Q&A with Dara Maleki
What is your professional background?
- Before I founded The Pizza Press, I worked in international business. I’ve worked in markets all across the globe from Australia to South America.
Why did you start franchising The Pizza Press?
- I initially thought of franchising The Pizza Press as a growth strategy. There are multiple ways to grow businesses, and each way comes with advantages and disadvantages. This was a model that I grew to be familiar with and it was something that I was always interested in. The original Anaheim location was successful right off the bat, which encouraged me to take the risk and turn our brand into a franchise. We realized it would be beneficial for our business and a great opportunity to grow the branding while also sharing the great success that we had.
Where do you see The Pizza Press in the next five years?
- What we are doing is laying the groundwork for the next big trend in the restaurant industry. Fast-casual, build-your-own-style restaurants are popping up just about everywhere. In five years, I plan to have over 500 Pizza Press locations all over the US.
What is your advice for those exploring franchise opportunities?
- For those who are looking to get involved in franchising, my advice would be to make sure you fit the culture, and even more importantly, have the support systems you need from the business. Opening a franchise means you become a business partner with your franchisor; your goals and their goals have to line up, or else there is absolutely no way the company is going to be a success. It takes a great team to build something as big as a franchise.
How do you motivate your franchisees?
- I motivate my franchisees by helping them create a plan, and helping them understand how to overcome challenges. If there’s a plan in front of them with specific goals set, they will know where they stand with each day that passes. This will also help them stay more involved in the business, as opposed to just taking a look at the numbers every once in a while and solely going off of that. I also act as a backbone for them whenever they are in need of support. This helps build their confidence, and people that feel confident are more motivated to strive for the best!
Do you have any hobbies or interests?
- I really enjoy traveling and emerging myself in different cultures – I find that very exciting. I love to learn about different types of people, which actually ties back into my business because it helps me better understand my franchisees, since everyone comes from a different background and culture.