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Miso Vegan
06-06-2006, 08:01 PM
OK, this thread may be obsolete in a few days or months, if things don't work out, but it seemed like it could hijack the Seattle thread.

I'm considering if it's worth finding a partner to buy Pizza Pi. I don't have a partner in mind - I would probably advertise with flyers at a few vegan places around town, but the mgr of Sidecar also knows some people who have talked about it.

Thing is, I can't work there every evening, in fact, I don't want to work there any evening. I want a biz partner who'd be the operations mgr, running the place during open hours, and I could be the biz mgr, doing the daytime stuff - ordering/receiving, advertising, etc....

Is this unrealistic? And, has anyone applied for a business loan? Written a business proposal? Have any advice...?

Emiloid
06-06-2006, 08:10 PM
I don't know anything about running a business, but I just had to say WOW!!!! You're RAD! I really hope it works out. :happy:

gladcow
06-06-2006, 08:15 PM
I know a tiny bit about small business development. The best advice I can give you is to get in touch with your local (http://www.wsbdc.org/) Small Business Development Center (http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/). They are usually connected to the community college and are government run. They have advisors that know about resources available in your area. They can help you start a business plan (http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html). They can tell you about feasibility. I could tell you what is available in this area, but that won't help you much. I can tell you that the chances of getting a small business loan is small, but the fact that it is an existing business helps. It would be best for your loan chances if your partner had experience running a food service business (if you do not). Your business plan is extremely important for all aspects of this. I would start working on it now, then you will have something to work with when you meet with an advisor.

Feel free to ask me specific questions, I'm just trying to hit the high points.

mountainvegan
06-06-2006, 08:24 PM
I'm torn between saying go for it (we need more vegan restaurants) and be careful (there's a reason restaurants have one of the highest business failure rates - it ain't easy and you need experience/know-how).

Like gladcow said, if you don't have a lot of experience, you'll want someone with a lot of experience. Also like gladcow said, an existing business is better than a start-up. It sounds like your partner should be someone who has an excellent track record for reliability (since you're not going to be running it).

Good luck if you do go for it. :)

San
06-06-2006, 09:07 PM
How exciting! I hope you buy Pizza Pi for entirely selfish reasons... I'd hate for them to go out of business before I have a chance to eat there.

Emiloid
06-06-2006, 09:28 PM
Yes, I'd visit Seattle just to go to the new and improved Pizza Pi. :happy:

I know it's a risk to start a business, especially a restaurant, but I think if you're going to do it, taking over an established business is the way to go. You can inject some new energy into it, add some new items and a new marketing approach, and you'll reach both the established customers and the ones yet-to-be.

A more customer-oriented approach, and (if possible) lower prices, would definitely help you with Pizza Pi. I went there once or twice when I lived in Seattle, and if it weren't for the slightly-too-high prices and the slightly-surly attitude of the owner, I would have gone there twice a month or more. If you can improve those areas, I think you'll do well. There's definitely a market for vegan pizza there, and it's in a great location. You can hardly go wrong.

Miso Vegan
06-06-2006, 09:35 PM
I'm torn between saying go for it (we need more vegan restaurants) and be careful (there's a reason restaurants have one of the highest business failure rates - it ain't easy and you need experience/know-how).

Like gladcow said, if you don't have a lot of experience, you'll want someone with a lot of experience. Also like gladcow said, an existing business is better than a start-up. It sounds like your partner should be someone who has an excellent track record for reliability (since you're not going to be running it).


Thanks for your thoughts. I have over 10 years experience in restaurants including management, and managed my parents' restaurant for it's first year. But I've never had to do the investing side of things.

I think Pizza Pi has been in biz for several years, maybe more than 5. The thing is, I hear his rent got very high so that location may not continue to work, yet I wouldn't get involved if it required moving.

Miso Vegan
06-06-2006, 09:43 PM
Emiloid, I agree on all your points - I'd rather take over an established business, and I think it'd do soooooo much better with fresh recipes and a friendly face behind the counter. I joked to the Sidecar mgr that all I'd have to do is advertise that it's under "new, friendly management" and the business would soar.

Of course, that's not really everything. There are precious few veggies in the existing pizzas, and switching to Vegan Gourmet, and having a gluten-free option, and so on. Plus, more seating, cleaned up, etc.... So it could be radically changed in some easy ways.

Dandelion
06-06-2006, 11:47 PM
buy Pizza Pi.
omg omg omg!...

