Kenneth Price is a Franchisee at Pizza Guys, an established California-based pizza restaurant with more than 70 independently-owned franchises. As Kenneth developed his entrepreneurial skills in the restaurant industry, he knew he wanted to build his own business. In 2020, he founded KAP’s HVAC, a specialized company that provides commercial and residential heating and cooling services and has since expanded from Oregon to California. Kenneth’s entrepreneurial focus is set on moving from Oregon to develop exciting new projects in California.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Kenneth Price shares his challenging yet inspiring entrepreneurial journey
- The importance of having good discipline and the right work mentality
- Kenneth’s process of taking over more restaurant locations
- Maintaining a strong brand culture within delivery services
- How intimidating situations can be a learning opportunity
- Kenneth discusses the systems that helped him expand his business across states
- Adapting to the dichotomy of running businesses in two different industries
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen welcomes Kenneth Price, Franchisee at Pizza Guys. They discuss the most challenging parts of Kenneth’s entrepreneurial journey, how good discipline and the right mentality are the foundation of success, the key to creating a strong brand culture, and the learning opportunities of starting your first business. Kenneth shares the process of ensuring success when taking over restaurant locations and what systems helped him rapidly expand his business.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Welcome to Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise25 Media, we featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world
Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here co-host for the show where we feature top restaurant tours, 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 combine everything from marketing to 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 spot on.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 firstname.lastname@example.org For the past 14 years Kenneth Price has been a franchisee with Pizza Guys. And in 2020 he founded KAP’s HVAC which started in Oregon, and has since expanded into California. Hey, Kenneth, welcome to the show.
Kenneth Price 1:19
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Chad Franzen 1:21
Yeah, great to have you. Hey, let’s talk about how you got into the restaurant industry first, prior to getting involved with Pizza Guys. What did you been doing? And did it involve restaurants?
Kenneth Price 1:31
Um, well actually, I came to the US when I was 18. And my parents sent me out here to actually play some sports and go to school. And then I started with Pizza Guys, I got a job with Pizza Guys. And I was living at that time I was living with my brother in his girlfriend’s house, you know, on the couch. So, you know, I didn’t have a place to stay. That’s where I stayed. And they lived with his girlfriend’s parents. So it was pretty pretty interesting at that time. You know?
Chad Franzen 2:05
So did you get did you get involved with Pizza Guys? While you were in school after you finished school?
Kenneth Price 2:10
No, I didn’t go to school at all. Okay, yeah, so my brother actually worked for Pizza Guys he was a delivery driver and you know so I I hopped on with him work started with Pizza Guys as a flyer boy and I didn’t have a car nothing started as a flyer guy. And then you know, I met the owner is actually my one of my best friends now at the time. You know, so he, I mean, he was driving nice cars living the good life he would always say I’m going to pick up my daughter for ice cream you know, I’m driving my daughter to school got to do this for my kid you know, so he lived an amazing life you know, he traveled all this thing and then he was really humble, really caring guy and I said I want to be like this guy. And I was like I want to be like him I’ve never met somebody like him you know he was pretty well off comfortable and just like he overall enjoyed life treated everybody with respect and care. So I started with flyers the flyers little bit then I moved into the inside after a while I started working inside and you know coming from there with you know, with our background from work, we can work 1617 hours no problem, you know, you know to coming over here people barely want to work six hours, you know, so it was a big way I you know, I felt like I had an upper hand. So you know, people didn’t want to close that close for them I work to work seven days a week started working more and more, saved up bought a car became a delivery driver became inside, about six months after all of that. And actually about a year, somewhere around there about a year I became a manager a year and a half I became a store manager and then he had a store that was failing. He put me in that store said ready to you know, trained me and train me and train me and you know be at growing that fast and seeing everybody around me like that it kind of I was a little bit too cocky. I was cocky that’s pretty much it. You know not a little bit too cocky. I was cocky like okay, I’m I’m I’m the best I know this and that and so he turned me in a store we started training me and everything. I was little hard headed. We lost money. 