Culture Matters

Posted by on September 4, 2006 at 7:41 am.

If I invested in restaurants, I’d want a piece of Satchel’s Pizza (the company AND the food). Satchel’s philosophy is laid out on their website:

People always say that a restaurant is “location, location, location,” but I never believed that. Besides, it begs the question, “What’s wrong with this location?”

If you make good food and serve it in a comfortable setting, people will come. Our success is based on this philosophy. Another lesson that restaurant work has taught me is that there is more to success than making money. I want my place to provide a living wage for the employees. I want them to know that their work is valued. Everyone gets as good a wage as I can pay and we pool tips. The employees make it happen every day.

And then there’s the art of making pizzas. I like to say, “Every pizza is a work of art.” The pizza makers here are expected to share this philosophy. One of the employees, Dale Rimkunas says, “The secret ingredient is love.” You’d think he was just kidding but he really takes his work seriously. Tim Taylor, our resident comedian says: “Satchel’s Pizza… Where you’re sorta like family.” Our pizza man, Bill Clower says, “You can buy perfection but you can’t rush it.” Our pizza is not fast food. If you’re in a hurry you may just want a slice. Enjoy some music, relax, and we’ll make it worth the wait. Thanks, Satchel.

My family and I found Satchel’s a few years ago — it’s hard to find — and have enjoyed watching it flourish ever since. You should go for their ambiance, but you’ll keep coming back for their salads and pizza. That said, their ambiance is reason enough — a mix of art, gardens, used furniture, playgrounds, and the favorite table for us — an old broken-down van. The clientelle is a mix of entrepreneurs, hippies, families and college crews.

Satchel’s has gotten so popular that they converted a neighboring building into Lightning Salvage — a combination of junk shop, museum, waiting area and live music. They sell (with high margin) and display crazy stuff, including collections of pine cones, floating pens and cement sculptures. Lightning Salvage was a great addition that my kids ask to visit even when it’s not mealtime.

If you’re an entrepreneur who wonders whether culture and work environment matter, check out Satchel’s. You’ll see a great example of what attention to culture can create, and you’ll enjoy a great meal. Heck, you might even pickup a one-of-a-kind duct tape wallet while you’re there!

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