Dandelion
06-06-2006, 11:52 PM
I'd rather take over an established business, and I think it'd do soooooo much better with fresh recipes and a friendly face behind the counter.
the best part of my meal there was sitting with jenzie. that made the food taste so much better but otherwise- *meh*. if you can't guarantee a jenzie with every meal then better service and better food would help. ;)
i love pizza, i so wish we had a decent pizza place here in Chitown.

bird
06-07-2006, 02:34 AM
I still haven't had vegan pizza (EVER) because y'all warned me away from that place after I got here. From what I've observed you have a very effective style of management and I'm certain you'd be successful at this venture. I can't wait to hear more news about developments as they happen. :love:

Miso Vegan
06-07-2006, 01:33 PM
yo, bird, get to Sidecar on Friday evening (they close at 8) for the fresh delivery of frozen Tofutti pizza. It's - well - good enough. At least you'll be able to say you had vegan pizza. :blank:

and thank you for your kind words. :kiss:

Miso Vegan
06-07-2006, 01:34 PM
omg omg omg!...
I htink you missed the part about it all being in the realm of supposition at this point... ;)

And as for guaranteeing a jenzie at every meal, I'll see what I can do! a jenzie, good food, and great customer service? Look out!

Dandelion
06-07-2006, 02:09 PM
I htink you missed the part about it all being in the realm of supposition at this point... ;)
yeee-ah, like i said:

omg omg omg!...i'll add a half dozen "omg"s if it really happens. i don't wanna jinx it though. ;)


And as for guaranteeing a jenzie at every meal, I'll see what I can do! a jenzie, good food, and great customer service? Look out!
// /
O_i__|

mountainvegan
06-07-2006, 10:39 PM
Well, it sounds like you have the experience; you just need a good partner and a good deal. It’s difficult to assess the value of businesses, including restaurants. I know a little about how to figure what to pay (if anything) based on expected future cash flows, but figuring what future cash flows might be is the difficult part. You might want to do some Internet research on valuing restaurants, etc.

About vegan pizzas, Mrs. MV makes incredible pizzas! I just downed one tonight! She’s trained as a chef and has been able to translate a lot of stuff into yummy veganese. ;)

Miso Vegan
06-08-2006, 12:48 PM
IF this deal happens, and that's a big ol' IF, I'll be seeking pizza recipes. Thinking if I name them after the people who submit them, the cumstomers would have a feeling of connectedness or ownership and will want to come back again and again.... :yes:

I really feel like I should stop talking about it because I could jinx it, yet, how can I make this happen if I don't talk it up, find out what the options are, etc?


eta: This morning, I had a very long, detailed dream about having a conversation with Russ about taking it over. Apparently, he hides his British accent at his shop, 'cuz it was clearly British in our conversation! :silly:

Dandelion
06-08-2006, 12:56 PM
all ya gotta do is enclose your post in the special tag like so:
OMG! i can't WAIT until the new vegan pizzeria opens! :silly:
*dreams of Dandelion Pizza*

Miso Vegan
06-08-2006, 04:23 PM
wow, there's a No Jinx tag?!? Brilliant! This site is too awesome. :yes:


*also dreams of Dandelion Pizza* :drool:

Miso Vegan
06-17-2006, 09:53 PM
Well, folks, I'm sorry to say that Russ is not selling Pizza Pi. He's simply closing down, will not be selling the name or the entity or the recipes. He's only interested in selling the equipment, and a buyer could work out a deal to take over the lease.

Darnit.

BeachBum
06-17-2006, 10:45 PM
That's too bad. I like making the trip up to Seattle to eat and Pizza Pi is definitely a novelty. A new & improved Pizza Pi would be an even better reason to visit. Is there any reason you couldn't start your own in the same location with better recipes and a better name? Could you get the same phone number? I'm sure that's up to the phone company and not the previous owner.

I thought their pizza at Pizza Pi was only OK. From what I remember they used rice cheese, and there are a lot better vegan soy cheeses out there. If you've never been to Sages Cafe in Salt Lake City, they have an amazing vegan pizza buffet on Tuesday nights without even using soy cheese. If you're still interested in pursuing, you should check it out for "research." http://www.sagescafe.com/index.php

Maybe Sages Cafe would want a "Sages Pizza" franchise and they could sell you the recipes? You never know! I realize Sages probably has no name recognition in Seattle and that's what you were really after.

Emiloid
06-17-2006, 11:07 PM
Is there any reason you couldn't start your own in the same location with better recipes and a better name?

