On the SpinFire website you note that you were looking for the next big thing—what specifically made you want to get into the restaurant business?
I had to the opportunity to connect with a pizza industry expert – Fouad Qreitem. Through that friendship I was exposed to an entire restaurant company and was attracted to the idea.
What were three hurdles—expected or unexpected—did you face when starting SpinFire Pizza?
SpinFire is a new concept so there’s the unknown around a new brand. We use a unique, 900 degree, revolving surface oven that we had never ever used operationally before. The great community we are in, One Loudoun, is a new up-and-coming, undeveloped residential area.
Being an established football player in the NFL, your name is your brand. What was your marketing strategy for SpinFire Pizza and what part did your existing brand play in those plans?
The marketing strategy for SpinFire focuses on speed and quality of product. The specialty oven and cooking method combined with the best ingredients sells itself. I utilize my personal brand to impact social media marketing.
A common struggle for small business owners is finding the right staff. What characteristics do you look for and value in an employee?
We know the guest experience is about more than food. We look for genuine people with great hospitality and a willingness to learn.
You seem very focused on the customer experience. What advice or guidelines do you give your staff to make sure they provide excellent customer service?
Remember that we are here to provide an outstanding experience for our guests in terms of both hospitality and food. Do the right thing for the guest; ensure they leave 100% happy.
Owning a business is time consuming; how did you juggle the demands of starting SpinFire Pizza while also dealing with the hectic schedule of the NFL?
It’s all about managing your time and keeping your priorities straight. I’m either playing football or supporting SpinFire.
What advice would you give other business owners who are struggling to manage their time effectively?
Again, it’s all about knowing and keeping your priorities straight. Surround yourself with people who believe in your brand and ask for help.
What do you think is the most critical piece of knowledge for entrepreneurs across the country who dream of starting their own business?
Learning the business inside and out; get your hands dirty and ensure you partner with people you can trust.
What are your goals for both SpinFire and as a player in the NFL?
Franchising SpinFire while maintaining quality and consistency is important. For my NFL career it’s to give my best effort every time I am on the field; and of course win a Super Bowl title.
At SCORE, we encourage all small business owners to work with a mentor. Do you have any mentors or advisors that were particularly helpful with your success as a business owner or NFL player?
Reggie Wayne for football. Fouad Qreitem and Colleen Sisk for my business with SpinFire.
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