A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business
How does a suburban pizza joint end up profiled on national magazine covers and network TV news? (Hint: The secret is not in the sauce.)
When Nick Sarillo decided to open a family-friendly pizza restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago, people thought he was nuts. Having worked as a carpenter for much of his adult life, he lacked any formal experience in restaurants or in managing a small business. Everyone told him no one else would ever care about his place the way he did. They warned he’d have to work 20-hour-days and monitor every employee just to stay in business.
But Sarillo saw things differently, and set out to run his business in a radically different way. Today Nick’s Pizza & Pub is one of the top ten busiest independent pizza restaurants in the country, with two locations that gross about six times the revenue of the typical pizza restaurant. And in an industry where most employees leave within less than a year, Nick’s annual turnover rate is less than 20 percent.
How did he do it? The secret lies in Nick’s purpose-driven culture, in which every employee—from the waiters to the chefs to the managers—is equipped with the tools necessary to do their jobswhile also advancing the company’s overall mission. The result is higher sales, a dedicated team, and a big little business that is beloved by the entire community.
In A Slice of the Pie Sarillo tells the story of how he built his extraordinary culture and shows how anyone can follow his methods. For instance, Nick’s managers engage the staff by tracking and rewarding unusual metrics, such as how many guests request a particular server or the average check amount of each carryout host. Likewise, team members of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to express themselves, acquire new skills, and suggest ideas to help the business grow.