Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.
Today's guest is Anisha Blodgett from Powerhaus Wholesome Pizza and Eats, a pizza restaurant in San Diego, California.
Our favorite piece of advice: "Work in the restaurant industry before opening your own restaurant." This doesn't apply simply to the restaurant industry but any other area you're considering starting a business. Gaining knowledge by working for someone else can be a great way to figure out what you want to do, what you don't want to do, and whether opening your own business is the right call for you.
If you're curious about starting a pizza restaurant, learn a little more from Anisha and connect with her using the links below!
I launched Powerhaus Wholesome Pizza & Eats, a health-driven pizza place in San Diego, in January 2019. Powerhaus is a unique and community-oriented pizza place with a mission of making eating well simple, enjoyable, and sustainable. My mission for Powerhaus is to help my guests find a balance between the foods they “want to eat” and the foods “they should eat”. I do this by sourcing nutritious, all-natural, and organic ingredients. Quality is key for nutrient dense, clean protein. Powerhaus’ meats are all-natural, naturally-raised, and sourced from antibiotic-free animals. Powerhaus provides alternative healthy crust options. Our whole-grain crust is enhanced with brown rice protein powder and ground flax. The result is a nutritionally balanced, high fiber (17g) and high protein pizza (50-65g).
We also offer two gluten-free crust options, including one that’s also enhanced with plant protein as well as a cauliflower crust pizza for a low-carb, low-calorie, vegetable-based alternative pizza. Powerhaus provides many options for those following a plant-based, dairy-free, vegetarian, or vegan diet including cashew-based vegan mozzarella, non-GMO soy vegan “chicken” and Beyond Meat vegan “sausage”.
The goal is to balance my guests’ short-term happiness and the desire for delicious food, without compromising long-term health and wellness. Powerhaus’ menu also includes nutrient-dense salads, protein-packed wraps, eight delicious superfood smoothies, and kombucha on tap from local brewers! We have options to meet all dietary needs (vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, high-protein, gluten-free), as everyone’s definition of healthy is different!
For me, the most important “win” was during the proof-of-concept phase. Before signing a lease and committing the large investment to open a pizza place, I needed to make sure I was on the right path. I hosted pizza tasting events at numerous luxury apartment complexes in San Diego. I hosted resident events and made my pizzas in the apartment amenity building’s kitchen and garnered feedback from the attendees. The positive feedback gave me the confidence to go all in with this business venture knowing there would be demand for my alternative and health-conscious pizzas.
My biggest challenge since opening continues to be reliance on Team Members showing up for shifts and the high turnover in the restaurant industry (especially while Covid unemployment benefits are being offered). What’s been important for Powerhaus’ success is recognizing, appreciating, and retaining strong Team Members that are integral to Powerhaus’ day-to-day operations.
1) Don’t compromise on taking care of yourself. If you are not in a strong mental state, then you can’t be a strong leader, and your team feeds off your energy. For me, this has resulted in me making the tough decision to forego sales and close Powerhaus multiple days a week during periods of being short staffed.
2) Work in the restaurant industry before opening your own restaurant (which requires a large time and financial investment) so you know exactly what the demands and day-to-day will look like.
3) Work with a business coach with experience in your industry. I really benefit from being in industry specific masterminds and group coaching programs. Having a community of like-minded individuals who push me to be better is important from a support standpoint as well as for personal development.
I absolutely love that I’ve been able to share my recipes with my local community and make an impact in my guests’ wellness journeys. I’m currently limited by my physical location and primarily can only serve my immediate neighborhood in San Diego. Over the last few months, our small business has been gaining traction from raving fans - guests, friends, and investors have been reaching out to learn my expansion plans.
While growing our brand with more physical locations to be able to impact more people would be amazing, my short-term vision is to grow beyond the limitations of my physical location by selling frozen pizzas across the country and hopefully one day in grocery stores. I have been developing the groundwork for this new line of business, including testing frozen pizzas, determining packaging, and costing out shipping. I can’t wait to launch this new line of Powerhaus!
Find Anisha & Powerhaus Wholesome Pizza and Eats:
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With episodes on everything from pitching the media to effective Instagram strategies for local business owners to winning a Food Network show, Local to Legend is all about everyday people building extraordinary legacies for themselves and their brands. Find it on your favorite podcast app.