Restaurateur Hengam Stanfield is the Owner of Mattenga’s Pizzeria, a family-owned eatery in San Antonio, Texas. Hengam is a wife, mother of four, Iranian immigrant, and electrical engineer-cum-entrepreneur. With no prior experience in the food industry, she and her husband and business partner, Matt, increased sales six times in the last eight years. Hengam also hosts the Making Dough Show, a go-to podcast offering practical step-by-step training on day-to-day restaurant operations and how to grow sales.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Hengam Stanfield talks about her pivot from electrical engineer to entrepreneur
- The importance of having systems in place as a business owner
- Why does Mattenga’s Pizzeria stand out from other pizza restaurants?
- Overcoming challenges in the restaurant’s formative years
- Hengam discusses her Making Dough Show podcast
- What was the turning point for Mattenga’s success?
- How good sales impact a business
In this episode…
Dream careers have pros and cons, but what happens when the cons outweigh the pros?
For restaurant owner Hengam Stanfield, her dream job afforded her a healthy paycheck, a decent family lifestyle, and the ability to pay bills worry-free. On the other hand, Hengam was stressed, working long hours, and losing quality family time. So, what do you do when you reach a point of no return? You buy a restaurant, move to another state, and start from scratch. Want to know how this story ends?
Join host Chad Franzen of Rise25 in this episode of the SpotOn Series as he talks to Hengam Stanfield, Owner of Mattenga’s Pizzeria in San Antonio, Texas. Hengam discusses pivoting careers, purchasing and running a pizzeria without any restaurant experience, and the inspiration behind her podcast, the Making Dough Show.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Hengam Stanfield on LinkedIn
- Mattenga’s Pizzeria
- Making Dough Show Podcast
- Making Dough Show on YouTube
- Chad Franzen on LinkedIn
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Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here, co-host for this show where we feature top restaurateurs, investors, and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn series. SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn restaurant, where they combined marketing, software, and payments all in one. They’ve sorted everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom-and-pop restaurants. To learn more, go to SpotOn.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients, referral partners and thought leaders in your space there’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to Rise25.com or email us at Support@Rise25.com Hengam Stanfield is a mom of four and electrical engineering immigrant from Iran. And the pizza lady at Mattenga’s Pizzeria. She and her husband Matt founded Mattenga’s in 2014 with zero restaurant experience, and they have increased their sales six times in the last eight years. They plan to open three more stores in the next three months. Hengam is the host of the Making Dough Show podcast where she shares their journey of being restaurant owners, and how to own a restaurant that doesn’t own you. Hengam, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Hengam Stanfield 1:35
Absolutely. I’m super excited to have this conversation with you.
Chad Franzen 1:38
Hey, before we get before we get into your restaurant, your podcast. Tell me a little bit more about your background. You’re an electrical engineer, and you came from Iran?
Hengam Stanfield 1:46
Yeah, and so I’m an immigrant. I came to the US about 14 years ago. But I was born and raised in Iran. I also got to live in Spain for about eight years. I was studying telecommunication engineering there. And I was able to transfer for college to New Mexico Tech, and got an electrical engineering there. And I met my husband, Matt. He’s a civil engineer. We met there and we got married. And we realized we wanted to be in business for one another. Because I mean, obviously engineering is all fun, but you ultimately are just staring at a screen all day. And we had spent so much time together during college. And once we went to work, we realize we barely see each other. And then when we come home, we’re really exhausted. So we felt like we want to do and we loved hosting parties in our home and you know, making fresh pasta, making all kinds of food. And we thought, you know, let’s, let’s go open a restaurant. And we again had zero experience. So we want to get out of New Mexico, where we lived with a very, very small town far from Albuquerque, and, or Santa Fe, all the glamour cities. And so we ended up moving to Texas we really liked we live in San Antonio area. And so that was about eight years ago. Back then we had two little children. And so one day to the next, you know, we sold our house in New Mexico, and we bought this failing pizzeria again in the San Antonio area. So that’s the short version of it.
Chad Franzen 3:13
Wow. We’ll get more into Mattenga’s and your pizzeria and everything. But first, tell me a little bit about the Making Dough Show podcast? How did that get started?
Hengam Stanfield 3:24
Sure. So it was about a few years ago, that I got a lot of questions about, you know, how we do our restaurants and how we handle you know, again, our family. And one of the things that we have, we found out our strengths being is creating systems in our business, partly because of the background we have. And so I get to share a lot of those things, you know, what it is that we’re doing in our restaurants to make sure that we’re running a profitable business and all on that need to be there all the time. That is kind of what one thing that we wanted to do that again, we have very young children and we couldn’t afford to be at the store all the time. So that led into always on an ongoing basis asking, Where’s the gap? What’s the problem here? How can we create a system so we don’t need to be there at opening at closing at because then you will have absolutely no life and you cannot really expand so that was kind of our strength. And obviously we make a lot of dough in our pizzeria. So that went back to be the Making Dough Show. So that’s though for the dough and money. So that’s kind of how I’m
Chad Franzen 4:25
Sure very nice. Hey, what kind of systems do you have in place that allow you to have a restaurant that doesn’t own you?