Yeah, you could call it "Miso Hungry"!! Oh wait, that sounds like Japanese food. :blank:

Miso Vegan
06-18-2006, 01:30 AM
"Miso Hungry" :laugh: :laugh:

Thing is, I have no interest in starting a business right now. I only wanted to consider buying Pizza Pi because it was established, with brand recognition. I actually DO NOT want to own a pizzeria, but it seemed like a good investment in that it was established and had growth potential. Not to mention :cool:

I know his rice-cheeses pizzas weren't so good. I know FYH cheese or no cheese could be better. I wouldn't have (had he been selling them) kept and used his recipes, except for customers who wanted soy-free.

But it's a moot point. I'm not buying his biz, and I'm not starting my own.

Emiloid
06-18-2006, 12:07 PM
It would have been cool. We can always imagine the parallel universe where you did buy it and everything worked out perfectly. :happy:

Miso Vegan
06-18-2006, 03:12 PM
In my parallel universe, it's so successful that I don't even have to work there, I just live off the profits! :happy:

quagga
06-18-2006, 06:42 PM
In my parallel universe, it's so successful that I don't even have to work there, I just live off the profits! :happy:

How about...you're the CEO of a vegan pizza pi franchise?

Miso Vegan
07-29-2006, 02:29 AM
Apparently, Russ WAS willing to sell, he just didn't want to sell to ME. :mad:

From the newsletter:
Pizza Pi is SAVED!

Good news! Pizza Pi is not, I repeat IS NOT going out of business! As of August 1, Pizza Pi will have a new owner, Kevin Grossman. Kevin is stepping into my size 12 shoes with the intent of carrying the 100% vegan pizzeria torch that was my dream over four years ago.

I am very happy for Kevin and for the Seattle vegan community and I wish him more success than he can handle. To that end...
We need your help!

I will be training Kevin's new staff for the month of August. Obviously, we can't expect to encounter every circumstance for that month, but they won't learn much at all if business is slow. What can you do? Come eat as much pizza as you can possibly stand in the month of August. We gotta get these kids up to speed if they are to produce the high quality pizza you have come to love. So to help you even more, we're making the August eCoupon UNLIMITED! Use it as many times as you want during the month (details in the fine print of the eCoupon).

So come on by and say hi to Kevin and the kids and order a pizza. They need the practice!

As for me, I hereby slip into obscurity. I am preparing to move home to California, my old stompin' grounds, in the coming months. Much of my family is there and recent life changes have provided the opportunity for me to go back.

I appreciate all the business over the past 3 1/2+ years and have many fond memories of my Pizza Pi experience. I wish you all well and hope to see many of you in the next month as I train the new staff. Make Pizza Pi strong in my absence. Seattle deserves a vegan pizzeria!

Thanks again,

-Russ

Miso Vegan
07-29-2006, 02:31 AM
However, I'm now VERY HAPPY!! (See bold print) Yay to the Grossmans!!!

A message from Pizza Pi's new owners, The Grossmans

Terrific tasting pizzas, and vegan! That's what attracted us to Pizza Pi. We had just discovered it when the founder Russ said he was closing up. After some soul searching and conversations with Russ, I'm pleased to share with you that our family will be taking over Pizza Pi on August 1st, 2006. We will build on the foundation of its four year history and great recipes and look forward to serving you many pies in the future.

Our philosophy is that great tasting food and sound food choices can support our being compassionate, responsible humans on the planet - as the wonderful pizzas at Pizza Pi prove. We enjoy good vegan food and feel strongly that providing delicious plant based dining options is important and enjoyable. We also felt it was a terrific opportunity to create jobs for a number of vegan or vegan friendly people that we know who like food, people and especially pizzas, so here we go!

The five of us family members live in Shoreline, with three in Shorewood Highschool and one at Shoreline Community College. Our home also includes a terrific 12 year old rescued greyhound, a humane society adopted 10 year old shepherd/chow mix with a continuously wagging tail, a rescued mutt puppy who's giving the older dogs a boost of energy, as well as 3 leopard geckos, a corn snake, and Harpo our hedgehog - we have a very critter friendly home.

We look forward to meeting you and making you lots of wonderful pizzas!

Because August is really a "training month" for us (not on taste, just on production turnaround and operations), we're extending Russ' traditional 10% discount for e-newsletter recipients to all visits that you make in the month of August, not just one. The volume will help us with training and getting going as the new owners, so we are happy to provide the discount to you as often as you'll come and visit us in August!

