibly be least prepared for. The entire experience is quite overwhelming once you get caught up into it. There's no specific part of it that you could be more prepared for. The entire experience is a big whirlwind. You start doing it, you get caught up in it and you just have to run with it." Mike
What did you spend too much time, money or energy on?
"We spent way too much energy worrying about things that we shouldn't have to worry about." Mike
"Time and energy.
Money, we probably spent too much money on food to start with, where we could have wisely spent that elsewhere. But it's a learning experience like Mike had said to me this afternoon, you live and learn. Ok so we bought too much of one thing, you know, you learned now for the next time." Todd
"We came into the business not knowing how many of each specific item we were going to sell. So of course you are going to over buy cause you don't want to get caught without something. Then to over adjust and over compensate for not having enough you over buy again on different items. It's a roller coaster. It goes up and down. But for the most part, things are pretty smooth. Definetly I would say." Mike
What didn't you spend enough time money or energy on?
"Being prepared. The old cub scout motto, be prepared. It holds true in business as well as everyday life. We didn't know what to expect. We had no idea what to expect. We jumped into a business with both feet. All six feet, with the three of us and it's baptism by fire." Mike
"And this is three people who have worked in the food industry for a long time and still jumping into it on our own. More work than we all believed." Todd
"A lot more than anyone could have ever expected. It's still fun. It's the most enjoyable thing you can possibly do. But at the same token it was not something we expected to be easy but we thought it would be easier than it actually is and it takes a lot more work than any us us could have imagined. We've seen other people do it, we've done a little bit of it ourselves and it's just overwhelming. Completely overwhelming." Mike
How do the different seasons effect your business?
"They haven't yet. We're looking forward to the winter coming up. People not wanting to go out. We opened right after the summer ended. We're in fall right now. It's still nice out. Some days it's cold out, so we are getting a mixture of days on and off. Hopefully we are believing and hoping the colder it gets the more people are going to call up for deliveries and such. So we can't say how the seasons have effected us yet." Todd
"We are definetly not a seasonal based business. Where we are in the community that we are in, it's a constant 24,000 people. There is a residence build up here. It's a community of approximately 24,000 people who are full year residence. About four or five miles down the road it starts to get to seasonal residencies that fluctuate anywhere from 100,000 people to 20,000 people. It doesn't really effect us. The same people are here every single day." Mike
What type of licenses or permits are needed for your business?
"You have to have a health department inspection certificate. You have to have a fire protection certificate and a sales and use tax certificate for the state." Mike
Do you plan to expand to expand or stay the same size and why?
"This place I would say is going to be the same size. The food, menu and quality will probably expand the longer we are in here. I don't see the actual pizzeria expanding. I don't think any of us have plans to go into a second one. Our next step up is a full scale restuarant. So that would be our expansion." Todd
"Unless this goes better than we hoped. We can always have another one. You never know what's down the road. You never can tell. We learn how to run this as well as we possibly can and get it going." Mike
How many hours a week do you put into running the business?
"How many hours are there in a week? We eat, sleep and breathe this place." Mike
"I'm probably in here over 70, easily over 70. Mike and Sabrina anywhere between 50 - 60. Matt's around 30." Todd
"So it's a lot of hours put together." Mike
How much vacation time do you allow yourselves each year?
(Laughter from both)
"Vacation? What's vacation? We put a lawn chair out back, just to get some sun. We throw water on each other thinking it's the ocean." Todd
"We don't have vacation." Mike
When was the last time you had a vacation?
"When we worked for somebody else. You don't get vacations when you work for yourself. Especially not in the first 3 years." Mike
When do you think your next vacation will be and where will do you want to go?
"My vacations usually end up in Florida since that's where I am from. I'd like to go check out Arizona." Todd
What was the best decision you ever made and what was the worst?
"The best decision was to start this business. Definitely by far. To get into it, to actually do it. To not think about it anymore. I don't know what the worst decision could possibly be. The same thing? Probably the same thing. It puts stress on the person. It puts stress on everybody's relationships, friendships, partnerships. Your body, your mind. It is definitely not for everybody but I wouldn't have it any other way." Mike
What would you say is your business motto?
"What ever it takes." Todd
"What ever it takes. Do it, just do it like Nike. Don't think about it. Do it." Mike
What is your greatest business decision and worst business regret?
"My greatest business regret was not getting started earlier on my own. Working for somebody and thinking that was all there was to it." Mike
"I think my biggest regret is not coming into it with the correct capital, to set us up to succeed the way that we should be succeeding. That is my biggest regret. But I don't regret doing it. I just regret doing it without the capital. I am happy. I would be happy either way." Todd
What makes your company stand out?
"The food. The quality and the flavor of the food. I think we stand highest with that, just above customer satisfaction and knowing the customers." Todd
"Knowing the customers. Knowing what they want." Mike
Why do you feel most new businesses fail?
