Hiring A Pizza Consultant can quite a challenge. Here are some comments and quotes by some industry experts.
Mike Monteleone, the owner of two Barone’s Pizzeria locations in the Los Angeles area, opened a fast-casual pizzeria on top of his existing family-style concept after consulting with a consultant. Mike met with a consultant at an expo, was advised by his peers, and interviewed before hiring one. The consultant assisted with locating a location, selecting equipment, designing a kitchen to handle a high volume, and assisting with the soft opening.
Monteleone points to the consultant’s know-how as a key factor in the restaurant’s rapid expansion. “We didn’t have to experiment because he told us what to do upfront,” he says. Other factors, too, point to the need for a consultant.
Christine Corelli, a business expert, says that restaurateurs should hire a consultant to review their practices when they believe they’re doing everything right but aren’t attracting customers or making money. Ostrander, the “Pizza Doctor” and former restaurateur, says operators come to consult because they are concerned about their finances or are trying to start a new business.
Global restaurant consultant Aaron Allen advises restaurateurs to be clear about their needs before seeking assistance. “Consultants can identify whether or not they’re a good match for a restaurant faster if they know precisely what the restaurant needs help with,” he says.
Allen advises restaurateurs to ensure that the consultant’s capabilities and areas of expertise align with these needs. To identify specific needs, Allen often asks restaurateurs questions such as “What are your concerns? What are you afraid of? What’s causing you anxiety?” He also asks about opportunities and where they see the potential for the company to grow.
Consultant payment structures can vary, such as a daily rate, a flat rate for a specific time, or an hourly rate. Ultimately, it’s important to carefully evaluate all aspects of an organization to find a trustworthy consultant. To find the right consultant, Allen suggests trying out multiple consultants for a small scope of work and evaluating their performance.
According to Allen, seeking a consultant who will maintain confidentiality is important. For example, Allen’s company, Aaron Allen & Associates, they do not publicize portfolios, client case studies, or profiles to preserve confidentiality. Allen notes that the relationship between a consultant and a company requires a high level of trust and the sharing of sensitive information, so if a client feels uncomfortable sharing that information, the consultant-client relationship will be less effective.
Additionally, Corelli suggests looking for a consultant who is attentive, genuinely invested in the operation’s success, and asks insightful questions. The ideal consultant should also be enthusiastic about working with the specific restaurant and its unique details.
According to Corelli, it is important to select a consultant who is confident in their ability to assist yet avoids making excessive promises. Additionally, researching the consultant’s background and obtaining references is crucial. To verify the consultant’s credentials, Corelli suggests reviewing their clients’ websites and obtaining five positive references. However, it is important to remember that not all references may be completely unbiased. Therefore, it is important to ask specific, relevant questions such as “Did you see bottom-line results? How long did it take? Did you see a big difference within eight weeks? What happened?”
To ensure successful collaboration with your consultant, taking a few additional steps is important. Corelli suggests preparing a list of questions before meetings with your consultant to ensure that all important topics are covered. Additionally, if your schedule is constrained, ask your consultant about their availability for meetings outside traditional working hours.
Also, it’s beneficial to provide your consultant with relevant materials, such as blueprints, floor plans, menus, financial statements, etc., before their visit to enable them to understand the scope of your operation fully. As Ostrander notes, there are many ways to address issues, and the right approach will vary depending on the location and specific needs of the restaurant.
Pizza School Expert
Andrew Scudera from the Pizza School Of New York Say’s He starts with basics and asks clients who they are or want to be? “Many people want to get into the game and its not as easy as they think. They need to understand the basics, and get the fundamentals right to start with. You need to get them thinking and taking some responsibility as well. The lights need to come on. Defining the brand identity , knowing the market they are in, and knowing by survey if people are looking for what they are proposing is key. Some clients just think that making good pizza is going to create their success. It’s defiantly a plus point and a major part of it but not all of it by no means .
Without a great brand, a great design and menu in place that’s “profitable” your going to have problems. It’s about doing your research. Is the market their, are your price points correct ,is there lunch in the market, dinner crowds expendable income etc? Also you need realistic construction cost and a true time to open a place. This is something most people don’t understand and consultants need to make clients aware of the fact that the budget can be blown in an instant with the wrong lease and contractor and or Architect . So the moral of the story is be diligent ask questions If your hiring Hiring A Pizza Consultant. Know what it is your trying to accomplish. You can never ask enough questions or have enough research when your opening a new place. You would be surprised how many people call up and have budgets that wont even get the basic construction done never mind ,equipment, training , marketing and capital to market and build the business.
Do you ride out economy or do you jump in hopping things will get better?
This is a valid question these days, with food cost and labor going into uncharted territories a lot of changes are going to have to made in order to be successful. Pricing for one thing is key you have to charge the right price to make the profits. You also must be in an area where people are going to pay and understand the economy “is what it is” and prices are going to be a lot higher then ever. interest rates as well are going to be a big part of the game, and that will effect leasing equipment, construction capital and any other business start up money that might be needed
Getting people to work seems to be a difficult task more then ever. Its not that people are lazy it’s that they expect a lot more pay for the amount of work they do and the restaurant business is not easy work. The workers also have to be dedicated and compensated for what they do. Long hours, overtime , vacations 401k , insurance are some of the basics in all decent jobs. Why should this industry be any different ? When you don’t offer good work conditions you have low moral and much greater turn over and in the end it will cost you plenty . Training cost go higher, quality goes out and customer service as well. You need a great staff and great people you can depend upon! So make sure you factor all these things into you business plan.
Hiring A Pizza Consultant ;When Should You Look For Alternate Recommendations?
If you need help with your consultant, Dave Ostrander advises discussing the issues with them to determine if they result from miscommunication or misunderstanding. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that you follow the consultant’s recommendations. Additionally, certain signs may indicate that someone other than the consultant may be the right fit for your pizzeria. For example,
- If a consultant makes grandiose claims about their ability to transform your business, it may indicate a lack of professionalism.
- Another red flag is if a consultant lists employment experience rather than consulting experience and if they need more hands-on experience in the industry, as Ostrander points out.
- Be sure that what you are paying for is always in writing. There are many verbal promises and communications between people, but all things have to be in writing with time lines and deadlines as well as compensation for when they are not met.
It’s important to look for a consultant with relevant experience, successes and an understanding of the challenges of running a pizzeria.
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