December 1, 2016 |

PizzaMan Dan’s 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned in the Pizza Business

By Bruce Allar


Dan Collier Owner, PizzaMan Dan's, Los Angeles, CA

Dan Collier
Owner, PizzaMan Dan’s, Los Angeles, CA

During 30-plus years in the pizza business, Dan Collier has advanced from delivery driver to
director of operations for 20 units of Rusty’s Pizza to rebranding as an independent in 2012. He now has eight PizzaMan Dan’s stores in the Los Angeles area. Dan is a regular speaker at Pizza Expo and, with Glenn Cybulski, co-presents The Million-Dollar Pizzeria X 3, a workshop on Monday, March 27.


PizzaMan Dan’s Top 10 List:

10. Keep honest people honest. 80 percent of employees are honest. The rest are on the verge of honesty, provided you keep temptation away by implementing cash control and by monitoring food and labor costs. That and the belief that the last one you caught stealing is sleeping with the fishes.

9. Don’t mistake laziness for incompetency.  Smart, lazy employees will figure out a way to do it easier and better. And there is always an easier, better way to do it.

8. One-on-ones. Meet once per month for two hours with each of your direct reports. Here’s how I know I’m listening to them: Their lips are moving and mine are not.

7. Structure the pay of your top people so that 25 percent of salary is bonus based on results.

6. Speed of the leader is speed of the team. Set the example. Pizzaman, heal thyself.

5. The most important item an owner can put in his restaurant is his shadow. OK, maybe also a video camera or two.

4. Market to your existing customers. They will handle marketing to everyone else. It’s like a legitimate pyramid scheme.

3. Listen to your customers. (Except the guy who tells you to give away free pizza.) They are your best consultants and offer their services for free.

2. The customer is always right. Even when you think they are wrong. Even when you know they are wrong. Get over it already.

(And the number ONE most important thing I’ve learned in the pizza business is:)

1. Marketing is everything and everything is marketing. Customers are the only ingredient pizzerias can’t do without. That and maybe anchovies.

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