Our next 10 years

A vision for Ian’s Pizza 

In 2008 a group of managers and staff met to create a ten year vision for Ian’s Pizza. The goal was to define a picture of a future we believed was worthwhile pursuing. Over the course of two days we explored different scenarios. The conversations were fun, engaging, and creative, although at times they were also difficult and uncomfortable. All of it was honest and necessary. It forced us to answer important questions we rarely think about.  

Why do we come to work? What do we want to accomplish? 

In early June of 2009 we finalized our 2020 vision and launched it.  

Since then we’ve slowly worked to make the vision reality. It hasn’t always been pretty, or as process-driven, as I would like. But the size, structure, and principles we operate by today are consistent with what we envisioned in 2008.  

Four years ago we realized 2020 was rapidly approaching.  It was time to start creating a new vision for the next ten years! 

The process of writing our new vision has meant taking stock of our collective identity and figuring out what will inspire us going forward. It’s also required owning up to areas where we’ve fallen short in the past.  

Out of multiple group and individual discussions two central themes emerged which are the core of our 2030 vision.   

Taking care of our staff and improving their experience is who we are.  

Strengthening our connections and leveraging our human capital will make us a better company. 

As of this writing we find ourselves in crazy pandemic-stricken times. One of the goals of having a 2030 vision is to take us beyond the present moment and to channel our efforts towards achieving a meaningful, positive outcome. We remain hopeful. 

Thanks for reading our 2030 vision and being a part of our journey.  


March 2021



Ian’s Pizza 2031

Today is December 31st 2031. Ian’s Pizza is a federation of businesses located throughout the U.S. with a combined revenue of $35 million. We are united by a shared set of values and a people centric mission.  Diversity in who we are and how we operate has made us a stronger business. Today, 30% of our management team are from historically underrepresented groups. Half of our locations operate in residential neighborhoods and we are now selling more non-pizza products than ever before.  

Structurally, we have achieved a long sought-after goal: All of our owners support and benefit from the growth of the federation. The growth of our business is driven by the growth of our people. Our managers have documented career goals which are reviewed regularly. A robust slate of classes, along with a mentoring program, has strengthened the fabric of our company and helped staff thrive. Today there are multiple, clearly-defined career opportunities within Ian’s Pizza.  This includes a streamlined path to ownership and assistance with financing.  Since 2020 we have doubled the number of employees who also hold ownership stakes. 

Cross-company communication and leveraging our collective resources has improved dramatically. In 2021 we created an Operations Group composed of staff dedicated to solving problems and improving operations. On a few occasions ideas that have sprung from the group have led to product development. Regular staff exchanges occur across the business and when a location needs assistance company support is made available.  

 Over the past decade we’ve improved our efficiency and our profitability. Revenue Per Employee (RPE) is at an all time high and profit margins range from 12-20%.  Strong financials allow us to pay industry leading wages and fuel our popular profit sharing program.  The gains are not just financial.   Technological efficiency has created more space for us to personalize our customer service.  We take pride in the human connection we have with our customers and the memorable outcomes we create on a daily basis. 

We are stewards of our planet’s natural resources. During the past 10 years we have focused on reducing food waste to help address food insecurity, preserve the environment, and save money.  We’ve also partnered with environmental organizations and university programs to support their work.  This includes support for students working to create a sustainable future. 

The quality of our food improves with each passing year. A culture of excellent execution is our norm. Today, all of our vegan ‘meat’ products are made in-house from whole foods. The success of these products has led us to sell them to the public. Using ethnic flavors as a source of inspiration, we’ve developed several cult forming sauces and spice blends.  

Since 2023 employee happiness has been part of our bottom line. We have shaped our culture to promote hope and manufacture positivity. It sounds cheesy, but it works.  Mental health is recognized as vitally important to well-being and work performance.  Working with outside partners, we make resources available for staff who need support.  Lastly, we have improved our ability to balance the scheduling requirements of the business with our staff’s lifestyle scheduling needs. The impact of these changes has yielded enormous benefits. We are a company people seek out. Today, the majority of our staff report working for Ian’s Pizza as a career move.

Book Recomendations

In the past week a few people have asked me for business book recommendations. Here are a few of my all time favorites.

  1. Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

Interviewing is one of the most important skills a business owner can develop. The methodology for interviewing described in this books is fantastic. I became a much better interviewer after reading this book.

2. A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business by Ari Weinzweig

Ari Weinzweig is a hero to many in the restaurant world and the business he co-founded with Paul Saginaw, Zingerman’s Deli, is a national treasure. This book covers a variety of topics and is a great place to start if you don’t know “what you don’t know”.

3. Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

New York City’s top restaurateur, Danny Meyer, details his philosophy on customer service, leadership and how to grow a business.

4. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith

A quick read packed with lots of great insights and fun stories. As someone who has struggled with marketing this books was immensely helpful.

5. The Profit Zone by Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison

Why are some businesses immensely profitable while others barely make any money? In this book, the authors describe several models for creating not only a successful business, but one, that makes fat profits.

6. How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins

This short book takes a deep dive into the causes behind some epic business failures. A great read for anyone running a successful business, but also worthwhile for those interested in creating a long term, sustainable enterprise.

7. Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

This books breaks down what make a business “great”. It also challenges the notion that for a business to be great it has to be big.