For Sarillo, whose father owned a pizzeria in Carpentersville, Illinois, creating a workplace where employees “wanted to come back tomorrow,” was always a goal. Sarillo was a carpenter when he decided to change tracks. An experience eating out, where his kids were treated like second-class citizens, led him to believe he could do better. And improving on the base model extends beyond just offering top-notch service to guests.
“I was always a believer in doing what you love to do every day. I was an entrepreneur, and whether I was in the construction business or my dad’s restaurants or whatever I was doing, I was always good at saying, ‘If I don’t like this I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m going to find something else that inspires me, and I’m passionate about, and excited to do.’ My employees deserve that, too,” he says.
Sarillo, though, didn’t exactly enter into the business understanding nuances of company culture. In fact, he pretty much had no management philosophy at all. It wasn’t really until he thought about expanding the brand did he understand how thin the issue truly was: As long as he was in the store, everything worked. He needed to find a way to develop a system that could essentially replace him.
In 2002, Sarillo teamed up with Rudy Miick, a consultant who specializes in business leadership. According to a story by Inc., Sarillo spent upward of $200,000 preparing to expand—80 percent of which went to pay for Miick’s services. His restaurants were making a touch more than $3 million a year in sales at the time. Sarillo says the investment was well worth it.