Almost any new idea looks cool—until you start implementing it. Our cool idea was to sell milkshakes at Dodo Pizza. And back when we first started, the logic seemed cogent. Americans love milkshakes. Nobody in the pizza delivery business sells them. And most importantly, milkshakes perfectly fit our trendy concept.
It’s been more than three weeks since we opened our first store in the US, and we’ve gotten some feedback from our customers. Almost every day, a few people ask if they can customize their pies. But they can’t. They won’t. We don’t allow that. Some people even get mad when they hear, “I’m sorry, but you can’t change the recipe.” Almost all pizzerias in the US have this option, but we have a whole bunch of reasons for not having it.
Let me tell you one thing right off the bat. We aren’t smarter than the smartest people in the market. That’s not the case. We have just been more determined. It turns out that sometimes, determination is all you need to make a difference and get what you want. At least, now we’ve got what we wanted—a website where you can order a pizza in just two clicks, even though it usually takes around a dozen or more.
“You could just as well take all your money, go straight to a casino and bet everything on numbers in the red—the chances to succeed would be the same.” That’s what we heard from one of our competitors recently. Some of them believe that the Dodo Pizza team is on a suicide mission in Oxford since we’re cutting off our phone line.
We said we would bring the best ingredients to our kitchens in the US. We didn’t want to buy frozen mozzarella or pepperoni made with 35 different chemicals (and a little bit of beef), even though we understand why some pizzerias go that way. The best always costs the most. But that strategy can suck away all your profit. The average food cost in the industry is 20–23%. By aiming for the best ingredients on the market, we managed to make it 29%. And that was way too much.