A senior has created an innovative catering company that is turning his passion for cooking into a way of making cash.
J&J’s Pizza Company, run by Jonny Forman and his friend Julian Chavez from Lick-Wilmerding High School, serves handmade pizzas to clients at corporate events and parties.
“We go to grown-up parties, or sometimes company parties, and we’ll cater for them,” Forman said. “We have portable ovens, and we bring our own materials and dough that we need to make the pizza live.”
While Forman and Chavez started the company only around three years ago, they already have significant experience under their belt.
“We’ve already catered to a number of parties, with our biggest one being a party of 100 people,” Forman said.
“It’s just the two of us that make the pizzas,” Forman said. “We’re not necessarily trying- ing to make it a big company or grow it. We are just doing it to have fun while making some spare cash, and we also both love cooking, so J&J’s is a way to use our passions to do something productive.”
Yet, the two-man pizza company is quite profitable, according to Forman.
“Making a pizza is super cheap actually,” Forman said. “It costs probably no more than $2 to make each pizza, and a regular pizza place will sell it for $15-$30. We sell ours for $10 and make a pretty good profit.”
While pizzas are sold for $10, Forman and Chavez charge extra to cover the costs of labor and preparation.
“To have us show up and make the first 10 pizzas, it costs $180, and every pizza sold after costs $10 each,” Forman said.
In starting the business Forman and Chavez first had to create a reputation for the quality of their product.
“It was hard to find people who would trust us to cook for them,” Forman said. “That was probably the hardest part.”
Subsidizing the vision of J&J’s wasn’t necessarily a problem for Forman and Chavez, though.
“My friend’s dad kind of sponsored us, and we have slowly paid him back,” Forman said. “Money wasn’t necessarily an issue, as Julian and I also invested our own money into starting it. Obviously, the company has been able to pay us back.”
“Julian’s dad sort of pushed us to get J&J’s up and running by helping us with getting supplies and other things we needed, and my family helped out with small things as well,” Forman said.
Aside from making money, Forman and Chavez have learned important management skills through running J&J’s.
“That’s one thing that we’ve learned — how to properly manage a budget and set prices that would make J&J’s worth our time to do it,” Forman said.