Episode Thumbnail
Episode 11  |  50:47 min

S2:EP11 - Brick Oven Pizza, Doubling Sales in 2020

Episode 11  |  50:47 min  |  01.12.2021

S2:EP11 - Brick Oven Pizza, Doubling Sales in 2020

This is a podcast episode titled, S2:EP11 - Brick Oven Pizza, Doubling Sales in 2020. The summary for this episode is: In this episode, I interview our clients, Adrian and Melissa from Brick Oven Pizza. Their restaurant business has been a client of ours for 2 years now and they are very special to Misfit Media. After doubling their in sales in 2020, Brick Oven Pizza has made over half a million dollars directly attributed to our marketing programs! We've had so much success with them and in these next 50 minutes, we are going to dive into their road to getting there. Enjoy!
Takeaway 1 | 01:58 MIN
Financially Buy In
Takeaway 2 | 01:33 MIN
Breaking Yearly Sales Records Already
Takeaway 3 | 00:44 MIN
A Successful Partnership

In this episode, I interview our clients, Adrian and Melissa from Brick Oven Pizza.

Their restaurant business has been a client of ours for 2 years now and they are very special to Misfit Media.

After doubling their in sales in 2020, Brick Oven Pizza has made over half a million dollars directly attributed to our marketing programs!

Adrian Kueker
Adrian Kueker is the Supervisor of Brick Oven Pizza.
Melissa Morgan
Area Supervisor
Melissa Morgan has been the Area Supervisor at Brick Oven Pizza for 4 years and 8 months.

Brett Linkletter: What's up guys? Brett here. And in this episode, I interview Adrian and Melissa from Brick Oven Pizza Company. They are a pizza company that's been with us for about two years now at Misfit Media. They're a client that's very special to us. We've had an amazing amount of success with them. And we actually doubled our sales with them in this year 2020 versus when we first started with them in 2019, which is really crazy to think about considering the pandemic, of course. They're an amazing team to work with. We've had so much fun working on them as an agency here at Misfit Media. And in this episode, we're going to dive into a number of factors that have led them to be successful from using our marketing programs that we use here at Misfit Media for restaurants, to what they implement as a company on their end. It's actually really incredible and it's so weird. Just this last week, they had so many guests come through our program. They actually broke our system for about a 24 hour period which we'll dive into in a little bit in this episode. But it's really incredible the amount of success they've seen, the dedication they have to their team, and everything that comes with it. I think ultimately, building a great business starts with hiring great people, training good people, and creating an amazing culture at your company. And so in this episode, we're going to dive into all kinds of things from, again, how much are people matter at your company to what marketing can do for your business when done the right way. And so without further ado, let's dive right in. Hi, my name is Brett Linkletter, CEO and founder of Misfit Media, best damn restaurant marketing agency on the planet. Here at Misfit, we help restaurant owners grow and scale their business through strategic online marketing practices. Right now, you're listening to our podcast, Restaurant Misfits. We'll discuss all things related to restaurant marketing management and everything else in between growing a restaurant business. This podcast is also brought to you in collaboration with Total Food service. For over 30 years, Total Food service has provided the restaurant and food service industry with exclusive interviews to the latest news on products, trends, associations, and events. You can sign up for your free monthly subscription by visiting totalfood. com today. And from all the Misfits over here, we hope you enjoy the show. Cheers. Adrian and Melissa. How are you guys doing?

Melissa: Great.

Adrian: Doing well.

Brett Linkletter: Awesome, awesome. Guys, wow. We are looking at about two years together now. You guys started about January, 2019. Now we're entering almost January, 2021. Really crazy, what a crazy year we've had as well. For everyone who's tuning in today and hearing about you guys for the first time, can you guys just both give us like a quick intro about yourselves and what you guys do with Brick Oven Pizza Company?

Adrian: Absolutely. Melissa, you can go ahead and go first.

Melissa: Yes. So Brick Oven Pizza Company like you mentioned Brett, a couple of years ago. I think it was in December, 1st of January, I saw one of your ads on Facebook and I reached out to you and did a meeting and we took a huge leap for our company to go into partnership like we did with you. And it's been two years since then. And so who I am with Brick Oven Pizza Company, it's a lot. So, I won't bore everybody with the details. But I do directly supervise many locations. And in addition probably handle that marketing piece of the Brick Oven also.

Brett Linkletter: Absolutely.