Hengam Stanfield 4:34
So in every season of business, you need different systems. So I realized the first I was back there washing dishes and I’m outstanding at it. We’re making are making pizzas and no matter how fast and outstanding of a person I am in the kitchen, back then again when we started eight years ago, that was a $10 an hour job. And those were the ones that first I decided when I need to get myself out of it, I found myself saying the same things over and over, when you do a lot of repeated tasks, and so whenever we hired people, I was training people. And so I’m making the time to be there early morning to train this new team member. And some of them stuck around for a year or two, some left in three weeks, and I realized, I’m sacrificing time from my, you know, our children. And again, our kids were a year and a half, I’m almost seven months old. So they were really little. And so I’m sacrificing time to be here and training these individuals, and I need to have systems and that I don’t need to do it all the time. So I started creating a lot of videos. So when I create, for example, a team member on the menu, I haven’t watched a video of me explaining the menu and this stuff or and I edit those videos in iMovie. I went to the restaurant at 5am. Because I used to work regular operations. So I would go to the restaurant at 5am record those videos, onboarding videos is the vision and mission of our restaurant. And so I started from low dollar tasks systematizing those to get myself out of that area. And we just kind of and we continue to create systems, as I said, your systems break and every level of business. So that’s an ongoing process.
Chad Franzen 6:15
So tell me a little bit about my tangos, pizza, what can customers expect when they go there?
Hengam Stanfield 6:19
Oh, wonderful. So Mattenga’s Pizzeria, my husband’s name is Matt and part of my name is Enga. So, when I lived in Spain, nobody really could pronounce my full name. So they used to call me Enga. So that’s Mattenga’s where it comes from. And so we started in 2014. And between 2014 and 2018, we had the one location, we opened the second location in 2018. And this year being the 2022 and January, we opened the location, May 4, we opened the fifth location. And we’re opening two more locations in the next two weeks, and I can go about how that came about. But our restaurant, family environment, great food and other things that sets us apart. We have like some ranch dips that are unique. We have a metallus ranch that has like fresh garlic and basil and within the ranch. In Texas people love ranch with their pizza. We have a Texas Ranch was jalapeno cilantro with the ranch dip that goes very well with pizza. Of course, we have a Keto crust we make in house with ground chicken and eggs and parmesan cheese. We have a lot of vegan offerings. And so and obviously gluten free offerings, we want to make sure we serve a lot of families with young kids. And we want to make sure everybody enjoys pizza. No matter if you’re on a diet, you’re cutting back or you have you know, allergies to whatever, it doesn’t matter. We want to make sure we serve everybody pizza. So that is what we’re about. We always have a train table in every restaurant, we’re very family friendly environment. So that’s what we love to do.
Chad Franzen 7:54
What gave you the you said you guys enjoyed having people over entertaining people were having parties or whatever. But that’s a lot different than owning a restaurant, what kind of gave you the confidence that this would be, you know, something that would end up being a good idea.
Hengam Stanfield 8:07
Um, I would say ignorance. For one we I mean, we didn’t, we didn’t know what we were doing. And sometimes people you hear that from some people, they enter in the business world, and they look back and like, Oh, I was always an entrepreneur, I don’t know, you hear some people say that I wasn’t one of them. I never thought we would be in business we would ever succeed in business. That’s not what I ever thought we would ever do. We did not know what the restaurant business would entail at all. And once we got into it again, we sold our house in New Mexico and we came here with a rental home. I mean, we had absolutely no other option. And you’d be surprised what you get to do when you are pressed to do it, you will find out what you’re capable of even for example, when it comes to diets and stuff, it’s hard to go on a diet. But if you’re like, hey, you’re you have liver cancer. And if you don’t stop eating sugar and gluten or something you’re gonna live, you know, you’re gonna have six months to live. Well, we will do. Um, you know what I mean? So pressure makes diamond is what I tell our team all the time as well. But that’s how it came about. We didn’t we did not know that we were going to ever succeed in restaurant and you’re right in terms of feeding people. The food is about 15% of the food business. The rest is all businesses, managing people, your finances, your marketing, a lot of vendor relationships. I mean, so much customer service, of course, a lot that goes into it. As you mentioned,[continue to page 2]