"I don’t see the chains as competition…"

Kirk Vartan owns A Slice of New York, a pizza joint with two locations in the Bay Area. His response to the question we posed to restaurant owners (“What is your strategy for competing with chains?”) caught my attention. He had me hooked with his first sentence.

“I don’t really see chains as competition. We offer a quality product. We don’t measure toppings. We put love into our pies. We pay our employees well. We care about our staff. We prioritize our customers over profit. We provide top quality service. We do not squeeze every last nickel and minute out of our employees. We treat our employees and customers with respect. Our employees are empowered to take care of a customer problem on the spot.

The chains don’t really do any of this. They are forced to focus on every cent because they owe to the chain. As a business, we don’t make as much as we could, but that’s OK. We focus on customer satisfaction and a quality product.”

Bold, honest and great summary of how (I think) many other independent restaurant owners view their business.