Adrian: And my name's Adrian. I've been with the company for about eight and a half years now at this point. And restaurant years, I think it's kind of like dog years, you've got to multiply it and do some things with it. But I've been with the company eight and a half years, like I said. I started off as an assistant manager. I've grown over the years into the position of a president. Just blessings and also hard work. And as far as Brick Oven, we've been around since 2005. To echo Melissa, she does a lot for our company. We are a smaller staffed company. So she does supervise, she help, we do menu designs. She does the marketing and to reference this long lasting great relationship it became, we've talked before and I talked about how it was kind of shoved down my throat at first. And I was very hesitant just to be candid and frank. And this is developed to something that is way beyond what I thought it would be. And very, very blessed on this, what I call a business partnership. I think that Misfit has also seen some growth through these last two years. Our relationship has grown. I'm sure we'll get into sales at some point. The sales have grown. So just exciting times, for sure, even in the midst of this COVID pandemic, still exciting times if you look for the silver lining in life.

Brett Linkletter: Absolutely, absolutely. Guys appreciate those kind words. It's been amazing working with you guys as well. Just so you guys know, and I wanted to bring this up from the beginning because this is really kind of crazy. I've never seen this happen before with any restaurant we've ever worked with. So just so you guys know, when we run our campaigns, we use a number of different software systems. We basically glue them together to create our program. In doing so, every once in a while, something can get disconnected or everything... software isn't perfect all the time. So some things happen. Facebook oftentimes there's a bug in their system. It happens. But what happened with you guys was actually really interesting in comparison to anything else I've ever seen when it comes to software and specifically working all the restaurants we've done. Just this last week, there's a software we use called Zapier, which basically connects the stats we're seeing through messenger into your report. You guys, as of this week, got so many redemptions and opt- ins, it actually broke the connection to the reporting system. We had to create an entirely new Google sheet because there isn't enough space anymore on the Google sheets that we've been using for the last two years. We're missing about$2, 000 of revenue from the report that we're seeing today, because it broke, it actually broke the system. I've never seen that happen before.

Adrian: You're welcome.

Brett Linkletter: No. I was talking to Mikayla about this, this morning and I was like, " How could this have happened?" She's like, " I have no idea. I'm actually looking into this," but it's the weirdest thing, it's so strange. But guys, outside of working with us, obviously here's the thing. We're having success together because it's a true partnership. You guys are awesome to work with. You guys clearly are already a special brand and this partnership is only helping things get better. But for any other restaurant tourists who are listening to this podcast or watching this on YouTube, whatever the case, what do you guys think has been kind of one of the main, one or two reasons for Brick Oven Pizza's success? In your guys' opinion, what makes you guys different from everyone else? What makes you guys so awesome?

Adrian: Melissa, do you want to start?

Melissa: Yes. Well, I think that we start with, as you mentioned, we are a solid brand and we have to start there. Even when we first began this journey, it was all about, we'll bring people in your door, but it's your job to bring them back. We can make an offer and get people to come into the restaurant the first time, maybe even the second time, but what are we doing inside those walls to make sure that we continue to see that come back? And I've been nothing, but I obviously already knew that we had a great brand. I was very partial to it. But seeing the comments and everything for the last couple of years on every time we put out a campaign or every time we put out an offer what people say about our brand and how much positivity there is, even down to the surveys, when we get our surveys back, it has overwhelmingly been a lot of positivity. And with that being said, I think it comes down to part of it's on us, but more of it's on our people. We have great people working for us and across all of our locations and doing the absolute best we can to make sure that we're taking care of the guests every time and providing the best product. So I think anything I would say to any other restaurants is that it's not a magic formula. It's not going to work if you don't have the pieces in place inside your restaurant to be successful. If you're not taking care of guests, if you're not providing the best service you're definitely going to have to have those pieces in place to make sure that even if the guest comes in one time, that's not what it's about. It's about the next time and the next time and the next time.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. 100%. Yeah. And that's absolutely true. And what we tell our clients is, " Hey, yeah, we're going to bring people in the door," but like you just mentioned, people are going to come back. They don't enjoy the product. They don't enjoy the brand. They don't enjoy being at the restaurant. Absolutely. 100%. And that's, that's always, always, always number one. Guys, I just found something were kind of funny too. This was, I just wanted to share this. Everyone seen this on YouTube. But this was us April nine, 2019. We've come a long way. My hair has come a long way since then too.

Adrian: Mine too. Yeah.

Brett Linkletter: Kind of funny. It's so cool to see though. And again, what happened recently, literally this week, which is so weird, I was shocked to see that someone could break Zapier. Zapier is a very large software company, wildly successful. We use them internally at our company and for all our clients. Basically, it's a software that glues other softwares together, if that makes any kind of sense.

Adrian: Yeah. The communicator-

Brett Linkletter: It's really cool.

