King of one of the most successful and longest parties in Columbia MO, general manager of the Shakespeares kingdom, husband, father, bike and motorcycle racer, horse corral-er, Rolls Royce connoisseur, and the most hyperactive guy over 55 I've met, Kurt Mirtsching interviewed at Tempspeares (Shakespeares Downtown) during the lunch rush. It wasn't that busy. He got a good old slice. Just one. Don't eat too much. It's not healthy to over-eat. Healthy is good. So are cruises. But he doesn't want to go on one.
Recorded on 2016-02-11
Speakers: Joseph Weidinger and Kurt Mirtsching
Okay. All right. So, Kurt, thanks for your time. Today I'm interviewing you because you're energetic. You're motivating you creative. Ah, you're successful. Pizza party thrower in hard worker. Ah, you're an idea, man. And most of all, on board with the idea of being curt marching one hundred percent of the time, that is, Ah, bring the spirit of Kurt into all that you do with your working life is at least as far as I can see in my perspective.
Laws so welcome here on a temp Spears on Thursday, February eleventh, two thousand sixteen. The first question is what is the best thing for a human being? Well, I got a better question. Is is this an ego trip for Kurt and interview? Maybe that's okay. Isn't very flattering things, and I appreciate that. That's all I'm saying. Okay, So what is the best thing for human being? Well, family and friends and love and life and doing the right thing and being happy and all that stuff.
That's the big picture thing. Good. I like that answer. Um, what is your favorite form of information? Visual. Okay. And why do you think? Why do humans collect or gather information visual information so they can keep from being eaten by the saber tooth tigers. Good. That's where it started. A good practical, but they're all What is your earliest memory? I was in nursery school and they served chicken noodle soup for lunch.
And it was some different brand from Campbell's, which I was used to. And I didn't like it, and I didn't want to eat it. But in my household, you know, my father's a strict German by the rules. You must do what you must do. This is the program you and part of that was you will finish your plate. So I knew I had eaten this bowl of chicken noodle soup, even though I didn't like because it was different. And so I'm crying, saying, I don't want to eat it.
I don't want to eat it. As I was eating at, the teacher came over and said, You don't have to eat it if you don't want. Teo ate it anyway, because I knew my my dad was at home. He wasn't there, but he was still with me. I get in trouble if I didn't eat that soup, huh? And how old were you about that was nursery school. So is that five hundred? Yeah, something like that. I don't know. Okay. Ah, who were your earliest row miles within your media family?
Wasn't your father. Or Well, my whole childhood was Do whatever it takes to keep Dad from getting mad, huh? Up until, Would you say, like a teenager or, like, eighteen year old, even? Well, yeah, when I was around the guy. I mean, my folks split when I was sixteen, so he kind of got out of the picture but was still in the picture. Um, and for that, But starts early role models, I guess, would be. I don't know.
Yeah, I guess it would be parents, You know, parents, family. Do you have brothers and sisters? A lot of older sister. Younger sister. Okay, um, And you were military brat. You moved around a lot? Yep. What were you like in those days? You know, quiet, shy are outgoing. And what age do you do? You think you finally felt comfortable being whoever Kurt merging is today? Um, I don't know if I ever felt comfortable being Kurt is today.
I guess after I got married and had kids and decided, you know, this's I'm doing a right on my own version of whatever that is. Uh, um, it was the first part of the question to questions. Yeah. What? What kind of what were you like waiting around like I was a class clown? I was always the new kid on the block, because, you know, a lot of especially America, wait, move into a neighborhood, and there would be, you know, a school and friends, most men, and most of all of those kids had lived there all their lives and they've grown up with And then also in this new kid comes along so always an outsider.
So the way I kind of fit in actually had more friends that were girls than friends. We're boys even going back in a grade school because it was easier to get to know them because I was the new guy, You know, it was a mysterious or where's that's your bandages? Yours. Why not consciously found it to be easy. Yeah. And, you know, I played hopscotch with the girls instead of soccer with the boys. And in the fourth grade, do you think it has something to with the fact that you had an older sister and younger sister and no brothers as well?
Like something about your personality? It might be because more than I was the new kid and didn't know anybody in the outsider. Yeah, more of that than anything else. But that's just a guess on my part were you raised a particular religion? And if so, are you still practicing Lutheran? Missouri Senate? No. Okay. Ah. And if your ruler for the world ruler of the world, what would you do on your first day? Don't.
