DetroitPizza-full-Optimized.jpgSo you want to start a pizzeria. Great! Why? It’s the most important question you can ask yourself at the outset, and the answer to that question can play a major role in the success – or failure – of your new venture.

Do you want to start a pizzeria because you like people, food, and the food business? A lot of people think they can throw a great pizza together, launch their company, and it’s instantly rewarding – but that’s a myth. Soon after launch, those people realize it takes a lot of dedicated work and planning just to get their idea off the ground.

If you think you can get rich off a pizzeria overnight, it’s not going to happen. You probably need more experience: work in the industry, perhaps; talk to pizzeria owners; or hire a consultant. All of these can shed light on what it truly takes to start a successful pizzeria.

Before we get into what you need, as a person, to succeed in the pizzeria business, I’ll share why I started Detroit Style Pizza Co. I wanted to build something I believed in and could be proud of, something that could create opportunities for people in my family and community, and something I could pass on to my children. I wanted the flexibility to balance my family and work lives.

I also didn’t want to work for anyone else and the loss of control that entails: anyone can get fired or lose a job, and anyone can lose a business, but when it comes to a business you own, you’re in control. If your business succeeds, it’s because you made it succeed. If your business fails, it’s because you failed to build a successful business.

That’s a lot of responsibility; what you’re really doing is taking a risk. There are a lot of challenges out there. Your reasons for wanting to start a pizzeria might be similar to mine, or you might have different reasons. The reason doesn’t matter as much as having realistic expectations.

So what does it take to launch a successful pizzeria? What can you expect? For starters, you’ll need:

  • A strong drive, passion, self-motivation, and work ethic: you’ll be putting in a lot of hours upfront – up to 80 hours per week, in some cases
  • The ability to plan: know at the outset what role you ultimately want to play in the business so you can build systems that help you achieve that goal
  • Patience: it could take a year or more before you can delegate tasks and focus more on growing your business; it’s also easy to become overwhelmed with the many moving parts of a full-time pizzeria operation
  • The ability to wear many hats: you’ll be baking, bookkeeping, marketing, hiring, training, and everything else… at least at first
  • The ability to build teams: it’s imperative to build a team of people who believe in what you’re doing
  • The willingness to delegate: you must be willing to delegate tasks – you can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all forever; the ultimate goal is to make yourself expendable
  • The ability to build systems: the systems you build will drive your business to success or failure
  • To be a master problem-solver: you’ll constantly be faced with challenges, and you need to have the problem-solving skills to overcome them and even find opportunities in them

Never lose sight of the business side of owning a pizzeria, because that’s the side that will ultimately determine your success. You might have the greatest pizza recipe in the world, but if you can’t sell it profitably it doesn’t mean anything.

Owning a pizzeria isn’t simply sharing your recipe, it’s building an asset in your life. For me, that deeper purpose of what we’re doing at Detroit Style Pizza Co. is extremely fulfilling; I can’t put in words the satisfaction I get from employees who tell me that being part of our organization has significantly benefitted their own lives, whether it’s in terms of experience, financial growth, or personal growth.

If you’re willing to tackle the tough challenges and see your dream through, you can definitely start a successful pizzeria. You can even start a pizzeria that has a purpose and mission people believe in and are proud of – your passion will fuel your business, and when you see your vision start to take hold it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.

Why you want to start a pizzeria is a critical question to answer, because the answer must be important enough for you to see it through.