Adrian: Not to go back on the last question, but one of the things that Brett, you and I've talked about quite a few times is that when our company was founded 35 years ago, the owner build it on wanting to make sure that we had a quality product. And so you can go to other pizza concepts and get a cheaper pizza. That's just the truth and the reality of it. But the core of we're not experts in anything that is mind blowing. What we really, truly, I feel that our success is, is that don't over- complicate it. You're serving quality food, but you have to take care of guests and it's building relationships. It is going above and beyond. You can watch videos of give them the pickle. We kind of have that mindset. And though, as we're growing over the years, we don't ever want to feel like a corporate chain. We don't ever want to feel like, " Oh my God, Brick Oven's big." We want to be small. You can't falsify that, you have to be genuine in that. And so if you genuinely want to take care of people, if you genuinely want to be part of the community, and not only just externally with your guests, but your employees, I believe in being a bottom up company. And so it is 11:14, right now, most of our employees are in stores taking care of a guest, and we're here talking with you. So in that mindset, who's the most important key factor? It's really the employees. And so as a company, you can have whatever dreams, vision, and goals that you believe in, but if your people are bought into that concept and your people are bought into the core of who you want to be, then that's the land. And so for us, when Melissa brought Misfit Media to me, it was a little uncomfortable because we weren't a company that did a whole lot of marketing. We weren't a company that really spent a whole lot on that. And so it was kind of like, " Hey, let's go on a first date and get engaged." And I was like, " Whoa, slow down. I'm not ready." And what we've seen over this time is that we have invested more trust into this relationship with Misfit Media too. It wasn't too long ago that we had to make a decision to invest more. And so what we did during the first stage of our relationship with you was that we invested into it, but we still had eggs in other baskets. And I can say that we've kind of taken those eggs in the other baskets and invested it back into Misfit, because this has been a great relationship. Because the last thing I'll say, because I can talk a lot is that I don't have a huge marketing department here. And so, with what you guys do, what you accomplish, your experience, we're able to see the value of what you're bringing through numbers, through reports. We're able to see and measure our return of investment. That's one of the biggest things that's been a win for us working with you and your team there at Misfit. So I know I said a lot. I'll back off now. But I think it's got to be a good partnership and it definitely has been, and it's exciting.

Brett Linkletter: Absolutely. Absolutely. I appreciate that. Really appreciate that. And like you said, too, like employees are number one, team is number one. Big thing in our company too, is we always strive for the absolute best quality service we can provide. Every single one of our account managers, we train on a daily basis, every single day. I think a lot of companies, they have maybe one or two months training process for their employees. And then it's over. For us as a company, especially as a marketing agency, things always change all the time. Man, like the kind of stuff that we were able to do two years ago is irrelevant now in a lot of ways. We've changed so many different things. Even with you guys with your loyalty system. I know we recently changed some design stuff, but we would want to add to what we're currently doing, improved to what we're currently doing. And also look at technology because technology is changing. Think about this too guys, QR codes, when we first start working with them, you guys, you know what, early last year, I remember in the beginning, a lot of people and even yourselves were like, well, people are still using QR codes. Like, is that a thing? And well, since COVID hit, well, now everyone's using QR codes. So it's become more standard. So as things change, not just technology wise, but how people's mindsets about search technology has changed too, we want to adapt to that obviously. So we did send you guys a package and I know I asked you guys not to open it because I wanted to open it for this podcast slash video call today. Adrian, would you mind opening up that package for us and just reading it off for us so you could see exactly what's in that special box?

Adrian: It's kind of like being a kid at Christmas and putting the presents under the tree before Christmas and asking me not to open it. But I refrain. I've grown over the years.

Brett Linkletter: So everyone listening right now who can't see this, he's got a really special box that he's going to open for us. And he's just going to explain the details, what he sees.

Adrian: All right. Well, number one, I got a card here. It's got the swag Misfit Media logo, which I'm waiting on to get my next hat. You want me to read the card?

Brett Linkletter: Yeah, just read it for us. That'd be awesome.

Adrian: Melissa and Adrian, it's been such a pleasure working with you over these last couple of years. 3. 1 million impressions, 80,000 contacts, 25,000 redemptions, 42,000 engagements, and 626, 000 in sales. You guys are a killer brand and amazing team to partner with. Unravel the tissue and pull the trigger to see what... do I need to an accomplice on this? We're on video, so I'm not going to get you trouble. To do this, to see what next year is going to be like, cheers. Misfit Media. And I'm unwrapping a present that does have a gun in here. All right. So you want me to point it towards the camera?

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. Just shoot that big. Oh no.

Adrian: What happened was, there you go.

Brett Linkletter: It's a money gun.

Adrian: It's a money gun. The money didn't want to come out at first.

Brett Linkletter: There was too much money. Actually, I had to take out some money from it. Yeah. You got a custom Misfit money gun now.

Adrian: That is super cool, man. Super cool.

