Nick Sarillo is the owner of Nick’s Pizza & Pub, one of the top ten busiest independent pizza restaurants in the country with two locations grossing nearly six times the revenue of typical pizza joints. Nick has spoken extensively about business, training and leadership at engagements around the country. He writes about growing a small restaurant business, nurturing young people in their careers, creating a culture of hospitality and more in his first book, A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business.
FE&S: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Nick Sarillo: Be explicit about the culture I want in my organization.
FE&S: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the foodservice industry?
Nick Sarillo: Specific to the foodservice industry, I think consistency is one of the most important lessons I have learned. In order to build trust with our guests and the team of people we work with, we need to be consistent with our recipes, our quality of products, our service and how we take care of each other. All of that builds trust at every level. The other really big thing is anticipatory costing. Anticipation is key at every level of this business.
FE&S: Finish this sentence: Nobody knows I...
Nick Sarillo: ...like swing dancing.
FE&S: When traveling for business, what is one of your favorite pastimes?
Nick Sarillo: I appreciate the quality reading time I get.
FE&S: Other than your own, name the foodservice company that you admire most and why?
Nick Sarillo: That is a tough one because I love the creativity of many independent restaurants, which is why I enjoy living in Chicago. One company I admire greatly and that I believe is doing amazing work on many levels is Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor.
FE&S: What was your first job in foodservice?
Nick Sarillo: Working for my dad’s beef stand, Fran’s Beef on 21st and Blue Island in Chicago.
FE&S: Knowing what you now know, would you still pursue a career in foodservice?
Nick Sarillo: Yes, I love what I get to do every day.
FE&S: If I were just starting out in the foodservice industry, what advice would you give me?
Nick Sarillo: First be fearless, do your homework about what you think is true and then follow your passion. Be explicit about your purpose and values and track fiscal performance daily.
Click here to read part one of the interview with Nick Sarillo.