On this week’s episode of Taking Care of Business, join Operations Director; Paul Kelly as he's in talks with the co-owner of Pitfire Pizza; Michelle Johnson.
Tune in to hear all about an exciting collaboration between Pitfire Pizza and Allsopp & Allsopp, what challenges are faced when scaling your business in Dubai and how failure can be a driver to success!
To start with, Paul introduces Michelle, who is the co-owner and founder of popular Dubai-based pizzeria; Pitfire Pizza.
Michelle shares that Pitfire Pizza began as a dream her husband shared of owning a pizzeria back in his college days. She shares that they both were previously working in corporate jobs, herself as an HR director and her husband - Bill, as an interior designer.
Michelle adds that when the calling of opening a pizzeria dawned upon them they set foot into a partnership to start their pizzeria business, unfortunately that business shortly after failed due to ill management and going into business with the wrong people. She shared that it was the best MBA she would've received on what not to do when operating a restaurant business.
Paul then asks how their journey to Dubai came about, to which Michelle shares that her husband and herself were in Kuala Lumpur for 10 years before migrating to Dubai in hopes of owning their pizzeria. She shares that when she came to Dubai, they realised there wasn’t a perfect mix of American and Neapolitan pizzas in the city. So they aimed on creating the perfect dough consistency to suit a palette that meets the expectation of American and Neapolitan pizza.
Paul then discusses the challenges Michelle faced when starting out, to which Michelle shares after their challenge of losing their first pizzeria the second to Pitfire was finding a location. After their first experience, Michelle shares they spoke to new partners which lead them to their first branch in Jumeirah Lake Towers.
She then expands on the process of trial and error, how they worked on the dough, pizza ideas, toppings and menu for months in order to achieve the ideal menu that Pitfire has now. They then discuss what influences Michelle to open new spots around town, to which Michelle shares her bread and butter is mainly in residential communities and around families.
Paul and Michelle then discuss the many awards won by Pitfire Pizza, and ask her about their favourite award. Michelle shares the recent one which was TimeOut Restaurant Awards where they won best Pizzeria. Shortly after Pitfire also got ranked in the list of Top 50 Pizzas globally by an Italian group who commonly call themselves the Michelin of Pizzas.
Michelle then discusses the importance of also holding a strong and positive team which leads the path to success for many businesses and shares how it has helped her. Which brings her to sharing the next launch the pizzeria is having in the community of Mirdif.
Paul asks Michelle how she attracts customers to new joints when they open up, Michelle shares that she uses the help of flyers, digital marketing and mainly relies on word of mouth to help!
Paul and Michelle then discuss the businesses and the negotiables vs. te non-negotiables which brings them to discussing the journey of setting Pitfire up.
After which Paul and Michelle discuss the partnership between Allsopp & Allsopp and Pitfire Pizza. Every new renter moving into apartments by Allsopp & Allsopp will receive two pizzas from Pitfire upon moving in as a celebration of their new homes. These pizzas are designed by Lewis Allsopp and Carl Allsopp, with Lewis’ pizza being a pepperoni with jalapenos and Carl’s being a margarita.
To hear more on this partnership, tune into Taking Care of Business, every Friday!