February 1, 2017 |

Mike Bausch: Knowledge is Profit

By Pizza Today

Concept development done right at International Pizza Expo — don’t miss it

Pizza expo seminar crowd

Mike Bausch
Owner, Andolini’s Pizzeria, Tulsa, OK

I get asked sometimes why I’m so passionate about helping newcomers to the pizza industry. I get asked why I like sharing tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and about the techniques I’ve found for making this job easier. For some reason, it seems to people that if you have a leg up, you shouldn’t show your cards. Some seem to believe that if you have somehow found “the secret sauce” of how to make it in this industry, that you should keep it to yourself. I never really bought into that. It seems to me that good actions lead to good rewards. The more we push the industry to improve, the better we all get.

Another reason I want to help new pizzerias is personal — it comes from when I started in this business. I often think back to when I was 22, only six months out of college and opening Andolini’s Pizzeria. I asked other pizzeria owners — from places I grew up on, no less — for help and insight. Instead of help I got a lot of phones hung up on me.

Every year when I go to Pizza Expo, I see thousands of great people looking to be better than they are today. I’m talking about people who have put it all on the line for a shot at the American dream of owning a successful business. People who aren’t looking for anyone to do the work for them; instead, they are looking for guidance to point them in the right direction and help them avoid debilitating errors. I understand what it means to know you have others depending on you to succeed; that redundant effort and misguided trust can lead to $100,000 mistakes. I’ve made those mistakes, and I know how close it can come to taking down a business. Big mistakes aren’t an option for most of us, so knowing how to avoid them is paramount to success.

That’s where the “Knowledge is Profit Concept Development Seminar” I’ll help give at International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas next month comes in. I’ve teamed up with my friend and colleague, Keith Coffman of Lost River Pizza in Kentucky, and we are going to put all of our cards on the table for four solid information-fueled hours. This seminar won’t be filled with the hypotheticals of what you could do; instead it will be actual real-world info that Keith and I use on a daily basis to enhance our brands and develop them into what they are today. In short, knowing what successful pizzerias do on a daily basis to stay successful is what this seminar is all about.

Andolini’s, my multi-unit pizzeria concept in Tulsa, Oklahoma, consistently ranks as the No. 1 restaurant overall in Tulsa on TripAdvisor.com. Not just No. 1 for Pizza, but No. 1 restaurant overall! How did that happen? I went from doing $13k a week in a suburb of Tulsa to doing $30k a week in that same suburban site through strong consistent development of my concept, menu, and brand. That success then allowed me at Year Five to start opening multiple locations that bring in $60-70k per week in sites with as few as 65 seats.

Knowing what you want to be versus what you are perceived as versus what the customer wants — but doesn’t know they want — is a tight-rope walk that takes a lot of trial and error to navigate. Keith and I will teach you about our successes and failures so you can avoid some of that trial and error with your ideas of what might work for your new restaurant.

This seminar is geared for both owners who have been in business for years to the upstarts who are years away from opening (and for everyone in between). A concept isn’t just the name, or the food or what color paint is on the wall. It is all those things coming together in a non-clichéd, unique way so the customers who spend their money with you feel valued and you are proud of the brand. It’s not about doing what you have seen done before and assuming that the path you’ve seen others take is the only option.

Long term success is about real knowledge. When and where should counter service be used versus full service? When should your location have pint night versus family discounts, or is it both? So many styles and factors come into play: do you have college campus demographics or families? Urban or rural? All play a factor in deciding the most profitable path. Knowledge of these demos and how to capitalize on them will help you avoid trying to build a business by blindly mimicking what you saw someone else do.

This seminar will be boots on the ground with the audience. Bring your questions and be prepared to work out your issues with the group as we develop concepts with the people in the room. You’ll learn from others facing the same issues you have, along with the knowledge Keith and I bring to help you work through them. You will see our protocols and procedures to enhance daily workflows and keep the concepts on point and continually moving forward.

And, the actual forms we use on a daily basis will be part of the seminar. Forms and processes that took us years to develop are yours for the taking. That alone will be worth the price of admission. All of this because the seminar we have created is directed to what we wish we had known going into this business. The lessons we are teaching could have saved us thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of effort.

I guarantee this will be worth your time and money on a Sunday afternoon in Vegas. It’s the perfect way to kick off Pizza Expo to seriously maximize the rest of the Expo for you. Take this opportunity to set out on the right mission and direction that will make the rest of the Expo even more worthwhile for you and your business.

See: Mike Bausch at Pizza Expo

W04 Concept Development: From Market Research to a Long-Term Brand Strategy (Fee: $250)

Sunday, March 26
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Room: N252
Speakers: Keith Coffman, Mike Bausch

Be the Face of Your Company and Inspire Your Team to Deliver on Your Brand Promise

Tuesday, March 28
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Room: N259
Speaker: Mike Bausch

Mike Bausch is the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a frequent speaker at the International Pizza Expo family of tradeshows.

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