678 months losing money a year. We kept losing money losing money. And finally is like you ready? Learn ready to do this? I said yeah. And he goes so shut the hell up and listen to me and do as I say. And since then, it was game over from there. I you know, I shut up. I learned I called him asked him questions all the time. He took his time came out, mentored me He taught me everything he knew and we grew the store we had, you know, broke every record and in P So guys, you know, within the whole two years, three years where there was number one, and then he had another store that was failing, and, you know, he’s like, now we got a party, he goes to go do this, I move out there to Pleasanton, California, and get the store up. And, you know, we’ll be able to partner up, they go, Okay, perfect. Let’s do it. We partnered up there, that was our first store. That was a mission, because at the time, my rent was 1800 a month, and my wife, my kids, all those things, you know, and I ended up losing my house, and lost my car. Just store wasn’t doing so well. You know, so, I mean, I took the deal. You know, it was 20 501. A year and a half, you know, and it was, it was, that was a tough time for me, and, you know, took took a while for that store to get off. And, you know, you’ve never, you know, never had a thought that a store, would you open up a business and like, man, everything just goes wrong. You know, you’re not making money, you do this, you do this, you’re doing all the right things, all the right things, and it’s just the market, you know, just time it’s just presence. It’s, you know, and, you know, I didn’t learn that till after the fact. But during that time, it was just like, man, what am I doing wrong, you’re thinking in your head, I’m doing everything I can do, I’m doing everything, right, I’m doing much more than everybody else, I guarantee nobody’s customer service is as good as mine here. You know, nobody’s pushing out deliveries as fast as us we’re getting a G in 22 minutes, you know, we’re doing everything we can, you know, from, from customer service, to marketing, to handing out free pizzas all everywhere to go on to schools, dropping off free pizzas, going to business dropping pizza, like, we’re not coming in with a flyer, we’re coming in with a pizza, you know, that. So, you know, it didn’t get no better than that. I mean, you know, in the, in the pizza marketing. But, you know, it was the, you know, the $2500 a month that I had to make my rent was $1800 moved in when my brother-in-law, and then probably, you know, probably close to about two years in the store. It was, it was kind of like, this is it, I’m done, I’m finished. I’m through with this. I can’t take it no more my marriage is in shambles. My, you know, time away from my kids. I couldn’t, you know, I couldn’t be with my kids anymore. Living on my brother-in-law, so I’m driving an hour there our back, you know, and then coming home, I didn’t have money. So, you know, we were fortunate enough that my brother-in-law, you know, took care of the rent and everything. And it was very humbling at that time, because I was embarrassed, you know, I come home to my brother-in-law’s house. And, and, you know, I’d say, we agreed that I’ll pay him like 250 bucks a month, and I couldn’t even pay 250 bucks a month at the time. You know, so that was very humbling for me. And then on top of it is like, I didn’t have money to buy the kids mail. I didn’t have money to buy the kids diapers. So it was like, you know, it was it was very, very rough. And like, every day, I was like, I quit, I quit. I’m done. I’m through this, again, taking no more stars not going nowhere. And anywhere. Some reason I just pushed through. I mean, honestly, to this day, I don’t know what it was what clicked anything. It’s just I just kept pushing through. And within a month store just changed. Like literally doubled. And then it just we were then we started to make money. And then we started making crazy money. And it was just like, wow, out of nowhere. And I was like, man, I was so close to giving up. But it was like, you know, and it was just it. I was I was giving up. I was done. I was through with it. And whatever pushed me through. I’m glad it did, because I was just a month away from that, from that success. Wow. And then from there, we ended up buying San Jose. We ended up building Santa Clara. You know, I went on and bought all the Pizza Guys in Oregon. You know? So that was kind of the start of Pizza Guys.
Chad Franzen 9:04
Well, that is, that is an amazing. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting you to tell me that kind of that’s an amazing story. What was it that? Do you think it was just the market conditions at the time that were affecting you? Or did you know now that you think back on it? Did you do something different?
Kenneth Price 9:21
Well, now that I mean, I wouldn’t have done anything different. Anything I did, I wouldn’t have done anything different. It really was just the market. When you’re in an area like Pleasanton, people over there. They’re not wealthy, but they’re super comfortable. Meaning they got you know, that if they want to pull 30,000 out of the bank, they can pull 30,000 out of the bank, like you know today, right? So they’re very comfortable. You know, they’re, they’re well off. They’re very good with their money, things like that. Right? It’s a very great city. So, you know, they choose what they want to eat, right where the kids want to eat, they get you know, so that’s really what it was. So you know, and you have to build that relationship with them, you have to build that time with them, you have to really, you know, build those one on ones with as many customers as you can. And that was really, you know, you really have to, it’s not, I’m, it’s pizza, guys, let’s go have Pizza Guys, let’s go see Ken and that Pizza Guys, you know, and it was really you know, so that was kind of that was in just the timing, you know, you got to add one customer at 700 this month, 710 next month, 71 you got to keep adding and building your one on one relationships with so everybody knows who you are. And that will end once we build that foundation, you know, after two years, you know, then then it stuck. And that was it. Everybody just kept coming and come in and you couldn’t do market anymore.
