Straw Hat Pizza Concept
In July 1969, the founders sold Straw Hat Pizza to the Saga Corporation. The Saga Corporation also purchased Pizza Palace and merged the two brands into the “Straw Hat Pizza Palace”. After merging the combined chain had 48 locations.
- Saga Corp: Founded in 1948 by William Scandling, Bill Laughlin and Harry Anderson. The cafeteria at Hobart College in Kalamazoo, MI had gone broke and the three men decided to reopen it and operate it. Their college food service grew to become one of the largest food companies in the US with revenues in excess of $161 million in 1970. In addition to Straw Hat Pizza, Saga Corp owned the “Velvet Turtle” - a find dining restaurant, “Black Angus” – a Steak House and “Refectory” – a casual dining chain.
- “Pizza Palace” was founded in 1961 in Santa Barbara with their first location opening in Torrance, CA. It was owned by Bill Smith and Chuck Gerhardt. In 1969 it had 28 locations in Los Angeles through Santa Barbara. It was a pioneer in QSR at the time and having live music in the evening gave them a third time period during the day they could attract customers in (Lunch, Dinner and Evening).
The décor at the time was wooden benches and tables, red velvet wall paper, tiffany style lighting creating an Old English atmosphere.
What is the Brand About?
All For Fun, Fun For All
People Pleasing Pizza
Whatever the Occasion, We Make It Easy
Straw Hat Pizza is similar to most QSR establishments. Customers order at the counter and we bring it out to their table. We also offer pickup and delivery. Our locations also get an ever increasing portion of their sales through the web and smart phone applications. We have embraced the advantages of third party ordering options and delivery to drive sales. A number of locations have also purchased food trucks or trailers and are active in catering various events.
- Modern bright interiors with large dining rooms
- Meeting rooms or areas
- Arcade Games and redemption centers with prizes
- Booths and Tables of varying sizes
- Surrounded by big screen televisions – a great place to watch your favorite teams
- Décor is a blend of sports and other entertainment
- 8-20 Beers on tap with local craft beers available
- Full Salad Bars
- Coke Freestyle Machines with a vast number of flavors to meet everyone’s taste.
- Many stores have special events in their locations such as Pay per View Events (UFC, Boxing), live Entertainment and Karaoke.
Is It a Fit For Me?
Contrary to what most people think, you do not need to have restaurant experience to be successful. However, understand the restaurant business is VERY hands on. Unless you have a high volume location you will need to be active in your business to be successful. Some of our owners work a lot of hours. In short, a restaurant is not a passive investment.
Some skills that are helpful to have are budgeting, time management and organization. Doing well in these areas will keep you from struggling. You should also be able to lead and direct your staff.
There are some regular activities you will do in the course of running your business that you will need to feel comfortable with:
- Working on your feet for long periods of time.
- Investing the time in your training.
- Spend time talking to customers in your store
- Spend time going out in the community promoting your business
- Dealing with upset customers
Finally, the key is to follow the system. A franchise is a successful system, but you have to follow it. If you are a very independent person and want to do things your way or make changes to the existing system then a franchise might not be the best investment for you.
Straw Hat Resaturants
Straw Hat Restaurants Inc. is a privately held company run by a board of directors. The board is primarily made up of store owners so they understand the business and the brands success or failure impacts them directly.
- SAL LISTEK, CHAIRMAN OF BOARD
- Sal Listek is a Member of the Board of Directors, a part time position. Mr. Listek has been a principal of Listek Enterprise, Inc. since 1991. He has owned and operated the Straw Hat Restaurant in Antioch, California, since 1990, and the Straw Hat Restaurant in Brentwood, California since July 2004.
- RANDY WISE, DIRECTOR & SECRETARY
- Randy Wise has been a Straw Hat Pizza franchise owner since 1984. He and his wife currently own and operate a location in Santa Maria, CA. Mr. Wise has been an active Board member for the majority of his franchise career. He presently serves as the Board's Secretary/Treasurer.
- DANA SMITH, DIRECTOR
- Dana Smith is a Member of the Board, a part time position, since July 2014. Mr. Smith with his family was active in the ownership and operations of 14 Wendy’s franchises until 1995. After the selling the Wendy’s franchise rights, Mr. Smith became a commercial real estate agent specializing in retail and restaurant site acquisitions. Mr. Smith has been involved in developing real estate including building homes, office buildings, apartment buildings and warehouses. Mr. Smith is currently the owner of the Straw Hat restaurant located at Harveys in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
- MANJIT WALIA, DIRECTOR
- Manjit Walia is a Member of the Board of Directors, a part time position, since July 2014. Mr. Walia is a computer science engineer with 20 years’ experience in hi tech research and development. Mr. Walia also owns a real estate license and is active in real estate development. Mr. Walia is currently a partner of a Straw Hat Pizza restaurant located in Cordelia, California.
- VARUN LIMBACHIYA, DIRECTOR
- Varum Limbachiya, has been a Straw Hat franchisee since December 30, 2009, owning and operating the Alameda CA Straw Hat Pizza location. Mr. Limbachiya has been a member of the Board of Directors since September 10, 2015 having been appointed in accordance with the bylaws to fill an existing vacancy.