Brett Linkletter: So you guys are our first brand to surpass half a million in sales that have come directly through the program. You guys didn't just pass it. You guys absolutely murdered that goal. And in fact, when you guys first passed 500, 000, I've been meaning to set this interview, but then the sales kept coming in even stronger and even stronger. Last month in November was your guys' best month of all time, was$ 75,000 in sales. Best month across the board from everything we've done on every single campaign. So I know it's a little late now because I wanted to do this at 500, 000, but really, really incredible stuff though guys. And it's really, really cool to see. And again, the thing I like about working with you guys though, is you guys took full advantage of everything that we have to offer. You guys are doing the monthly campaigns, you're doing the monthly broadcast. You're doing the birthday campaigns, you're doing the loyalty program. And when all of these things connect and when you can start creating that environment, that's online and directing people in store, directing them online as well, you really start seeing these amazing benefits. And so again, it's... you go ahead.

Adrian: Yeah. Well, I just want to add to that. So part of this too is if you're in a relationship and you're halfway in and halfway out, it doesn't really work. I always emphasize and bring illustrations of relationships because we're human and we all understand that. And so, one of the things is, is that you guys are a great company to work with. We've talked about that. We truly believe that. Even though I have a bunch of one dollar on my desk right now, we're not paid for this. I promise. But with that too, though, Brett, on our menu that you get in our restaurant, it has the QR code for our loyalty. When you log into our website, the first thing that drops down is the QR code for loyalty. And so you have to be bought in to what you're doing, and I think that we can do a better job as a company of having some of that stuff in our restaurants, on the walls and such, but we're bought into this. If you're financially going to be bought into it, you also need to follow that up with like I said, on the menu, on the website, and we're trying to push it on our side as well. And that's part of it. And by that, our loyalty has blown up, like you said, $ 75, 000 last month. And that's what I challenged people to do is because even as great as this relationship is for two years, we also track this stuff in house. And so, yes, you give us our numbers, you give us our information, but we also track it in house and what we do at the end of every month, is we look at our return of investment. So we spent X with Misfit, we spent X in with Facebook on promoting. This is how much we got in return. How much sales we did. And then we calculate what our actual net profit was from it. And the numbers speak for themselves. As cool as your hair is, and as awesome as your personality is, the numbers are what sells it for us, you know what I mean? There's proof in numbers and you got to be all in though. You can't dance in the middle of the line. And that's what we've done. Even more over the last few months, we've invested more into this because of the results we've seen.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. And Adrian, and if we're looking... Yes. So like you just mentioned. So November, we did 75,000 in additional sales, October was close to 50, 000. And then right now, December, we're looking at about 50,000 right now to almost 50, 000. I'm sure we'll pass that probably next couple of days. Actually, no, we are missing a few thousand in revenue because you guys crashed our system to be honest. So yeah, there's that too.

Melissa: Right. And we just opened, so, and in the middle of everything, we've opened two stores this year. We opened a store in October and we just opened a store December. We're just crosstalk.

Adrian: I'll have to reload and shoot again.

Brett Linkletter: You got to do it. In fact, Adrian, there's money in that box too. I was trying to fill the whole thing up, but it was too much money, so they wouldn't shoot out. So I put about a quarter of it in, and then the rest in the box.

Adrian: Sorry, Melissa, go ahead. As you were saying, let the boys be kids for a minute. It happens.

Melissa: Yeah. I'm just anxious to see that gun at the next GM conference.

Adrian: This is going in a case, this is a do not touch. This is do not touch. But go ahead, Melissa, because I know you're getting ready to hit on something important with the new store opens as well.

Melissa: Well, and I was just saying that even through all these sales, we've opened two new stores. And so it's been quite a heavy quarter for our fourth quarter. And I'm pretty sure all of that $50, 000 happened in our new store.

Brett Linkletter: Amazing.

Adrian: Well, because even on talking about that, even in these times just some encouragement for restaurant owners or anybody who's listening that may be part of a business, this year has been tough. We all know that. Like if you were to say, " Hey, what year would you like to revisit?" I don't think 2020 would be on anybody's list. But we did just open up a location in Mountain Home, Arkansas that has broken every record. Daily sales record, monthly sales record. At this point, yearly sales record.

Melissa: Yearly sales.

Adrian: And Misfit has been a big part of that. We have a lot of people that are already part of that campaign that have opted in and coming in and see us. So, what an awesome way to end a very, I'll call, difficult, but a very growing year. Because in the midst of struggles, struggles is the birth of success. And so you have to look for the silver lining. And so to end this year, the way we have, it's just thank God.

Brett Linkletter: So awesome.

Adrian: We're going to quietly walk into 2021. We're not going to like disrupt too many things and not say 2021 is our year. Because I've learned not to say that. But it is a pretty cool way to end this year. And Misfit has been a big part of that in Mountain Home for sure.

