Progressive 'fair wage' pizza restaurant to close
You have to admire people who put their money where their mouth is.
A non-profit group in the Roxbury section of Boston decided to fund a utopian project involving a pizza shop based on the principles of "economic justice" and "fair wages."
To no one's surprise, the business could never break even and will close at the end of the year.
Dudley Dough billed itself as "pizza with a purpose." What the non-profit group failed to understand is that the "purpose" was to make money so they could stay in business.
"I don't think anyone is looking at it as a failure," said Luther Pinckney, a team leader at Dudley Dough, which is in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. "It's an experiment, and some very good things came out of that, such as skill-building for staff and being in this building at this time of gentrification and change in this community."
Pitched as "pizza with purpose," the restaurant offered above-average pay as well as culinary and leadership training.
"There's a sadness associated with it," said Carole Walton, a Roxbury resident. "On a daily basis I come in here, and this is how I get my day started, with conversations and warm greetings and good people. I'm going to definitely miss it."
Unwittingly, these people are making a direct case for a minimum wage based on how much value an employee can add to a company, not some arbitrary number that has no connection to the reality of making a profit.
As it does every day except Friday, the shop on Tuesday provided pizza to dozens of students who took part in an after-school math tutoring program called Pie R Squared. Families frequent game nights on Fridays, as well as events such as Social Justice Mondays and political forums.
"It's not easy, but I know it's the right decision," Broderick said. "Everybody wanted it to work. We all invested a lot of our hearts in it."
"Social justice Mondays"? OK, but was the pizza any good?
Allahpundit observed, "[Y]ou've got way too much green stuff on your pizza."
There's that – and then there's the reality of failure:
Labor costs are a major driver in the business model of any such operation. Once you've accounted for the standard expenses of kitchen equipment, ingredients, utilities and the cost of your site (which are fairly standardized), labor costs may turn out to be the margin of error which makes or breaks you in terms of profitability and controlling your prices. Everyone in the neighborhood may love your social justice oriented, woke attitude, but if your pizza costs three bucks a slice when everyone else is selling them for two, you're not going to last long.
If good intentions and a good heart ruled the business world, then Dudley Dough would have been a spectacular success. But missing from that idealistic formula is the simple truth that you must bring more money into the business than goes out, or you will suffer the consequences.
Dudley Dough never had a chance, and the fact that the owners never realized that is actually pretty pathetic.