I am always inspired by meeting small business owners from around the world and hearing about their business journey. Sam Ghadiri, owner of Sammy G’s Pizza in San Jose, Calif., is one of those people who have a true passion for pizza, and bringing people together to enjoy good food and each other’s company.
Sammy G’s is arguably one of San Jose’s best spots to get pizza, appetizers and beer. When I recently visited this location, I tried one of the famous pizza pies called the Buffalo Mac that included mac-n-cheese, truffle oil, green onions and, of course, Buffalo chicken. The pizza was accompanied by the amazing Tot-chos, crispy tater tots with cheddar cheese sauce, bacon, green onions and sour cream. Everything was incredible, and with a constant rotation of beers on tap, there is truly something for everyone with the menu offerings.
Sam Ghadiri’s journey is just as exciting as his pizza creations. Originally, Sam practiced law in San Francisco, but had the urge to try something else. He knew there would be difficulties in opening his own legal practice so he decided to follow one of his dreams and open a bar. Through strategic planning, he was able to find a perfect location right by San Jose State University, where foot traffic would be steady.
The restaurant opened in 2016 and has been thriving ever since. He has grown the business and now employs approximately 20 full- and part-time employees. A majority of the employees are students at SJSU who serve as a walking advertisement for his business.
“I love hiring students from the university because their work ethic is amazing,” said Ghadiri. “It also helps me build my brand since they are always talking about the pizza and getting their friends to come into the restaurant. It’s a win-win.”
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While Sam has figured out what it takes to build a team and retain loyal customers, managing the finances can be a challenge. Like most small business owners, Sam has a deep appreciation for the value of every dollar. That’s because he got the business up and running with capital from a close group of friends and family who believed in his vision.
To protect that investment, Sam has been using QuickBooks® since he first launched.
“We started using QuickBooks at the very beginning,” said Sam. “I enjoy it because I can keep track of all my expenses and sales. I am literally clicks away from seeing how my business is doing.”
Sam has taken advantage of the integration with Square, and the data he receives on a daily basis helps him make educated business decisions. He is also able to take the data and create quarterly reports that are beneficial for his investors to view.
“Without the data, I wouldn’t be able to keep track of my labor or costs of goods,” he said. “You can make QuickBooks as simple or as complicated as you want. I always like keeping it simple, but I know if I run into a problem that the online help is great.”
Sam says that QuickBooks has helped give time back to focus on other areas of the business. It has given him the confidence that his business is safe and all the numbers are matching up. You cannot put a price on that peace of mind for a business owner.
Growth Through Innovation
“I am always looking for ways to grow my business through marketing and advertising,” said Sam. “I set up a loyalty program through Square, as well as accounts with DoorDash, Eat24 and GrubHub. All of those have been successful for my business.”
In addition, his goals are similar to other business owners. He wants the business to be more efficient so management can operate it with little help from him. He also wants another location at some point. All of those growth challenges will require hard work and dedication, something Sam is not shy about.
“I have no problem pounding the pavement and getting my name out there,” said Sam. “It’s essential for the growth of my business. Just recently, I started delivering food to local corporations and working with specific SJSU departments. I am always looking for new areas to expand.”
Stories like this really show the power of an ecosystem. Sam has built a network of investors that share his vision, a product that is top notch and an experience for all ages. With determination and hard work added to that recipe, there is no doubt he will be successful. If you are ever in the San Jose area or in town for QuickBooks Connect, I highly recommend a visit to Sammy G’s pizza. Visit Sammy G’s website now to place an order.