For God's sake, I don't know. I started trying to figure out a way to get people to get along. You know it. Well, then you ask me what? My political viewpoints, you know, And I guess I'm fiscally very conservative and socially extremely progressive. So wear a lot of things wrong in this world, and everybody wants to do their own thing and it just isn't gonna work the plans too small. We all have to get together and cooperate a lot more.
Right? So would you say, Ah, Conviction is more important than compromise. Our sorry compromise is more important than conviction. Well, I don't think they're apo opposing things, but compromise is very important because I mean, this fish bowl or living in is really small. Yeah. Talking about that, talking about things in that arena, I mean, the global warming thing, For instance, it's just one thing, right?
Many that we have to deal with here. I mean, there's, you know, food supply and everything and everything, but, I mean, thiss whole car thing, this whole fossil fuel thing, it's not going to work. And everyone is just, Well, you know, I'm just going to drive a little bit. Mind one little car isn't gonna make any difference. You know, my life, extra energy usage isn't gonna make any difference. And, yeah, grain of sand is nothing.
But when your billions and billions of them, you've got an avalanche. And that's what we're looking at, right? Um, yeah. And in we're all in this fish bowl. Have lots of enemies, too. How? How, in general, would you advise someone to deal with an enemy? Um, take and take these quotes in the perspective. If you acknowledge your enemy, you empower them and that someone else said, Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and then another way Or give your enemy.
But don't forget their name, you know, just some thoughts. But in general, how do you deal with enemies? Quote unquote enemies. Well, you got to remember they're people, too, and they have there viewpoints and their their priorities and whatnot. And if they conflict with yours and respect what you're saying for compromise, you gotta figure out a way to both get along. If we're both in the same town city, whatever.
You can't have enemies. You just can't seem to figure out a way to make it work. Trouble is, a lot of people are intractable on. They're going to be your enemies no matter what. You do so running and do their forget your keys. On what occasion do you live? On occasion. Do I lie? I want to do in something that wants me to know about, I don't know. I know. She didn't say Do you lie? Just presume that we did. And he's probably good assumption.
Everybody does. Yeah. No. Oh, when? I guess when it's not going to do any good when it's not going to do any real harm and to tell the truth Wood, and doesn't give us any way, Yeah, you know, like I wasn't. I was in a very, very, very minor bicycle accident. Guy ran into me. My black wasn't hurt. I wasn't hurt. His car got a great big, huge scratching on the side of a brand new Jaguar. Great big look. Something keyed his car from my petal.
You know, it wasn't his fault. Totally his fault. So I stopped at a stop sign. He pushed a yellow and cut across traffic and came around the car and couldn't see me and shouldn't have been there anyway and sort of sideswiping. But I was absolutely not injured. My bicycle is absolutely not damaged in any way but his. He was just falling all over himself, apologizing and feeling bad about the whole thing. And, well, I didn't tell my wife about it, So not telling her how how was your ride today?
I was fine. So I guess it could be construed as a lie. But what good's that gonna do for me to tell her about that incident? Right? Because she's just going Tio. It's just to make her worry more. Because what if things have been a couple inches different? The guy might have hit me and might have had a different outcome. Race motorcycles? Yeah, that one. Right. Here's another one. I race motorcycles, and we had a fatality.
One of the races. It's amateur. A long time ago. Our recently? Yeah, five, seven years ago. Something. They've been doing it for twenty years or more. Um, but it was a real unfortunate thing. Really rare. It's just club race and a bunch of guys that get together on Sundays and amateurs out of the back of the pickup truck. And this kind of amateur race. Siri's set up across Missouri. Well, it's one guy. What? Make a long story short.
He was killed. It was a big deal. Well, I didn't tell her about Daddy. What's that? What? What good would it do? All we do is make her worry. Keep going to the races. I'm real careful. Make sure I don't write. Do something stupid like that. You are a terrible person. You're very attentive. And I'd much rather not get hurt than win the race. Some of these guys get really, really serious about this stuff and take risks just to get that.
You know, that twelve ninety eight trophy. So what? But you know, I don't want to worry, or so I don't tell her. So maybe that's an occasion where in my life interesting that they both have similar things were just preventing worry. But But you're right. It's just on occasions that things that don't really matter and I'm not gonna have an effect on the future decision making. Um Okay, so you're an ambitious person.
