16 October 2017
Changing Dodo Story to contribute more—and (hopefully) make it a useful management blog
We’re missing something. That’s what our team has been thinking while working on this blog lately. And rightly so, because actually, we’ve been missing a lot. Dodo Story was created as a management blog for a global audience of entrepreneurs and leaders. From day one, the blog covered the story of our American branch from the management point of view, which was quite a ballsy attempt to barge into a crowded pizza market in a small college city in the States (Oxford, Mississippi, to be precise). We had our moments on this blog…
Our team crossed America from New York to Mississippi to study the market.
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We found a way to park 18 cars in a lot with 12 spaces (and to finally open the store).
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Finally, we’ve succeeded in building a business, having focused on only two things while marketing our restaurant: product quality and Facebook.
But there was always a bigger picture that didn’t fit into this blog—the story of the entire Dodo Pizza chain as a fast-growing, IT-driven global company based on unorthodox management practices.
Since we started this blog, a lot has happened with Dodo Pizza…
It has become the leader of the Russian pizza market. The company launched stores in Yantai (China), Bucharest (Romania), and Tallinn (Estonia)—to name a few.
We also opened our new headquarters in Moscow, where most of our 60 engineers and analysts are grinding away at our own IT system that runs our business.
And if Dodo Pizza were Apple, I’d probably say here that our IT system, called Dodo IS, is now “the most developed cloud IT solution for running a pizza business.” And it would be true.
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But I’ll just say that our system has become a pretty powerful tool for managing a pizzeria and a chain of hundreds of pizza deliveries.
Stay young, stay hungry…
This August, Dodo Pizza’s total monthly sales exceeded $10 mln for the first time in our history. Despite this growth, Dodo remains as transparent and open about its results or management practices as it was six years ago when we had only one location and the Dodo Pizza founder covered his story on his personal management blog.
The monthly sales of every Dodo Pizza restaurant are public. Being a private company, we also publish our monthly financial report (you can always find a link to the latest report in this blog’s menu).
Even the company’s Monday internal management meetings are being broadcast on YouTube (unfortunately, in Russian only, for now).
This degree of openness in our management practices might not be that astonishing for a small startup, but it’s uncommon for a business of that scale.
So one day, it just struck us…
Every single day, experts of all kinds dole out advice regarding the best management and leadership practices. But real cases and real practice are always in short supply.
Being already that big and that open, we could contribute much more if we shared our experience on our management blog.
We realized that there is much more to Dodo Pizza than just the story of our American venture.
And the challenges we face are immense and compelling
It’s not like we want to toot our own horn on this blog. Building a global company isn’t a Sunday ride. Our management team is facing immense challenges every single day. To name a few:
Our second store in China—Dodo Pizza in Hangzhou—is struggling to grow. In September, its sales dropped to $8,882. Which is peanuts. We’ll have to help our partner to find a way to attract customers in a new market.
Our IT team is having a hard time trying to develop new features that our business needs and keep the system up and running while our chain is rapidly growing.
Even Russia, our home market, is putting up a fight. Historically, like Walmart in its early days, Dodo Pizza was growing its chain away from capitals. Now we’re coming to Moscow, where Domino’s, Papa John’s, and other local chains rule. So far, it’s a bloodbath for us.
Even our CEO had to put on a Pepperoni costume and go doling out leaflets in the streets.
OK, now I’m just pulling your leg. It was the result of a bet that he won—he was helping the guy who lost. Still, Moscow is quite an interesting business case to cover on any business blog: how do you penetrate a highly competitive market while being late to the party?
And these are just a few interesting management puzzles our team will need to solve.
Why not share all these lessons we learn and make a great management blog?
We have a feeling that these challenges we’re facing, these decisions we’re making, the results we’re getting might be of some value for other managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. To study, learn from our mistakes, get forewarned or inspired….
So we decided: let’s make a change. And now it’s official: Dodo Story has become a management blog about Dodo Pizza as a whole chain—and about the struggles you might face while growing a next-level global company from scratch.