Chad Franzen 10:42
Wow. So, so you’re so we’ve got a testament to kind of your endurance and you’re willing to stick to it. Things like that. What do you think, you know, since since that time, where maybe you were, you know, let’s say you were? The ground is here, and you’re here? Let’s say yeah, below ground? By the time you kind of got even, what do you think has been kind of a key to now where you’ve taken over more stores and things like that? Is there kind of a process that you have that you know, like this works?
Kenneth Price 11:08
Yeah, absolutely. You know, there’s, you know, you know, when I come into a new store, you know, most of the time I’m already coming in with like, figuring out like, Okay, I’m expecting to fire pretty much like 90% of the staff. Why I’m in that’s why, yeah, it’s because they’re so most of the time, they’re so used to you. You can’t retrain them. You almost can’t, right. It’s not like in my HR company, if I come into a guy, they’re much older, right? In the pizza industry, we’re dealing with a lot of younger kids. Right. And a lot of younger kids, especially today, they have a mindset and they’re right. They know it, you know, versus, you know, in my HR company, I’m dealing with 35 4050, you know, 52-year-olds, you know, so I can come in, they have families, you know, they they’re more understanding, you know, they have responsibilities, they, they know, I have a little bit more experience, right? And so I can come in and retrain them. And they’ll do great, right, though, that’s okay. So you want it we’ll take care of no problem. Versus when I go into the pizza restaurant, I’m like, well, we’ll do it like this, too, like this, or like, it’s harder to do and like just but it’s better. It’s been, you know, it’s better for production, it’s better for service is better for all these things. You know, they want to take the easiest way out, you know, I mean, so it gets kind of you, you literally, I feel like you, you have one bad blood in there. And then it just kind of spreads like a disease, you know, and that that’s a bad, it’s a very bad thing, when you’re trying to build a brand trying to build something, you know, to make it you have to have a great culture, you have to have a great vibe, you have to make sure you know, hey, come into work. And I always tell them when I come in I’m like, Look, work is work we come in we work if it’s slow a little bit, you guys want to hang out talk on the phone, call me I’ll calm I’ll buy you guys ice cream, we’ll chill out and hang out a bit slow, right? No problem with that. Right? But when it’s time to when it’s busy, and it’s time to get down, like I wanted you guys to put it down, you know that that’s how I am. You know, if you’re chill, and everything’s done, and it’s like, nine o’clock, we don’t close to 11. And everything’s done. Like care less if you’re sitting on your phone, chillin watching TikTok or whatever you’re doing, you know, doing your homework right there or whatever. It don’t matter where that phone rings, take it, boom, take care of that customer service exactly how I want, right. And those are things I’m strict on, but I’m not completely strict in the business, right? Because I give a lot of leeway. You know, but man, it it it. building that culture is so important for me. And having the vibe is because i The number one thing I tell them is when you come into store, when you come into work, it’s not like, Ah, I gotta come into work, I gotta do this, I gotta do this. I want you guys to think of this as getting away from the outside. Right? I want you guys to come in here and joy. And I want you get to, like, this is where you okay, you focus on work, you’re hanging out with everybody. You’re not focused on all the problems that’s going on in the outside world. So let’s kind of think of it like that. And let’s try to put it together. So we don’t want to be talking, you know, we don’t want any chitchat in, you know, chit-chatting, chit-chatting meaning like in talking about somebody else. So this employer that keeping great keep the vibrate, keep the culture great, and it makes it tremendously big difference.
Chad Franzen 14:18
You know, when do you think that that, you know, when you go into a restaurant where you sit down and order food, you can you can kind of feel the culture or the vibe, you know, if the if all the employees hate it, you can kind of tell, do you think that affects the the customer even in this kind of an industry where it’s more delivery?
Kenneth Price 14:35
Yes, absolutely is because your drivers is you know, 60% of our sales are delivered, which means our drivers are the only ones that mostly interact with the customers out there, right. So if our driver is not presentable, he doesn’t look good. He’s not happy. You know, I mean, he doesn’t get taken care of, you know, all these type of things. He’s gonna go out there like pizza, and then just go, you know, I mean, we want them to go out there and say, Hey, how you doing? You know, awesome. I got your order, right here you are, yeah, awesome. Whoa, Rams jersey, oh man, we should next time don’t call us you know, you know, and I want them to, you know, I want them to interact with the customers, I want them to spend a minute talk to the customers, you know, I mean, you know, and I want them to walk up with a smile of happy, you know, enjoying it, you know, because it’s a very big part of, they’re an extension of us. Right? You know, so they’re our image when they go to that customer’s house. So I, I believe it is a big part.