Author Archives: Big Dave Ostrander

2009 April: A Pizza My Mind

2009 April: A Pizza My Mind

When trying to figure out what it will cost you to open a new pizzeria, it’s important to remember that your menu offerings will determine your equipment needs. Simply put: the more you offer, the more you’ll need. A simple operation, for example, will only need one exhaust system and won’t use a deep fryer.More »

2009 March: Start Up Tips

2009 March: Start Up Tips

I have opened seven restaurants for myself and at least 30 more for clients in my career. The last one to open was last August in Ohio. I’ve designed fl or plans for stores smaller than my garage (900 square feet) all the way up to a couple of giant family entertainment places pushing 40,000More »

2009 March: A Pizza My Mind

2009 March: A Pizza My Mind

The average customer spends less than 40 seconds looking over your menu. In that time, the brain kick-starts into overdrive and a purchasing decision is made based on emotion, comfort zone, curiosity and cost. Some of your menu choices contribute lots more cash to the bottom line than others. Some of your menu items areMore »

2009 February: Get a Grip

2009 February: Get a Grip

Right behind food cost is your second most expensive controllable expense: labor. Labor cost, or L/C, is usually referred to as a percentage of gross sales. I stayed on top of hourly labor like a hawk. My point of sale system served as my time clock and provided real time labor amounts in dollars asMore »

2009 February: A Pizza My Mind

2009 February: A Pizza My Mind

To a certain point, we are masters of our own destiny. To a certain point. The current economy is in uncharted waters. I hope our elected government officials are up to the task of putting the economic train wreck back on the tracks. I’ve seen and lived through some similar economic times. I remember when,More »

2009 January: Cost It Out

2009 January: Cost It Out

In the last month, I’ve presented workshops and seminars to several thousand owner-operators in eight cities. The overriding theme of the seminars is getting back to restaurant business basics. In every single seminar, I’ve asked the attendees to answer the following question: “How much does it cost you to make a 14-inch cheese, pepperoni, mushroomMore »

2009 January: A Pizza My Mind

2009 January: A Pizza My Mind

On a typical consulting assignment, I rise and shine early in the morning. I hook up with my client and we usually travel to their location. I can get a lot of work done before the phones start ringing and the lunch shift arrives. Imagine my awe when I arrived at a store at 8:30More »

2010 December: A Pizza My Mind

2010 December: A Pizza My Mind

How your staff performs during the rush is tightly tied to how well prepped they are. And while having dough made, cheese grated and toppings portioned are all essential, I’m talking about a deeper layer of prep: that of being physically efficient and fast. NASCAR pit crews spend days practicing pit stops, changing tires andMore »

2010 November: A Pizza My Mind

2010 November: A Pizza My Mind

Approximately 50 years ago, Tom and James Monaghan bought a struggling pizzeria named DomiNick’s and made a splash on the Ypsilanti, Michigan, restaurant scene by delivering pizza — for free.       Or so customers thought. The Monaghans merely built the costs of delivery into their margins and quoted one price. With almost noMore »

2010 October: A Pizza My Mind

2010 October: A Pizza My Mind

I heat my home with wood. I have a boiler backup system, but firewood is a natural byproduct of living in the middle of 40 acres in the forest. Wood fires need attention; nature abhors a vacuum. When the fire burns down to coals, I either watch the flames go out or stir things upMore »