Brett Linkletter: That's awesome guys. I love that. Well, one thing I also want to point out just looking at your guys' report is so we have a total of about$ 630, 000 in track sales through our program. If we look at just this year alone though, we're looking at about 412, 000. So we've actually doubled the sales this year in comparison to last year during COVID- 19. Which is, I know we've added a lot more locations too, so that's obviously a big factor of it. I know you guys you're adding more locations as well to the business, which obviously a big factor, but just wanted to point that out. It's incredible to see. So I think the big thing, a lot of restaurants right now, look, they're upset. They're sad about what's happened and they're looking at about it in a really negative light. You guys though, you've been thriving this whole time through. And it seems to me also, like you mentioned touching your employees. Your employees are such a strong part of the team, obviously. It's such a strong part of the company to really propel you guys forward. Out of curiosity, what do you guys currently do or what is like a common practice for brick oven pizza company when it comes to training employees and making sure that they're performing to the best of their abilities for the brand?

Adrian: Yeah, man, I'll start on this one just because... So just to be candid, our training program per se is not as good as everybody else out there. The reason I mentioned that is just because it's more about our culture. We're working on developing better training, better investment in our people because we do truly believe in a bottom up company. And Melissa will hit more on the day- to- day training and how we do that. But at the end of the day, it's a culture. You mentioned that you train your people daily and weekly and all that. And so we have moved to a 30, 60, 90 type of mindset of making sure we're setting the right tone for our people and continuing that tone. But at the end of the day, you can train and do all these wonderful things. But if the culture and the heart of your restaurant and your stores aren't there, then you're missing it. And for us is that this didn't hit us any different than any other restaurant business during COVID. What we decided to do is, okay, the game has changed. So we're at 80% dine- in, maybe 20% carry out. Well, congratulations, you're 80% is gone. And so what we just really did is, okay, well, this is a part of our business we haven't mastered, just as you talked about, making sure you're always thinking outside the box and becoming better. During this season, what we really did is we tried to really focus and perfect a side of our business that we were probably missing before. And so when, whoever knows when it's going to be, when we're able to have 100% dining again, I think that it's just going to make us in a better position as a company.

Brett Linkletter: Wait. You said you were saying 80% dine- in and 20% carry out. Is that still the case? Or what is that now?

Adrian: No. Now-

Melissa: We're probably about 50/50 for the average, probably about a 40% dine- in, 60% carry out across the average of all stores.

Brett Linkletter: Got it. Because that's what I thought. Because I know that's happened for a lot of restaurants. But for you guys, switching to that model, take out, is that more profitable for you guys though? Take out.

Adrian: No.

Brett Linkletter: No, it's not.

Adrian: No. I'm going to make it to that. Now every pizza I'm putting in a box, every salad I'm putting in a box. crosstalk. And so you have that cost thing. And you have an option of, okay, well, now we're going to add a carry out charge to all this. What we decided to do is just weather the storm, still take care of guests, still serve great product. We did not increase all this stuff to counterbalance the profitability side. Without sharing a whole lot, I'm optimistic that we end this year higher in sales and higher in profit than we did the last year. I don't want to share too much, but at the end of the day, again, understand that yes, as leaders, we set the guidance, but our people this year, what they've gone through and how they have overcome is more inspiring than anything that I can personally say out of my mouth. We made it off the backs of a solid financial foundation that the owner set for 35 years, but also on the hard work of all the people and individuals. And so again, when I talk about that culture, as I did earlier, that's the culture we've built. Struggle is the birthing place for success. We couldn't change the struggle that we went through this year, but we can change how it affects us for the rest of our lives. But that's really what we embraced. And so without being too preachy, Melissa, I'll let you jump in.

Melissa: Well, just going back Brett, I think in some ways, obviously if we were 100% carry out, our labor costs might be a little bit lower. But then our food cost is so high being carry out that that was really hard to overcome during that period. And I think that's the reason now as Adrian said, we are projecting to end this fourth quarter on a much higher note, but all of our restaurants have some sort of dine- in, some with more than others.

Brett Linkletter: So on that note though, what do you think is the reason that you guys will end more profitable and better than ever this year?

Melissa: Well, so I'll try to give a short answer. But I think as Adrian alluded to like, when this first happened, we did react very quickly. We didn't wait to see what was going to happen. We tightened our belts immediately. And just an example, all of our salary managers, including ourselves, the supervisor, Adrian, the president, we all went to six days just immediately. And so I think the biggest thing I think that is, is that we immediately started watching our pennies front end. We didn't wait until we got through till the summertime to see what was going to happen. As soon as it happened, we reacted and made those adjustments. Now, did we do the best thing ever? Would we do it the same way next time? No, probably not. We learned a lot of valuable lessons and we know a lot more now obviously than we did. But I think having an immediate reaction and not waiting to see what was going to happen was probably one of our biggest stirring.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. 100%.

