This is the tenth in a multi-part series about how to start and grow a successful pizzeria, by World Champion Pizza Maker Shawn Randazzo

Before I founded Detroit Style Pizza Co., I had years of experience in the pizza industry: I started as a delivery driver in high school, worked my way up to management, and eventually purchased an existing establishment before launching my own recipe and brand. Now a days I hear of insurance companies and landlords turning people away if they have no experience in the pizza business and are looking to open a pizzeria. They are only accepting those with experience and training. Still, all those years of experience didn’t prepare me for all the trials and tribulations involved in launching, marketing, and growing a successful pizzeria. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ that will simplify the process, help you avoid costly mistakes, and vastly increase your chances of success.

If you don’t have years of experience – and even if you do – investing in training can prove to be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

Types of training

There are several different avenues you can take to gain the training you need to be successful. I recommend exploring all of them to get different perspectives and learn about unique challenges you might face and their solutions. Here are some excellent options:

Formal pizzeria training

Some programs, like our own Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Maker Training Program, go beyond the kitchen and teach you how to build, market, and operate your pizzeria.

Mentors and advisers

Networking within the pizza industry can help you find an adviser or mentor who will help you plan your pizzeria for a successful launch and future growth. Keep in mind finding a mentor is all about asking the right person at the right place at the right time: you’re certainly not going to get help from a competitor down the street, but you might make a cross-state connection at a pizza or food expo.

Consultants

Consultants can fulfill the same role as a mentor, for a fee. If you go this route, make sure you select a consultant you can relate to and who has your best interest at heart. Seek out the absolute best person to give you advice on the things you want to know.

Industry events

The International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show in Columbus, Ohio, and other industry events are excellent venues for gaining insights into the pizza industry. The 2016 International Pizza Expo, for example, boasted more than 80 educational seminars and demos in addition to providing plenty of networking opportunities. Industry events are places of camaraderie where everyone has a passion for sharing and educating others.

Business classes, books, online courses

You might know everything about making pizza, but what do you know about running a business? Fill in the blanks with these resources, and consider taking business classes online or through your local community college.

Formal pizza training programs

Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Maker Training Program

International School of Pizza

APN America

The School of Italian Pizza

VPN Americas Training

Goodfella’s Pizza School of New York

Basilico Pizza Academy

I did it the hard way; when I first started Detroit Style Pizza Co., I had a lot of energy but also a very demanding and stressful job. In order to grow, I had to learn about business, and in doing so I was able to go from being an employee of my own business to operating as a business owner. Do yourself a favor and accelerate your success by investing in training today.