Pizza for the people by the people

By Bruce Firestone | Business Coaching

Oct 05

So, you think you know something about modern-era business models?

Well, test yourself by examining what chief executive officer Michael Lastoria has done with his fledgling chain of tiny (300-square foot) &Pizza restaurants, which now number 36 locations on the US east coast.

Here’s his secret sauce in which he invokes crucial elements of the modern-era biz model including lots of differentiated value, solid operational skills, magical branding and an economic model (cash engine) that works for not only investors, shareholders and founders, but also “tribe members” (what he calls his employees) and other stakeholders like customers and suppliers as well as marketing partners…

-average hourly wages approaching a living wage ($14)

-same healthcare coverage for CEO and employees

-young, hip, urban vibe (black and white decor, black uniforms, black and white pizza boxes, walls featuring murals by local street artists, locations open til 4 am, 100 of 750 employees have an &Pizza tattoo…)

-the ampersand (&) in their name is meant to convey unity and inclusiveness

-political activism (campaigning for a $15 minimums wage, for example) resulting in beaucoup earned media

-all stores company-owned so, no franchises, which give the firm much greater control over quality and vibe, although I think they could give consideration to a branchise model (where employees could own a stake in a location)

-small leased spaces (just 300 sq ft) lowers cost of opening and running their stores

-individual stores are allowed to have individual names (branding heresy but it works!)

-trucks outfitted as &Pizza mobile locations coming next and home-delivery too

-extra pay for late night shift and holidays too

-simple menu (just 8 options but endlessly customizable toppings via the company’s app)

-offbeat flavors

-higher prices ($10 or $11 for a one person &Pizza, light but filling)

-texting instead of email for faster, less burdensome communication (every employee has the CEOs cell number)

-100% of leadership promoted from within (that’s their goal).

Above all, &Pizza has raised $50 million in private capital. If you think you can launch a new operation with this type of branding, digital savvy, politically connected activism and creativity on a shoestring, well, it’s getting harder all the time to bootstrap your way to success (unless, of course, you’re prepared to work at it for 30, 40 or 50-years and hope that a better-capitalized group doesn’t enter your sector and eliminate you in the meantime).

Prof Bruce

FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS COACHING THAT’LL HELP YOU PROVIDE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FOR 3-GENERATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT:

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
1-613-762-8884
bruce.firestone@century21.ca
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Read more at, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-10/fast-casual-chain-pizza-pays-a-living-wage

Image source: &pizza – http://www.andpizza.com/img/logo.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46470112

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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