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How I Turned a Pizza Shop into a $3.6 Million Empire

Dive into the success story of Lee, the owner of a pizza empire.

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In this week’s blog post, we’ll dive into the success story of Lee, the owner of a pizza empire. Lee shares his journey of starting from scratch with just $60,000 and transforming it into a thriving business with multiple locations and pizzas that sell out months in advance.

When asked about the revenue generated by his pizza shops, Lee says, "Would you guys like to know how much revenue a pizza shop generates with four locations and pizzas that sell out three months in advance? You're in for a shock. I'm gonna share with you how I took this credit card and under $60,000 created a $3.6 million pizza empire."

The Beginning: From Hospitality to Pizza

heavenly slice


Lee's journey to success started when he had to leave the hospitality industry due to the impact of Covid. Looking for a new venture, he decided to open a pizza shop. He says, "I made pizza as a hobby and it was my retirement plan. When we opened the shop, much to our surprise, it blew up."

With the increase in demand, Lee had to be closely involved in the business, putting in long hours every day. He moved next door to the original location to make operations more efficient.

Pizza as a Vehicle for Community

Media encourages community during covid 19 health crisis


Lee's passion for pizza (sponsored) goes beyond just the food itself. He believes in using food, specifically pizza, as a way to bring people together and create a sense of community. He says, "I'm about community and there is no better way to share love, hope, ideas, around food. Because I love pizza so much, I wanted to create something around that, something unique that brings people together."

His goal was to make his pizzas unique and different, sparking conversations and creating a shared experience. He adds, "When you bring something unique together, like going to a special place to eat, it becomes something that you have in common."

Creating Hype and Unique Flavors



Lee's pizzas have become so popular that they often sell out months in advance, which is unheard of in the industry. He shares some tips on how to create the same amount of hype for any product: "Do something unique, create a buzz, and let people talk about it. Find ways to express yourself fully and let your product resonate with others."

What makes Moto Pizza stand out from other pizza parlors is the combination of Lee's Filipino background and his ability to blend different pizza styles, such as Roman, Midwest, and East Coast. He also experiments with unique sauces, like his banana ketchup, to create flavors that people aren't used to.

Overcoming Challenges and Learning from Mistakes

Lee admits that there were plenty of mistakes along the way. One of the challenges he faced was not anticipating his own success. He advises others to plan for success and consider the logistics of their business, such as the physical aspects of the location and the power requirements.

Some of the lessons he learned include the importance of efficient space utilization, convenient access for moving products, and having the right equipment to enhance the quality of the food. Despite the challenges, Lee's commitment to efficiency remains strong. He says, "I'm all about efficiency. Find ways to streamline your operations and make everything more efficient."

Expansion and Employee Culture



With four locations already open and plans for more, Lee now has almost 40 employees. He emphasizes the importance of employee culture and creating a supportive environment. Lee pays his employees $24 an hour plus tips and also provides health insurance, acknowledging the long-term benefits of investing in employee retention.

He shares an important tip for business owners: "Shut up and listen. Really hear what your employees have to say. It's easy to just say, 'It's my way or the highway,' but if you listen, they'll give you valuable insights and you'll be able to meet their needs effectively."

The Valuation and Future Prospects

When talking about the success of Moto Pizza, Lee reveals that their valuation reached $3.6 million during their initial seed funding round. He adds, "It's just the beginning. Our revenues are looking pretty good, and this valuation is likely to increase in the future."

In the near future, Lee plans to open more locations, aiming to have close to 100 employees by the end of the year. He envisions Moto Pizza as a destination place that people seek out, making it an adventure and a unique experience.

Starting Your Own Pizza Empire


For aspiring entrepreneurs with limited funds, Lee offers practical advice. He suggests starting small by operating from home or participating in farmer's markets. From there, one can progress to a ghost kitchen, which provides a low-cost way to test and refine their product before committing to a full-scale restaurant.

Lee's success story proves that with creativity, dedication, and a unique approach, even a small investment can lead to great achievements. He encourages entrepreneurs to focus on their own ideas and express themselves fully, disregarding competition and embracing innovation.

If you're thinking of starting your own business, be inspired by Lee's journey and the lessons he learned along the way. Remember, success can come from unexpected places, and the key lies in finding a way to differentiate yourself and create a strong community around your product.


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