Adrian: And all of us, we did, again, being bottom up. We all went to six days. We all had aprons on, working the line, working a position in there, in the trenches with our people. And like Melissa said, we probably would handle some of the things different just because it became a little bit taxing on our employees, a little taxing on our people, a little taxing on us. So, I just say there's two differences of fear. Fear of the known, fear of the unknown. Now that we've experienced what the fire feels like, we probably handle a little bit different. But at the end of the day, one of the things too, we haven't said is, also understand pizza business has thrived during this time. The last thing I want to do is make anybody feel like, yes, we're under the balloon of restaurants, but pizza business was a little bit more fortunate. Because outside of our Brick Oven brand, we have a little bit bigger concepts with bigger square footage and more overhead that we did truthfully see more of a hit on that side of our business. And so we are only talking about the Brick Oven side, our other concepts, it was struggling to keep your head above water. And so anyone listening, I'm not trying to desensitize what their experiences were because the pizza business, we're kind of blessed there.

Brett Linkletter: 100%.

Adrian: And the last thing I'll say on it is, that we did see how Misfit really stepped up and helped us in those times with sales. We saw a decline that March, April, May, we got hit pretty hard, but Misfit, the loyalty was still pushing, the opt- ins were still pushing, and thank God we had that as well.

Brett Linkletter: 100%.

Adrian: And so that's very fortunate through the season. And we learned a lot this year.

Brett Linkletter: A lot of big time investors, I know when they're looking at investing in big companies and I am always curious, but I always read up on these things, but like Peter Thiel, a big time investor, he always says that the most successful entrepreneurs, the most successful business people are the ones that just take action. Period. It's whether you take perfect or imperfect action, doesn't matter. But if you do something right, you benefit from it. If you do something wrong, you learn from it and you move on. But as people that don't do anything where they have these issues, man, we saw so many restaurants this year, from our clientele and just other restaurants that we had been in talks with and whatever the case, just it was almost like I saw this. When people are approaching COVID like, if you approached COVID and you thought, " Man, this is the worst thing ever. I have no idea what we're going to do and how we're going to get out of this." Well, the chances that you were going to make it as successful were pretty low. Then you saw some people said, " You know what, this sucks, but we're going to get through it." They just got through it. And then you had some people, I think like yourselves, who said, " You know what, this kind of sucks, but we're going to somehow turn this into the best thing that's ever happened to our company. We're going to somehow find the opportunity in this," and that's what I think you guys have done, which has been so crucial. And same thing with us as an agency. When this all hit, man, we lost half our clientele early on, late March, early April. And it was scary. We were all scared, but I think as business leaders, our employees look up to us as, " Hey, what's going on as the situation?" So, it's really your duty to be strong during these times because that's what your employees are looking to. And especially in the restaurant space when this whole thing is hitting, there's other industries that are thriving right now. All these online brands, whatever the case, but specifically I would say restaurants and probably like gyms and fitness studios, they've taken the hit.

Adrian: Well, and just to echo that, let's not act like all the choices we made at first were the right ones because we've set a policy in place. And literally by the time we type it out and sign it and send it to our managers, it was almost obsolete. And so, it's not that we made all the right choices. We make different choices today, but we did make choices. And we learned every single day. And it's not that it wasn't scary. It's not that we weren't fearful. But at the end of the day, we became very transparent with our people. Like one of the videos I sent to our people, and maybe I did this one or maybe I didn't, we just talked a lot about it's okay to not be okay and it's okay to be scared. It's okay to be a fearful. But at the end of the day, you still have to... we couldn't change COVID, but we can change how it allows us to grow, adapt, become better, become closer. And the storm is still here. But if you can come out on the other side as being a better company, people more bought in, learned a lot and grew, that's life one on one. So I'm in this crap season, how do I become better? What do I need to learn? And that's what we really embraced as a company. And so far we did it.

Melissa: I will say that I think one of the things coming out of this is as Adrian kind of alluded to, it did make us stronger and closer as a company. Because during the season, I mean every day we're sending out messages to our staff. Once a week, we're sending out videos, whether Adrian or whether it be myself or another supervisor, really just to let them know, like to have that support there. And I feel like through that time, we came so much closer as a company across all of our brands.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. What kind of videos did you guys send out? What is it like training videos or what kind of stuff do you guys send out?

Melissa: Motivational.

