Shawn Randazzo, owner, Detroit Style Pizza Co., Detroit, Michigan talks must-haves to start a pizzeria (part two)

Shawn Randazzo, owner, Detroit Style Pizza Co., Detroit, Michigan talks must-haves to start a pizzeria (part two)Like I said last month, starting a pizzeria is one of the most exciting experiences one will ever have. Pizzeria ownership isn’t just about owning a business — it’s about living a lifestyle. This venture has both potential risks and grand rewards. If rewards are in your future, you need to do several things right from the start. I covered five startup tips last month. Here, I go over five more.

1. Great Training Program
Hiring quality staff members is one thing, providing them with quality training is another. Take the time to develop a checklist system for training your employees. Make sure each employee completely understands every aspect of the job, including expectations and company policies. Moreover, work to bring your employees into your pizzeria’s philosophy and company culture. Help your employees take ownership by listening to their concerns, considering their ideas and running with what fits. They’re on the front lines, so to speak, and their input is valuable. You don’t have to (and likely shouldn’t) take every employee suggestion; however, when you don’t, explain why you didn’t and encourage your employees to continue helping you make your pizzeria even better.

2. Systems
Create systems for everything. Every single business operation should have a system with checklist procedures to ensure no task is being neglected. This covers everything from opening and closing to recipes to handling complaints. Creating systems takes a lot of initial work; however, once they are in place they’re easy to follow and will streamline your entire pizzeria.

3. Marketing
Plan How will you get customers to your pizzeria? With a strategic marketing plan. Research marketing and advertising opportunities in your target market, then determine where your marketing budget is best spent. Like business plans, your marketing plan can continually evolve. Always measure your response so you can determine what works and what doesn’t. Over time, you’ll be able to develop a solid marketing strategy with predictable results, which will free you up to explore additional marketing opportunities that could prove to be gold mines.

4. Expertise or a Mentor
If you’re already an expert pizzeria operator, you probably don’t have a need to be reading this. If you’re a first-time start-up, this is perhaps the most important resource you can have: a mentor. A good mentor will help you create a realistic business plan, develop your marketing strategy and institute the systems you need to make your pizzeria successful. Don’t be afraid to take advice from those who have already learned the pizza business inside-and-out (oftentimes, the hard way). If you don’t know a successful pizzeria owner who is willing to mentor you, consider programs designed to help you succeed. The Small Business Administration offers free business advice. SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) offers free business counseling with a counselor in your industry.

5. Self-Discipline, Effort, Passion and Hard Work
Starting your own pizzeria isn’t going to be easy. You are going to be overwhelmed at times. You’re going to spend time putting out fires you didn’t start and you don’t want to deal with. You’re going to have to do paperwork or payroll when you’d rather be home with your family. You’re going to have to deal with all of these things, and more. As the adage goes, nothing worth doing is easy. Your greatest resource will be your own passion. If you’re truly passionate about starting a successful pizzeria, the kind of establishment that will be a community tradition for decades to come, you will have the self-discipline to sacrifice now so you can reap the rewards later.

Shawn Randazzo owns Detroit Style Pizza Co., in Detroit, Michigan.