Is ambition based more on fear or joy? No excitement, I guess. Joy not fear. I'm not. Because when you talk about ambition that would come down to the business world and Chris, there's a lot of different kinds of ambition. I'd liketo stay fit. I'd like to be a better bicycle motorcycle racer and all those but the big ambition, of course. The Shakespeare's. That's my business in general. Yeah, and that's That's an exciting thing.
It's a joyful thing. I'm motivated, Tio and grow Shakespeare's, huh? It's fun with it. Speaking of seekers, I'm glad you brought up because I have a lot of questions here. But you always say that Shakespeare's is is a party. It's a pizza party that's being throne s o In my question, first question is what elements and principles of the Shakespeare's Party or experience has changed in what has remained the same since you started here, you know, big things.
Well, hopefully the things that matter haven't changed, and a lot of people tell me that. It's just like going back in time. People come back to Colombia. They went to school here in the seventies eighties nineties, whatever, and they come back to visit. Homecoming are they might be coming down to visit their own child. He's going to school here now, and they they say, Shakespeare's. It hasn't changed. The pizza's the same, its exact same places.
So cool, whatever on that's all very flattering. And so hopefully, the party hasn't changed. Shakespeare's has had to change first for details like the Health Department. Rules change. We used to not have to wear gloves when they made salads, that that sorry regulation came into being so noize glove. You know, there's other things like that regulatory things and things we have to do to adapt. Um, you know, advertising is all different now from social media, and so forth is new.
So we changed because of that. But hopefully the core of what we're doing and the party we're throwing, hopefully that's the same. And we're trying really hard to see two pizzas the same and from what I hear from people who come back and visit. We're accomplishing that. And the pizza recipes themselves from, you know, working here. Like I heard that use not measure cheese, for instance. Oh, yeah, it's a new thing.
Pretty much is that. But the measurements. So I can just imagine that, you know, the pizza was different. A lot more that is now is more consistent. But are those are those things so small that you know, the people back then couldn't tell the difference between someone who is a little more liberal with the cheese or something like that? The basic pizza recipes air same. Yeah, well, you're speaking, tio. Business management organization management to make sure that what you want to have happen happens the same way every time.
And I tell us the classes I speak to in restaurant management, hospitality management. There's a couple of there's a lot of different ways to skin a cat, so to speak. But I talk about the Tony's pizza management style and the McDonald's management style, and they both work very well, but they're both used in different situations. I say Tony's pizza because there's a Tony's pizza in every town in the country.
It could be Joe's Bar and Grill. It could be, you know, the Broadway diner. Whatever it is, it's a small business is just a small restaurant. Okay? And it's I define it is one where Tony, or whomever it is, is owns. It operates it and he's they're running. It may be behind the cash register, whatever. And then he's got, you know, two, four six servers that worked for him and a couple of guys back in the kitchen.
Maybe a couple high school kids washing dishes and bussing tables. Twenty people working there, maybe at the most. Something like that. Well, the management is all inside Tony's head, all the books and all the manuals and all the checklists. What needs to happen? The quality control for the products that could, how to clean All of that is inside Tony's head, Tony says to the server. You should smile more.
You make more tips, go smile with those guys. He turns to the bus, point says You need to move fast, moving to that table. That's, you know, Labor. Cross control. He talks to the cooks, he says. You're putting too many pepperoni pizza. Take a few off that's food cost control, and it's a very effective way to run a business. It works just great if you're a small business like that. And if Tony's there all the time?
Well, McDonald's is the other end of the continuum that I'm defining here. There is no single one person that has all of it in their head. There are books and manuals and training materials and videotapes and how to and regional manager's coming around who are trained at the hamburger college and on and on and on. And any one person can come in and jump into that and make McDonald's happened. Those French fries are exactly the same in New York is they are Los Angeles, and that's a nun.
That's incredible feat, regardless of what you think about the value of the food that right McDonald's serves that what they do is as a company in terms of management, control and consistency is amazing. Well, back to Tony's. You take Tony out and you're done. All you've got is a building with Cem, employees that don't really know what they're supposed to be doing. And some customers who come in and say, Well, what's going on and everything kind of falls apart because Tony's not there holding it all together.