Adrian: Yeah. Motivational No. Because as we go through this, I'm not great at a whole lot in life. I know, surprise Melissa. I know you can't believe that. But one of the things that I do feel that I'm gifted with is I do have the ability and the spirit of motivation and transparency and as well with Melissa and other people that we have part of our team. But so we just did different videos of struggle is the birthing place of success. And so we talked about that struggle and how that feels, and it's not fun. We talk about I'm not there yet, but look how far I've made it. And so in the midst of this, we were two months in and it's hard to think about, " Oh my God, look how much further we have to go through this. Like when is the end?" But sometimes if you just stop and look back of what you've been through, you can say, " Oh my God, we've made it this far." And so it was really just and there were some that I was very open and honest with our people that I was mentally tired. I was physically tired. I didn't want to keep having to deal with this COVID. And so it was those types of videos that we would send out on a weekly basis. And just really, again, being a bottom up company, we were inside of this nightmare with them. And it was working a lot of lines. It was making a lot of pizzas. It was sacrificing with them. And I think that on the flip side, you just have to know that the people appreciate that because it just gives your buy in that much more. Because I could have sat in my office all day, every day. Melissa could have sat and had that beautiful picture behind her all day, every day, and just said, " Hey guys, we're going to make it through it." But there's just something about putting the bootstraps on with your people and going through that season with them. And so that's just the heart of our company. And it's been like that since day one. The founder, Scott Stevens, that's how he's always been. And so him being my professional father, if you will, and grooming me over these last eight and a half years, that's exactly what he would have done.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. I love that guys. That's amazing. Like you said, struggle is a birthing place of success and that couldn't be more true. Because it's in times where we struggle where we have to figure things out. When everything's going right, you're not really learning much. Everything's working. We don't need to change anything. Oh, everything's sweet. But suddenly when things get bad, do we have to scramble, become better, do better? And therefore then actually ends up we grow a lot from that. So that's awesome, guys. If we're looking at the next six to 12 months for Brick Oven Pizza Company, what does that look like? What kind of changes are you guys making? What are you guys foreseeing? Any other locations coming? What's happening in the next six to 12 months?

Melissa: Well, I think absolutely, we're going to continue to open more locations. We don't have that location identified yet. But mark it down, we'll be opening a location in 2021. I think we're in a place right now that as we mentioned at the first of the year, going into really not even getting out of that first quarter before we got hit with the COVID and pandemic and stuff, we had to tighten up a lot of things. There was a lot of things that got put on hold that we weren't able to achieve. And I think 2021 is more about going back to the basics and redefining our foundation, making sure that we have people in place that are going to help us continue to be successful. One of the things that I think and Adrian will probably speak to this, that we just came out of even just as recently in this quarter, not only did we open two stores in the fourth quarter, we actually did two stores 60 days away from each other. So one was 60 days on October 5th, and we opened the next one on December 7th. And that was a challenging time, probably a little bit on all of us, but I actually opened all the stores. So, it's been a time where I'm just now breathing and realizing how hard it was to open two stores in 60 days. And I think what we saw through that is like, we will allow this year to stretch us past places we shouldn't be stretched. And so we're really re- evaluating next year. And sometimes, we can accomplish a lot, we can do anything and Adrian's the type of person, I'm the type of person that just go ahead and put it on my plate. I'm going to go ahead and take care of that too. And I'm going to take care of that also. But is that always the smartest choice? And so that's where I think where 2021 is going to find us in. Let's go back to making smart choices.

Adrian: Yeah. And I would say too, I'm sure if someone's listening to this, you're like, " Two stores in 60 days, wow." You know what the truth is, again, that we have, and probably as a point of, well, that's not very many, but understand that we're not a huge brand. And we all have a lot on our plates. Just to finalize kind of what Melissa said, because I'm getting ready to have a meeting with all the supervisors and decision makers in our company. And so just a little shadowing. If I keep taking money from my bank account, but I don't put money back in my bank account, eventually I'm going to get this little card that comes out and says, I'm in the negative. And so that's my way of explaining that we've taken a lot from our people this year, we've taken a lot. So don't get it misconstrued that we made it through this year without taking a lot from people. What I mean by time and stress and frustrations and extra hours. And go, go, go, go, go, and always holding it so tight that I think that one of the biggest things I really want to focus on right now is I want to give back to our people. Investing time, investing attention, investing some more foundation that we have in place. And it's kind of a give back season for us at the beginning of 2021. Because you've got to put money back in that account emotionally, physically, spiritually, health wise, all that. And so that's going to kind of be our focus first. I'll talk to the owner of our company about the next locations. We're also going to look at building or growing some of our other brands. But it's kind of a reset, recenter, if you will. I'm a big reset, recenter guy. And so after this season and everything we've gone through, I think that's going to be our biggest focus. But at the end of the day, it's also getting back to the principles. Are we serving good food? Are we not just serving, I don't call them customers, but guests and making them feel like family? Are we involved in our community? Are we getting back to that? Because the one thing that this year has been as a whirlwind. It's like March hit and then, " Oh my God, Christmas." Well, what happened to the middle?

Brett Linkletter: I know. crosstalk too.