"Most new businesses fail due to the fact that the people that start the businesses up, don't have the proper mentality, the proper capital, the proper funding What we did is something very untraditional, by starting off with nothing. Most business should have at least one years worth of capital. Working capital behind them before they even open the door. We came in here on a wing and a prayer and a promise and sometimes we pay for that. Most of the time the benefits out weigh any costs." Mike
"With everything you've heard, we're not saying don't do it, don't chase your dreams. There is good and bad that you are hearing and that you have heard, but no matter what. WHat ever it takes. Follow your dreams. Chase them. Achieve them and make higher ones." Todd
"Reach beyond your dreams." Mike
What do you think are the most important business lessons you have ever learned?
"If you're not willing to sacrifice for your business then you're just not giving yourself enough credit to actually make it. There's got to be sacrifices. Whether it's your time, your money, partially your family, your friends, your self. There's compromises to be made and sacrifices to be made. Everybody including yourself, your friends, your family and mainly your self have to realize this. We gave up cable television right now because the money can go elsewhere." Todd
What are your top ten business rules that you follow?
"Smile. Work hard. Put out the best product that you can. Be efficient. Cleanliness." Todd
If you could talk to someone just starting a new business, what advice would you give them?
"Pretty everything that we have been saying on this interview. Just do the best you can." Todd
"If you want to do it, you can achieve it. There's no limit to the possibilities." Mike
Finish this sentence. My dream is to....?
"Become president of the United States." Todd
"Be more successful than I already am. Just to continue." Mike
How much capital would someone need to start a business similar to this one?
"To do it the right way, um at least $150,000.00. For a turnkey operation, you talking closer to $300,00.00. If we didn't have the equipment and the building and the name and all those things available to us, it would have taken a lot more than we actually had. Or could possibly come up with." Mike
When you are describing a turnkey operation how do you define that?
"A turnkey operation would be to actually purchase a business outright and have everything ready for you. You're talking for a pizzeria in this area, in this state, anywhere from $85,000.00 to $125,000.00 for the business itself. That's not including any of the food any of the utility hook up any of your normal costs." Mike
What are your major expenses?
"For a pizzeria, cheese. Cheese is white gold. Chees is the most expensive part of the pizza. If you don't have cheese, you don't have a business. Plain and simple. Food costs we try to keep it at around 30%. There's so many different variables."Mike
When you are saying 30%, you are saying 30% of?
"All of the money you bring in, 30% of it goes to food." Todd
What sort of gross income range could one expect from running a pizzeria?
"To begin with, don't expect a paycheck anytime soon. Numbers for the bottom line, it varies. You won't be making the money you think you are going to make in the first month, 3 months, 6 months. You might start seeing a profit after a year. But you won't be seeing the numbers you think you are going to see for a while." Todd
"The first 6 months are the hardest. If you can get through the first 6 months, you get over the first hurdle and then worry about the rest of it from there." Mike
How long do you think it would take until a person could pay themselves if they started a pizzeria?
"Don't expect it for the first year." Mike
"At least the first year." Todd
"If you're not willing to put your heart and soul and every cent you have into the business then don't bother going into it." Mike
What type of range should one expect to pay in expenses when running a pizzeria each month?
"$7,000 to $12,000 a month. There's gas, electric, sewer, water etc." Mike
What would you say to people considering a sole proprietorship versus a partnership?
"Well we can start off by saying, one of our partners tried to pursue a sole proprietorship and found out that he didn't want to do it by himself. He didn't want to get stuck doing all the work. Spending the 23 hours a day doing everything. With a partnership, everyone brings something different to the table. And having three partners is fantastic because everybody brings something different. Everybody has their good points and their bad points. And it's a blend." Mike
"A sole proprietorship is not going to think of so many options when trouble comes or when the good times come or when there is just a need for change. When you have other people to bounce things off of, good and bad. You get a better blend." Todd
What are your 1, 5 and 10 year goals?
"The first year I would like to at least break even. Make a slight profit. 5 years, I would like to have my full service restuarant up and running. Basically the pizzeria is a test kitchen. We would like to get a full service resteraunt which includes a liquor license. There would be a small bar. Different entrees, prime rib, steak, seafood, Things of that nature. Rather than the fast food type we are serving here. With that in mind, in 10 years, I would like to have it franchised. And that's what I am shooting for." Mike
"One year goal is to get this place running where we have a profit and we can begin to or already have begun our full scale resturant. 5 year goal is to have multiple full scale resturants. Be through college and running for an election. 10 year goals I've would have already wanted to be elected to an office. Be looking towards a higher office and have any stocks or claims in a restuarant be my cushion to see myself through my other goals, my main goals." Todd
Any final words that you would like to offer?
"The way that we are sitting here talking, the way that we are laughing and joking and you probably didn't hear half the stuff that was said because it was cut out, but we have fun at work. This is our place. This is our business. When somebody opens their own business, have fun with it. Don't be serious all the time. There's plenty of time that is going to make you serious." Todd
"If you can't have fun with it, it's not worth it. It's not worth being here. It's not worth going through all the trouble, the heartache the sacrifice, if you can't have fun. Have fun, be yourself, enjoy what you are doing. You only go around once, you might as well live it to the fullest. " Mike
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end of part 2 of 2