McDonald's is being all held together by the procedures and systems that they've got in place to make sure that everything happens in those French fries exactly the way they should be. Well, Shakespeare's is making a transition between those two, and for the first, I don't know twenty or more years that Shakespeare's was around. We were Tony's pizza and there was no one, Tony. But there were a small two or three people who really knew the way things were supposed to be, and we taught each other.
Those things and we didn't count the pepperoni. We didn't weigh the cheese. We just knew what it was supposed to look like, right? I mean, I remember saying you're supposed to see the cheese. I mean, the sauce between the cheese news. You see the sauce between the cheese noodles, that single cheese. And when you get to the point where you just barely can't see any sauce at all, that's double cheese. Right?
Well, expel people. Extra cheese actually was double cheese, double cheese for the longest time. While, you know, that must be expensive concern that you're already using expensive cheese. Yeah, Yeah, it works. But you get my point way. Did it. Bye, Tony. Telling everybody what they should be doing, that instead of writing things and all the checklist we have all over the restaurant now there's little laminated.
She like dining room. It's like check tables. Make sure napkins or full right. Sure. Soda's wiped off all those things. The beginning. End of shift. We didn't. We never had those checklists. It was all the manager would know what needed to be done and said, Hey, Bobbie, you're on. Donny. Um, can you go out there and make sure the sewing machines clean in the narrow filled up that check. This was in his head. Yeah, so we're making the transition from from from Tony's to McDonald's.
It all started really coming. Becoming clear that we needed to do it when we open the West store now suddenly had two locations, and we started seeing things going in two different directions and shortly after that is when we realized we needed to say it's twenty eight. Pepperoni is on a large pizza. Right prior to that, we never did, you know. And when we started way in the cheese because how do you get, You know, all suddenly had ninety people, you know, on eighty of more making cheese pizzas.
Well, how you make sure they all put the same amount on weigh this stuff that's going to take forever. It's big pain in the neck. Well, we've realised. No, it's really not right. Get some good equipment. Good scale. And when you think about the money involved, I mean, we're spending well. Last year we spent two point two million dollars on groceries. Wow. So you take one percent of that, and that's twenty thousand dollars.
So if we can, you know, and a huge chunk of that is his cheese, right? So, you know, if we put on two or three percent, too much cheese, you're talking tens of thousands of dollars, right? So it's definitely worth it. Toe? Yeah. Is I like how you it's like you're abstracting or maybe extracting his very words, all of the information knowledge. Ah, that is needed to run a successful business out of the person's head and on top.
You gotta you gotta codify it. Yeah, put it in code. That's what you gotta do. And I read and I pay attention A lot of bloggers and a lot of websites and stuff and read a lot. And that's that's the common knowledge. That's that's the That's the What do you call it? That's what everybody generally believes with restaurants. You've gotta have some kind of systems controls and so forth in place. Whether they're in some guy's head, who's there telling everybody all the time or whether you've got things written down in a book and you, Khun Handsome, in that book, you still have to have it one way or another.
I just got a building with a bunch of furniture and the Gershon bunch of groceries. And who knows what's going on right in any moment, if someone leaves the net, knowledge leads wisdom and or whatever. Um, eso this business is Moshe, a felon cries, I don't know from pronouncing right, but he said it is literally possible to incorporate a turn, a weakness into a strength. We're normally taught to, like overcome the weakness as opposed to just leaving it, a weakness in making it special in a part of the whole, Ah, the whole business.
It's hard. It's kind of hard to think about. But, like, say, shake none. None of the rollers of Shakespeare's commit ground pizzas. And so instead of saying, Hey, you should make ground pizzas, then it becomes a thing where oh, Shakespeare is the place where they don't have round pizzazz, you know, that type of thing. It's just that, letting letting it go and then it turns into a thing. Would you say in Shakespeare's history that there had been anything like along those lines where, um, he kept beating yourself about something, and eventually we just let it go, and it became part of what Shakespeare's is.
The weakness became a strength, in other words. Like canting. Anything that profound along those lines right away, wanting to pasta, not mine, is offering a beer glass with every bottle of beer. For the longest time, we insisted that whenever a counter persons served a customer a bottle of beer, they were supposed to get a glass with it. To pour the beer into thought was, if that's a touch of class, a little nicer, a little and a little classier than just, you know, here's your bottle beer somewhere out of the bottle kind of thing.
