A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business

Overview

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 ...

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A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business

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Overview

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.

A Slice of the Pie will help transform even the smallest, simplest, and most ordinary business into a successful, high-performance organization.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gearing his work toward fellow entrepreneurs, Sarillo, founder and CEO of Nick’s Pizza & Pub, offers a personal account of being a small business owner, sharing his perspectives, challenges he’s faced and overcome, and the way he’s transformed his company into a thriving success. More than a mere autobiography, it’s also the story of his company and the people he works with. Sarillo expounds on the paths that he has chosen and why, what those choices have produced, and where the results have led. Many lessons are divulged, but he also wants to reveal a culture, starting with the need for a company to create and state its purpose: this means putting forward “sharp, present-centered statements of what the organization already is right now on days when everything works as it should.” Throughout he expounds on the nature of employees as family, their freedom, growth, and their impact on the company as a whole. Focusing on creating “a work environment that’s meaningful to people and worth being a part of,” Sarillo’s stories center on the power of inspiration, learning, and growing: tips and tools that will help move and motivate a company toward a path of success. Agent: Lorin Rees, the Helen Rees Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“If any of today’s army of would-be entrepreneurs needs inspiration to take the plunge, Mr Sarillo offers not just a great pizza but a fine role model.”
The Economist
“A Slice of the Pie is more than just a great business story. It's a testament to how a great culture can transform an ordinary company into something extraordinary.”
—Tony Hsieh, New York Times Bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com

“Nick Sarillo’s restaurants are living proof of trust-and-track’s effectiveness in bringing out the best in people—not just employees, but managers, customers, and members of the communities that a business serves.”
—Bo Burlingham, from the foreword of A Slice of the Pie

“There are only a few CEOs today who have the courage to put people before numbers, Nick Sarillo is one of those leaders. The best part is, his numbers are vastly better than everyone else's. We can all learn a lot about how to treat people and how to run a business from Nick. Inspire on!”
—Simon Sinek, optimist & author of Start With Why

“We hear a lot of fancy talk about creating a transformative culture, but A Slice of the Pie offers tangible steps and processes any business can apply right now. Nick's experience shows it's possible for a new generation of leaders to make a difference while also turning a profit. I found Nick's passion for human potential inspiring, and I'm sure readers in any industry will feel the same way.”
—Chip Conley, Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Author of Peak

 

A Slice of the Pie isn't just about creating a transforming, inspiring business culture. It's about the importance of developing a nurturing, supportive, evolving, compassionate community. Nick Sarillo's story will change the way you think about leadership, no matter who you are.”—Pamela J. Althoff, State Senator of Illinois

“Nick Sarillo understands how culture can make or break an organization, and the work he's done at his restaurant is a testament to that fact. A Slice of the Pie lays out a perfect pattern for turning even an ordinary business into something extraordinary. Every business owner should read this book.”
—Sonia M. Nevis Ph D., Founder of Gestalt International Study Center

Tony Hsieh
"A Slice of the Pie is more than just a great business story. It's a testament to how a great culture can transform an ordinary company into something extraordinary."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591844587
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/13/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 496,366
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Sarillo is the founder, CEO and "Primary Keeper of Purpose and Operational Values" of Nick's Pizza & Pub.  He has been profiled in Inc., Newsweek, and on the NBC Nightly News. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

www.nickspizzapub.com

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