Author: Colby Caso, BSU student
An Interview with Owner Michael Reza
Q: So, let’s start with are you from this local area?
A: I am from Arlington originally but currently live in Wellesley Massachusetts.
Q: Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
A: I lived in Italy for some time and this is where I fell in love with pizzerias. When I returned to the states, I began a career in finance which lasted for 19 years consisting of mostly banking. Towards the end of my finance career I was working as a corporate lender. In this position I financed many restaurants, and this is where I became familiar with the financial aspects of the restaurant business. This coupled with my dream to open a pizzeria it only made sense for me to chase the dream.
Q: When did it start, What year?
A: In 1995 I became a silent partner in a small pizzeria in Brighton which we now know as Bravo Pizzeria in Quincy. It wasn’t until 1998 when I decided to leave my position at the bank in Boston, to take on my dream full time. At this point I bought out my partners and became the sole owner of Bravo Pizzeria. In the early stages of the business we began wholesaling pizza targeting local small markets like corner stores. We used to sell them frozen Pizzas. Later on, in 2013 I opened a second location in Quincy and closed the original location.
Q: What made you want to start in this business?
A: I wanted to start the Business because of the time I spent overseas in Italy. This is where my inspiration grew of opening my own pizzeria.
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
A: I had several challenges during the early stages of the business. Some of which included the legal aspects of starting a business as a corporation and the capital it took to get the business off the ground. I also had to find a location. It wasn’t just finding a location that was important but also understanding the product needs of that location. You need to understand what the people in the area are looking for and how to drive them into your store.
Q: What inspired you to keep going when you were getting the business off the ground?
A: It’s about your personality, its about starting something and seeing it through, it is not all about money. It is about completing what you started. Not everyone sees success the same. Some people see it in money, buying a house and others see it as finishing what they started.
Q: If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently?
A: I would have started doing this at a younger age. Where I could grow the business to more of a multi-chain restaurant as to oppose to what it is today. I would have created more franchise opportunities. I started doing it 14 years ago. I have no regret but starting at a younger age would have helped me grow the business more.
Q: What was your most difficult challenge?
A: The most difficult challenge in any business is staffing.
Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: Staffing has been my toughest challenge in 2020. It remains the same. The number one issue in small business is staffing. The number one issue in business will always be staffing.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and three others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try first? What makes you stand out?
A: In order for you to do something like this in your lifetime you have to believe in what you are doing, if you do not believe in your business you will not succeed. Me as a small business, I think that I have the best product out there. A tasty product made with quality ingredients. To top that I have a great team full of good personalities, we create an environment that makes customers enjoy being here. That’s what sets us apart, exceptional quality, great tastes and a clean and welcoming place to enjoy our food. We also have things that set us apart from our competition. We have booths, TV’s, a great selection of draft and craft beer, and giant windows that open up in the summer time that you can enjoy our ice cream by.
Q: What is the number 1 way you bring in new customers?
A: Word of mouth. Luckily, we have not had do any advertising. When you have good quality product and a clean spot, people will talk about you. It creates a buzz and others want to come experience it.
Q: Has Internet technology played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
A: Absolutely, that is how people see you these days, they do not go searching for Brick and Mortar anymore. People search via the Internet now. They search for good reviews. Customer convenience is everything. Now a customer can order via text. This has been huge. I am currently transforming our online ordering from our website into a text ordering system. So, you will still go online and place an order, but it will come through as a text as opposed to fax. It is faster, cleaner, and easier for the customer. There are always improvements in technology that can help your business grow. Regardless of how much you think you have it on lock, there is always room for growth.