But the reality is that ninety nine percent of the customers didn't want the glass, right? And so the counter people, Yep, yeah, stopped offering the glasses because nobody wanted him. And even though it says in the manual, give a glass with every bottle, knew what? He was doing it because nobody wanted him. And so eventually we just said, Oh, the heck with it. Let's change the rules, right? That's what people want, right?
So I don't know. That's a weakness changed into a strength, but just got going. That speaks probably more to give the customers what they want, Then maybe take a weakness and make it into a strength. Well, that brings me to another question I want. As is the customer. Always right? Oh, hell, no. No, no way. No, Um, no. Usually right. I mean, if in doubt There. Right? Okay. But, I mean, a lot of times, customers just get completely unreasonable.
You know, there's a funny one that happened pretty recently. Actually, it was about a month ago. Two months ago. I think, out of the south store, we have a problem with people moving tables around as they do in Shakespeare's toe push. If you together for a big group. Well, sometimes they push them together and blocked the actual exit. That one door that's on the south side of the building, across from the bar.
They're going out to the parking lot. People will line a bunch of tables up and blocked the door. You can't get in the building. They put, You know, you think Come on, people. But they do it well. One group pushed some tables together, and the last table was kind of just sort of sticking into where one of the double doors wass. But the other half of that door and, of course, the other door itself were still completely free, and people could easily get in and out.
So we thought, Well, you know, that guy's going to get hit in the back ahead by the door. But he's sitting there, He knows that. So we let it go. Well, they left. Another group came and added another table to that, and then they were completely blocking the door and people couldn't get in and out. And you think about fire safety and you got to think about people getting out of the door. So I went to that group and we said, Guys, you know your front door.
You move these tables with this one particular crust minute One gal I was in the group, I got really annoyed by that and was was was saying, Why do we have to do this? That other group was one of the door. We're just sitting where they were sitting before they were you to make them want you making us move. And she said, I know what it is. It's because you're racist. There's one black guy in their group.
There's actually nothing to do with what's going on. And of course, there's this. This was right in the middle of all that Ferguson stuff going on, and black lives matter on campus and all this turmoil that was going on and listen, all that and and that's when I arrived on the scene, I had one back. Yeah, I was in the back office doing some work, and I came out and came across this the other managers on duty.
We're taking care of the situation up to that point, and this guy walks up to me because you're one of the main managers, aren't you? Because she recognized me from coming in or whatever it was I said, Yeah, he's Kurt. What can I do for you? And she said we had We were sitting in another group, was sitting at a table and you didn't do anything about it blocking the door. Then we said at the table and then then you decided that we were blocking the door on your manager, made us move, and I think it's because he's racist.
I said, Well, I don't think That's the case. Yeah, but you know what can I do? So Well, I think you should give us our meal for free. I was just kind of taken by surprise, so I fell back into my hospitality. Do it over. The customer wants kind of mode that fell into my default. The customer's always right thing took us was always right. Unless, you know, for damn good in certain that they're trying to rip you off, right, Right, right.
Yeah, but I didn't Couldn't make that determination that quickly and shoot from the hip. So I said, Okay, sure. I mean, like, six people or eight people. Whatever, Wass. What's our food cost on a couple of pizzas. And so I went back and got a credit card slip, took the credit card payment off of their tab and gave her slip back. And and then she said, I can't believe you did that. You racist? You move us just because we have a person in our group as you after afterwards?
Yeah, this's okay, Well, I'm glad you did that. But you should have. And it was a really awkward situation. Then I went and talked to the manager on duty who had first dealt with her and the one who had asked her to move the tables and and and he said. I can't believe that gals just did it. And then he explained me what had happened, right? And everyone looked at us with the cameras, the security cameras, and they clearly show that the first group sort of was in the way maybe of one of doors Kinda, but their group completely blocked the entire double doors.
So thank you. And then I started thinking about her actions, the way she was and what it happened. I came to the conclusion that she was using this atmosphere of anxiety about race and exploiting that to get a free meal. Yeah. I mean, I was clearly what was happening. Well, by the time you put all those, you connected all those dots they had left, what I was going to do is go out to the dining room and take another slip and say, This is your credit card slip.
I put it back on your credit card because I think you're just trying to exploit the tension in this community about race to get a free meal. And I think that's pretty low and wrong. And so no, we're not going to give you a meal for free. Here's your receipt. But she already left So I just left the charge on there and went through. And I thought, when she sees it on her statement, you call me up and then I get to tell her.
