Business Builders

Giving Back

Community Roots

When locals arrive at Donderos’ Kitchen via foot, bike, or bus, they receive a modest reward. Similarly, police officers, firefighters, and crossing guards are always invited to enjoy a free cup of drip coffee. Not only do these small gestures make these groups feel special, announcing their availability via Facebook also helps Tim Dondero deepen his roots within his socially conscious community!

Tim Dondero, Co-Owner Donderos’ Kitchen Athens, GA

Reinforcing “Ownership”

In her upscale café, restaurateur Sadie Kennedy created an employee bonus that gives her team greater “ownership” over satisfying customers.

Every employee, from dishwasher to team leader, can earn an additional $1 for every hour they work during the month. To pay the bonus, the restaurant has to clear a reasonable profit hurdle at month end. (In four years, employees have missed only three bonuses.)

Employees pulling their weight get 100% payout. It is rare, but employees who appear to be slacking are reminded that until their performance improves, they will earn a smaller percentage.

The fact that the bonus payout is not guaranteed helps focus everyone on pitching in, being productive, and, most importantly, delighting customers! A definite win/win!

Sadie Kennedy, Owner Fancy Pantry Alpharetta, GA


Mobile Pizzeria

In addition to his Houston, TX, brick and mortar pizzeria, Si Mendoza decided to transform a U-Haul moving truck into a four-person mobile pizzeria. The truck’s built-in loading ramp made provisioning fast and easy. Its heavy-duty hardwood cargo floor also easily supported full-sized commercial restaurant equipment.

While the truck’s “overhead” costs are less than opening a second location, operating profitably requires constantly scouting ahead for new locations with plenty of walk-up traffic. This includes lunch stops near hungry workers, evenings outside of brewpubs, and weekend events, like fundraisers, carnivals, and kids’ sports.

When multiple food trucks congregate, offering freshly baked, top quality pizza helps differentiate Si’s offerings. This is especially true in Houston, where trucks selling Mexican cuisine are far more common.

The mobile pizzeria has also directly benefited the original location. Whenever it operates within a mile or two of the shop, Si encourages new walk-up customers who enjoy his food to bring their entire family over to dine at the restaurant.

And while his store is marked by a large commercial sign, his vinyl-wrapped truck is literally a giant 8’ x 30’ billboard announcing both businesses, wherever it goes.

A valuable lesson that Si learned from necessity is that when properly designed, a compact kitchen can greatly accelerate how quickly top quality pizzas can be assembled and baked. To gain similar restaurant efficiencies, he is considering redesigning that kitchen too!

Si Mendoza, Owner Il Primo Pizza & Wings  Richmond, TX