Best regards,

The Grossmans

bird
07-29-2006, 02:31 AM
WTF?! After all the abuse he heaped on people, now he wants our support? Yeah, whatever. Hopefully at least the new people are nicer, although if Russ approved them, and he rejected you, that doesn't bode well. I guess we'll have to see. :umm:

bird
07-29-2006, 02:34 AM
Oh, I guess the new people seem nice. Then again, Russ doesn't even come across as horrible in the letter he wrote. I guess you can't know for sure until you really meet them. But, still, a rescued greyhound and vegan jobs, that's cool. I'm still mad that he gave them his recipes, though! What's up with him suddenly being willing to sell them? Whatever. :rolleyes:

Miso Vegan
07-29-2006, 02:35 AM
Yeah but remember? I didn't really want to buy it, I just didn't want it to close. My guess is that he realized he was being silly to NOT sell, and the Grossmans walked in the door.

Miso Vegan
07-29-2006, 02:36 AM
Oh, I guess the new people seem nice. Then again, Russ doesn't even come across as horrible in the letter he wrote. I guess you can't know for sure until you really meet them.
So true. I remember, after going there many times I joined his mailing list and read his writing, and I thought, Wow! He's a really engaging writer! How weird!

wildmindgirl
07-30-2006, 10:06 PM
We're just getting to know Seattle and went to Pizza Pi this afternoon...they were closed but we spoke to the new owner who said they're opening in 2 days I believe. Anyway, I saw in a previous email in this thread and now realize what he meant when he said they were doing a "changeover". I see in that email that he mentioned an ecoupon for August.....I looked up the Pizza Pi site and found no mention. Could a seasoned Seattleite help me out there? We want to go pick up a pizza when they open.

We also dropped into Sidecar for the first time today and bought some fried tofu for $2.00....great stuff. We met the lovely Bailey working there today who also lives near Greenlake. Oh, and we got a Mighty-O donut for the first time. Sigh!!! What a great Seattle vegan day :D

Miso Vegan
07-30-2006, 11:12 PM
wildmindgirl, I will PM you my email address - you have to be on the email list to get the coupon, so it's by email address.

The coupon gives you 10% off any calzone or pizza.

Normally, I would have been working at Sidecar today, but I took off today for a Vegan Meetup and for having Starfish so new. I'll be there most Sundays, 10-2.

And, frankly, I'm not sure what kind of self-respecting vegan wouldn't have had a Mighty-O sooner.... :o How long have you been here, now?!

wildmindgirl
07-30-2006, 11:32 PM
Miso Vegan I had HOPED I would get to meet you today.
!!! I remembered reading that you work at the Sidecar. I'll look forward to saying hi another time.

We've been here 3 whole weeks. We're from the Sumner/Graham/Bonney Lake area and Seattle is where we've come to escape from the rat race the past many years. We're having fun pawing through the city and getting to know it through and through. As much as you can in 3 weeks. Thanks in advance for the PM!!!!
Katie

mamaquilla
07-31-2006, 02:10 AM
Yay wildmindgirl! You two did all the great Seattle Vegan things!

Miso Vegan
07-31-2006, 02:19 PM
I feel a Seattle VRF event coming on....

jenzie
07-31-2006, 03:18 PM
I feel a Seattle VRF event coming on....

That would be fun. :)

mamaquilla
07-31-2006, 03:22 PM
Yes! Lets do it =]:D

Miso Vegan
07-31-2006, 03:25 PM
That would be fun. :)
JENZIE! You've been so scarce! When I posted the suggestion, I actually thought, "I wonder if Jenzie will even see this?"

I'll start a new thread for this....

wildmindgirl
08-23-2006, 12:21 AM
Even though this is a long-old thread I just wanted to say that Jeff and I finally made it in for some Pizza Pi tonight. We loved it! Actually it's just about identical to the pizza I make at home. We ordered the "fake pepperoni" and a calzone for tomorrow. I don't think that the pizza really needs the little sprinkle of rice cheese stuff---we didn't really taste it. Great sauce, excellent crust and the simple atmosphere of the place was really nice. And we were the only creeping-slowly-up-on-our-fifties people in the place with the college students, so that made us "special". It's on our list of places to go from now on. Very laid back.

San
08-23-2006, 12:16 PM
http://www.pizzapi.net/newpi.htm

CountAgranoff
11-03-2006, 11:22 PM
I feel a Seattle VRF event coming on....

if you do i will try to make it. congrats on buying the the place that's awesome.

-David