I think you're a dirty, rotten scoundrel for exploiting race to get a free meal. But she never did. So apparently she's one of them did see consumers like so many are out there that don't actually look at their statement. Well, but we got our money anyway, so yeah, but I have Ivan phrase don't let people live in your head rent free for very long. Don't say that again. Don't let people live in your head rent free If it all for very long or for very long.
Rent the space. Yeah, right. Don't don't bother you. All right? What do I care? Don't let her get under my skin. And I put it the rent free phrases from my mom. She she's a smart gal. And she would say that all the time you met blow it off is not worth the bother, right? It's not worth the emotional energy. Forget it. Right. Which is hard for people to do. Sometimes you get worked up about something. Anyway, I didn't let this Gallo my head rent free and no, but we got the money, right?
Right? Well, as you said, he was not always right right there. It's not. It is not true that anything the customer says, anything the customer wants, they get that's that's that's not the case that it even said If we do something wrong, it's Shakespeare will certainly do everything we can to make up for it. We had won one case I uses as an example. We had a great big office party. I think it was it was hundreds of dollars.
It was, I don't know, ten, twenty, thirty pizzas, whatever. It was a big group, and I forget the exact circumstances, but we screwed up, no doubt about it. But we were way late or forgot the order or something. This is years ago, and and so we fessed up. We said, We're really sorry and there their day that they had planned, and they had this half hour slot for lunch. They had to rejigger their whole day so that when the pizza showed up an hour later, whatever it was, they could take their break.
Then, and it was a big inconvenience for them. Andi expressed that. They said, you know? Yeah. What was I can't believe you guys forgot the order of what it was. We graveled and gravel on gravel. And I told him, Well, you're not gonna pay for this. We have the whole thing free. First of all. And then I sent him a letter after that with a gift card in it for the dollar value of their party. Right. So not only did they get them when free, but they're gonna get the next one free on This is this is a several hundred dollars party.
But they were right, right? Yeah. I mean, it wanted Constance, you know, two whole events to try and set it right. Right. But they were right. We screwed up, and we're not afraid. I'm not. I'm not afraid. Not tried teaching. I managed not to be afraid to admit that when that's the case, we've all encountered times when you knew the guy was wrong on. He won't admit it, but we try to admit it when we are wrong.
And I didn't wanna lose those guys. This customer, right, If it took giving him to big parties. Well, I might get ten big parties in the coming years, right? And I really can't remember how it all worked out. But I think that in the end, they did realize we just made a mistake, that it was a one off situation and they kept using us like a member, like a set of his years ago. But but, no, it's where is not always, right?
Yeah, they're usually right. But sometimes they're just scoundrels trying to get a free meal. Uh huh. Good. Ah, really good response there. Next question is, what is Shakespeare's? I know it's number one. It's the pizza, stupid, um or Lisa soon. But what would be a close second or third? Well, the party. It's the whole package there's there's no one thing that makes Shakespeare is what it is. Um, it's it's a hole group of things.
It's the funny things we say over the microphone were calling out people's pizzas. It's the goofy things we put on the table stands in the middle of tables that air. They're entertained to look at it's it's, you know, A big part of it, of course, is the pizza Big part of it is the tradition of the decorations in the wall and all the history. And a big part of it is the culture of the organization in the behaviour of the people working here that makes it that fun party.
And then how much? A little Anybody things, we try to keep the bathroom's really clean. Right? Okay, offer the kinds of toppings and beer selection the people want and a million and one little things. But when you put them all together, every decision we make we try to make so that we have a good party. And it's easy working because people still come into the place a lot, Right? Right. Eso. But in regards to, like, the table stands and the stuff on the wall and most of things that probably make you are that we know today Shakespeare, Shakespeare's is how Curt made it.
R I at least I don't know. What I'm curious about, I guess, is that, um, all of the places where I see, you know, holding of this table stained Kurt, What was shakers like before you came here and didn't have any sort of run? You are? Yeah. That's just my question. What was Shakespeare's like before you? Well, I can't really say that wasn't there when you first arrived at the scene? Well, whatever's to ride it because they got tired of washing dishes in the dorm cafeteria.