Adrian: Yeah. But we're not going to slow down in growing. But we are going to invest back if you will, put money back into the accounts, if you will, of our people. Because we made it through the season because of a solid foundation financially that our founder put in place, that's one of them. The other reason is because of how awesome our people are. And so we took so much, now we've got to replenish. Now we've got to put back into our people. Because as great as Melissa is, as great as I may be, we could not have made it without them and crosstalk us and woe to us if we don't remember that.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. Man, I love that guys. That is is awesome. Such awesome value that you guys have spoken about today and for all our listeners, I'm sure that they're so pleased to hear from you guys today. If anyone wants to look you guys up, how did they do that? What are some of the social links they could check out or what's your guys' website URL so they could check it out?

Melissa: Right. So our website is brickovenpizzacompany. com. And I stretched that company piece. There's a lot of Brick Ovens out there. So, we're brickovenpizzacompany. com. Of course, we are on Facebook, Instagram also, but reach out to any of us. I know that I've even in the past spoken to somebody that was interested in partnering with you Brett and Misfit. And so we're more than willing to have any conversations with someone. I know that when I was in this journey at the beginning of 2019, and I remember having the conversation Brett with you was like, " I don't know you, how do we jump into this relationship? We don't know each other." And so I had a lot of reservations. I managed to hide them because I convinced everybody else to go into business.

Brett Linkletter: I was the crazy guy from the internet. You didn't know me.

Melissa: Right. But I think we'd be more than willing to speak with anybody because that's how much faith we have in our relationship with Misfit.

Brett Linkletter: I love that guy.

Adrian: Ditto. If anything, I think you get to the end of this podcast and listen to it. We haven't talked a lot about just the business principle one on one, but we're a little bit different of a company. We're pretty, frank, candid, just real people. You notice I've got pictures on the back wall that are of the founder of the company. There's nothing on there that shows my master's degree because I don't have one. But we want to be the best that we can, invest in the best people that we can. And so if there's anybody that wanted to reach out to us and just get some feelers of Misfit and how it's been for us, we're very open to that. And just I'll tell it right, wrong, and indifferent. And they got to do their part too.

Brett Linkletter: 100%.

Adrian: Just 50% relationship because unfortunately those don't work.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. No, I love that guys. And that's the thing is, for any of this stuff to work, it's always a true partnership. You hear oftentimes people talk about one plus one can equal three in certain situations. When a true collaboration, when there's true business synergy, that's where it happens. But you don't achieve that unless you're all in, all out with each other. And that's why I think this has worked really well. Because you guys deeply care about your company. You deeply care about your employees, and you went all in on this, which is amazing to see. Guys, really appreciate your time today. This has been so amazing. Adrian, I really do hope you enjoy that money gun. Melissa, when you visit Adrian, again, you have to try it out.

Adrian: This is in a case, my friend.

Brett Linkletter: I know, I know. Right? Well, you guys are our first client to get it. This is our first time. So congrats to you guys on receiving the Misfit money gun, if we want to call it whatever.

Melissa: No. It's the first ever, right?

Adrian: What gun are we going to get? Or, I don't know if we're going to get any charges, but what we get when we hit a million? crosstalk.

Brett Linkletter: That's a pending surprise. It's to be determined right now, but it's going to be bigger and better than that, I'll tell you that.

Adrian: We will come close to hitting it, what do you think, in the first quarter going into second?

Brett Linkletter: I would say there's a very good chance you're going to hit it probably beginning of Q2.

Adrian: Yeah. Challenge expected, sir.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. I love it guys. All right. Well, hey, we'll be in touch real soon, guys. Really appreciate your time today. Love, obviously, working with you and looking forward to everything coming in 2021.

Adrian: Let me say one thing real quick though. Brett, I just want to say I greatly appreciate what you guys do. And I know you do this to make money even though you just gave me some. But understand I just want you to know how appreciative we are of this partnership and what you guys do. It's not just the results, but it's also the relationship. Anytime we've ever needed you, anything going on, you and your company have done great. And I just want to give you guys a genuine shout out because being a leader and being in business, it's hard at times. And I just want to say, you guys are doing a hell of a job, and I look forward to many more years of experience and growing with you. And I genuinely mean that.

Brett Linkletter: Thank you so much, Adrian. That was amazing. Really appreciate that. Well, guys, again, we'll be in touch with you soon, looking forward to everything that's to come and congrats on your success you've had this year. It's been so cool to see.

Melissa: Thank you.

Adrian: Thank you.

Brett Linkletter: Thanks guys.

More Episodes

S3:E2 - Ashish Tulsian, Restaurant-Tech Entrepreneur

S3:EP1 - Ethan Falk, Virtual Restaurant Group

S2:EP23 - Peter Demos, Fourth Generation Restauranteur: The Journey To Impact

S2:EP22 - Abhinav Kapur, Turning Data into Dollars

S2:EP21 - Brian Lewis, Acclaimed Chef & Restaurant Owner

S2:EP20 - Ken McGarrie, The Surprise Restaurant Manager