Episode 2: Brave Big Chef - How the Food Network’s Tom Pizzica Pivoted His Business to Feed Customers in a Pandemic
Play • 1 hr 1 min
Tom Pizzica is in the food business. When the pandemic hit, so many places had to shut their doors;not Tom. He trusted in his food and doubled down on a new way of serving his customers without taking on the challenges of take out that every chef secretly dreads. That meant tackling new problems in unfamiliar areas like logistics, and changing the way he thought about the business of food...that’s where we come in. Brave New Companies’ Trip O’Dell, Anna Codina, and Larry Cornett learn about Tom’s business model and share their expertise on how Philly Hots can optimize, automate, and streamline how Tom’s business works more efficiently and profitably while doing more of what he loves.
Key Takeaways
Tom shares how he fell in love with food and his early years in the business
Tom’s experiences in restaurants as a chef and owner, his experience with corporate catering helped him understand the business of food, and prepared him for his new endeavor.
The Pandemic helped Tom discover a new way to do what he loves, making it easier to bring families together with practical, family meals prepared fresh and ready to heat.
Right now, it’s just Tom and another team member helping him prep the food. Tom likes that he is running a lean team.
The biggest challenge for Tom tailoring his menus for foods is automating parts of the business like ordering process and getting the word, so he can focus on the parts of the business he cares about most.
How Tom is building his customer base?
Tom is unsure when to schedule the cut-off time for new orders coming in. It’s been a struggle because he wants more orders, but he can only order so much food before cooking day.
Anna recaps some of the struggles Tom is having:
1. Reduce ordering friction
2. Accurate measuring of the quantity of food
3. Grow the business beyond friends and family
How is Tom accepting payments?
Tom is unsure about doing a subscription model this early on in his business.
The good news is the problems that Tom is facing are the exact same problems companies like eBay and Amazon are facing, just at a smaller scale.
How does Tom manage his margins?
The goal would be for Tom to focus on being a creative chef and not stress out over the numbers.
Larry recommends to actively seek out partnerships in your community. What other local products would compliment your products?
Trip is a huge advocate of getting your data in order first. When that’s disorganized, it’s very hard to see clearly what’s the next step.
Tom right now is tracking all of his customers in his head. He knows that’s not the best way to do it.
Larry talks about the life cycle of a customer and how to best understand that in any business. He also offers recommendations to build customer loyalty.
Trip believes in creating small tests within the business to understand where it makes sense to grow and scale, based on the results you’re generating.
Tom tracks inventory in a simple spreadsheet. He doesn’t have a lot of time to mess with tools and technology. The good news here is that he can automate this process! You don’t have to boil the ocean overnight.
Tom knows that his life would be simplified if he hired one more person, but he is hesitant to bring someone in, due to COVID-19.
Anna, Trip, and Larry offer advice on easy ways Tom can simplify his business so that he can focus on what he does best.
Small businesses are the heart of the economy. That’s why Larry, Trip, and Anna are here to help. No one wants to see a family man go out of business.
Trip, Larry, and Anna share their final key takeaway that business owners can do today to optimize their business.
Stay tuned to next week’s episode, where your co-hosts talk about the cost of living adjustments. You can work remotely from anywhere… but you also get a pay cut — is that fair?
Thebraveworkforce.com (http://thebraveworkforce.com/)
Bravenewcompanies.com (http://bravenewcompanies.com/)
Bctbellyburgers.com (http://www.bctbellyburgers.com/)
Tom Pizzica on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/bigcheftom/?hl=en)
Special Guest: Tom Pizzica.

This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit bravenewworkforce.substack.com
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