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V.22 No.10 | March 7 - 13, 2013

Annual Report 2013


Weekly Business Profile


Nicky V's Neighborhood Pizzeria
Type of business:
Restaurant

Owners:
Nicole Villareal

Ages:
34

Hometown:
Albuquerque

Business Address:

9780 Coors Blvd Ste A
Albuquerque NM 87114
(505) 890-9463

Business Email:
villarealn@ymail.com

Business Website:
nickyvs.com

Number of Employees:
23


How did you get started in this business?
After the real estate market crashed, my career as a general contractor came to a halt.
What is your business philosophy?
Treat everybody like they are somebody.
What is your educational background?
Cibola High School
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
Our team and our guests. They spread the word about our product and give us the greatest compensation: referrals.
What are your strongest business traits?
We have a great culture at Nicky V's. It has taken years to develop our team, and we rarely lose team members to other restaurants. We are deeply involved in our community and encourage our employees to help us support the causes they are passionate about.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
Knowing that my performance impacts the performance of our employees. My job is to give them the tools to become rock stars so they can give our guests the best possible experience.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
I have been self-employed nearly my entire life. Often I hear people say, "You're so lucky, you don't have to be accountable to anyone." They don't know how wrong they are. I am held accountable by my guests, my team and family every day. As difficult of a reality as that is, I wouldn't trade it for the world!
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We are currently undergoing a menu redesign. Dietary trends are changing, so we will be changing with them by increasing our gluten-free options and adding more protein options. We also have introduced Flight Club: a monthly wine class where we educate our guests about different varietals or countries. It's a lot of fun and an unintimidating way to learn about wine.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
We recently received a Wine Spectator Award and were also named Albuquerque's Best Westside Restaurant in the Alibi. I personally passed my first sommelier exam in January, which was very exciting.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
We listen to our guests when they make suggestions and also study trends in larger markets that we can bring back to Albuquerque.
How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
There are a lot of great pizzerias out there. We like to think that we have achieved everything we have by focusing on our guests’ total experience and supporting our community whenever possible.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
It's easy to become myopic in your business. It's important to maintain a healthy long-term foundation and focus not only on short-term goals, but also on the steps necessary to achieve long-term goals and benchmarks as well.
What was your best business decision?
To take the leap of faith and go into an industry I wasn't very familiar with. Coming from a contracting background, I had a different perspective when it came to operations.
What was your biggest missed opportunity?
I don't think there were missed opportunities so much as the timing was probably not ideal. There were times I wished I could speed up the benchmarks I had set, but I now know that slow and steady makes for healthier growth.
What are your growth goals?
We recently added Fat Squirrel Pub & Grille in Rio Rancho to our portfolio. Our next goal is to work on the expansion of Nicky V's.
What is your company's greatest challenge?
Competition in the marketplace is fierce, especially in Albuquerque. With new restaurants opening everyday, it's difficult to find new ways to be exciting while remaining relevant.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
We try to support any charity that a team member, guest or myself is passionate about. Recently we donated a live auction item to JDRF of a private, sommelier-led Spanish wine and tapas demonstration for 10 people … which sold for over $7,000!
How has the internet affected your business, and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
The internet has definitely helped us grow our business. With tools such as Facebook and Twitter, we are able to better connect with our community and take advantage of online marketing techniques. I think it will only grow in the future. We hope to introduce online ordering in the near future, as well.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
I focus on operations and team development. With the right systems and the right people, any organization can be a well-oiled machine.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Don't go into debt trying to achieve your dream—even if it takes a little longer to get off the ground or you have to start small. It's so much more rewarding when you don't have to pay anyone back for the privilege of working for yourself.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.—Michelangelo.
What book are you currently reading, or what's your favorite book?
Right now I'm reading Thou Shall Prosper, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. It's a book about the Jewish perspective on business. I'm fascinated by different business and leadership theories and practices. My favorite is Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
Our dependance on government funding. I remember reading that over 60% of our state’s population is dependent on government-funded jobs and programs. We need to start focusing on privatized business development.
What do you look for in prospective employees?
We hire solely on referrals from our current employees. If a position opens up, we let our team know. If they refer someone and they are a rock star after 90 days, the referring employee receives a $50 bonus. If the referral doesn't work out, the referring employee is never allowed to refer again. They have become very selective about who they bring in now.
What inspires you?
Knowing that so many people day in and day out depend on my performance. That level of trust is something I never want to lose. I had a fortune cookie that said, "Everyone has the same 24 hours." I try to make each one count.
Three passions outside of work?
My kids, great books and great wine
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