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"We enjoy bringing the pleasure of these wonderful ovens to a far wider range of families, chefs and restaurants. We see education as an important part of our mission, so www.fornobravo.com is packed with information on oven selection, installation, management, techniques, ingredients and recipes."
My goal is to bring this dynamic to America -- pretty much the way you see it here in Florence.
It's a great business model. Cheerfully give away a valuable intellectual product (customer support, the forum, how-to articles, free plans) and folks will come back to purchase supplies and oven kits. I've already told dozens of people about Forno Bravo and I haven't even fired my oven yet. I can think of a lot of businesses that could learn a lesson or two from FB.
Thanks for the kind words; I missed this thread. You all really get it. Having fun and being helpful is the best way to go. :-)
Our model is to offer everything you need, and you pick what works for you -- from plans to fully installed ovens, installation gear, food, accessories, e-books, etc. And we have 35+ dealers in five countries to reach more people.
A long time ago when I was a product manager in a software company, I tried to convince management to give away as open source an older version of our software in order to grow the market. It would have been really risky and could have killed sales, or it could have launched the company to becoming a lot bigger. I couldn't convince them, and after I left, they drifted sideways, while two competitors took off (one went public and the other was bought for a high price). With FB, I got to try out my idea -- 20 years later.
I think Google is a great role model. Free, helpful, useful -- and incredibly profitable. :-)
lol....you are an ex-product manager in a software company? Too funny. I am an ex-consultant, mostly in IT but also in business management/strategy. Now, I own a small ice cream shop in the middle of Iowa. Too funny. Who did you work for?
So, what are all the offerings? Would you really say that the goal is open source WFO education so that you can sell related merchandise, or is there more to what you do at FB? I am assuming you are also selling some WFO's and doing some installations for a fee? What about training of some type?
I am just sitting here depressed because I fired my oven about an hour and a half ago, I have some dough ready to be formed, topped, and baked....and it just started pouring out. I gotta eat, so I am just trying to muster the courage to put a jacket on and get my pizza cooked :-0
Our primary source of revenue is selling ovens and oven kits, and we've worked hard to build relationships with the best Italian oven producers, and our accessory and installation gear sales are growing. It's going well.
Oh, so you are actually living in Italy now? For some reason I thought you were in CA, but I guess that is why most of your posts are at odd US times.
It is currently 40 deg here....so it could be nicer, but at least it isn't snowing.
Yah, I got the pizzas cooked. It wasn't really that bad after all....I just had to cover the pizza with a second peel to keep the rain off of it and then kept the main peel under the oven where the wood storage is while the pizzas cooked.
I don't know if it is my imagination, and I know there are many factors, but it seems like the dough cooks (and puffs) differently when you cook with that much humidity in the air. It actually made the pizzas quite delicious.
I should probably post this somewhere else for suggestions, but while I was out there cooking, I noticed that part of my arch is falling. The mortar between two of the brick joints cracked and separated, and the weight of the chimney is causing the arch to fall. Since it is cold and wet out, I propped some bricks under it to hold it up, for now, but I guess it is something I will need to fix. Any suggestions?
In terms of the WF-Pizzeria, that is actually part of the debate right now. The store is going OK and I am probably ready to hire a manager and move on to something else. Consulting again is one option, but I prefer not to. A friend asked me about potentially starting a totally different type of service business in town, but who knows how serious he is about that and who knows if it is the right thing for me. The Pizzeria would be a lot of fun (and torture). I have an idea for something I might want to do, but there are several things I would want to work through before putting the business plan together. The main thing would be to actually get some baisc training in a WFO restaurant - making pizzas in that environment, talking through labor costs, food costs, staffing models, kitchen design, overall restaurant design, etc. I have the food service background, and I know it can be torture at times, so I think I have a good understanding of a lot of that, but would like to get some basic training in applying that to a pizzeria. I looked into the VPN org here in the states (CA), but can't get them to give a call back (and that doesn't really give me a warm fuzzy about working with them). I tried calling FB, and left a message for Tammy (is Michael no longer with FB), but haven't heard back. I also left a message under the general mailbox on Thurs or Friday??? I know there is the Pizza Consulting option in Italy, but I don't know if it would give me what I am looking for from the "business" side of it.
Does FB do anything with that?
Adding to my random topics in this post, just curious.....owning a restaurant in the midwest, staffing is impossible and incredibly frustrating. It seems that every other retail business in the area shares the same frustrations. Kids just don't have the work ethic they used to have in the US. There are many factors, but I don't quite get it. Just curious - is it similar in Italy, or is this just a US phenomena?