And so I was, you know, they needed to drive her here. So I came and I was delivery driver guy for a year, you know? So I don't really I just remember my little, my small part of Shakespeare. But I don't know what the whole thing was like as a whole until years later, when I was starting to influence it. And let me say that, you know, there's no doubt that I've had some influence with Shakespeare's. But it's Shakespeare's is Shakespeare's.
It's not Kurt Spears, right? I didn't do it. It's it's It's the atmosphere that the people that were running the place fostered from the get go jae and holy with the owners that were out when I started here, who he was a partner, he said he subsequently sold out, you know, a little while after I got here, so it's mostly J. But it's you know it was It was Jake jolly and was Ron's elbow. And it was It was, you know, Lulu and a whole bunch of people that worked here.
But mostly it was what Jay allowed and didn't allow to happen. Nurture what I'm speaking to here. You know, if Kurt or Jake or anybody else wanted to do a quirky add or say funny things in the microphone, or do any of you put out a table stand that had fun stuff on it or any of a number of things, it was J that kind of corralled that and directed that and cultivated that and allowed it to happen and flourish.
You could've said no, We're going to use Numbers, say order number 5 is ready instead of what we do on the microphone. But he didn't. He realized it was a cool thing. So we let it happen and let it be themselves that that that that's the big thing. Oh, well, everybody be themselves right? Have a script. We don't have a uniform. We've got a lot of suggestions and a few guidelines, like, you know, keep it G rated and so forth.
But but we let people be themselves, and that's a big part of of what it is and where it came from. Good. What was the question? I go off on these tangents now. Did you answer them? Huh? Were you ever surprised by the success of Shakespeare's or did you know that from the beginning this was something that will keep getting bigger? No, there was no thought that would keep getting bigger, and I'm always surprised at what's happening with it.
That's another thing about Shakespeare says there's there was never there was never really, honestly, never any plan like in five years. We're going to reach this goal in ten years to reach this goal, and we want to do this. But none of that ever was laid out every day. Teacher decades Wade, show up and do it needed to be done that day to get through the day we get there, the bathrooms or dirty clean the bathrooms, the floor needs mopping.
Mop the floor. We're out of pepperoni. That's cut some up. There's a customer hung over and I got a headache and I don't feel like it. But I'm gonna smile anyway because there's a custom and they want to be smiled at, and then we'll do that. When you make the pizzas, we make whatever orders came in for lunch. Do it night, and then we mop up. Put the chairs up and go home. And all of a sudden, over the course of a couple of years, things just started to get, Oh, God, there's more people now what is going on?
It was over the course of decades. I mean, we Shakespeare started out just Is it to go places? No dining room. It was like a domino's, just a counter. And then they added it. Then they moved into another part of it, the old building, and at that point they had a dining room, and that's when I came. But it's just one dining room, twelve tables and on the original pit over there. But then the place was just crowded, impact and just full of people.
So then we moved into another part of the building because it was obviously we needed to do that right. We grew because we knew for sure we need more room or dying now and then That happened again. And then it happened again. And then we added under the kitchen, the downstairs kitchen. So it's a very natural and very organic type of growth, driven by what we needed to do that right then and there, not by some plan that we wanted to get, you know, that we wanted in five years.
We wanna have two hundred seats and seven hundred fifty seats, and in ten years we would have three restaurants instead of just the one that never happened. When they open the West store, it was the same landlord. Who is, it turns out, is a dirty, rotten scoundrel, Complete rat bastard. But he had another development across town and he said, Why don't you have one about here? And he gave us a pretty good deal on the rent from what?
Not. And so we thought, You know, the one we got is always busy. And a lot of our customers were out there because we took checks back then and you could look at the addresses on checks and see where your customers came from. A great car research tool. The look, att check addresses. But so we put a restaurant on the west end of town because we knew we needed it. Kind of like we knew what we needed another dining room.
So that worked really well, right? And then the south tower was the same thing. Everyone. Um good. Ah, back back when you used to make a lot of pizzas. Personally, I've been told that you really like to roll pizzas out, but hated doing the ovens. Any particular reason why didn't hate doing the others? I wouldn't say that. I just I just like Roland more. I'll be in the front window while looking out the window thinking, Yeah, and I found the ruling to be fun.
Yeah, but I wouldn't say hate do opens. I just yeah, they came from. I started out as a delivery driver, and then when they move me inside, I found that I was pretty good rolling. So I was I was like, the main roller guy for a couple of years, and it's just going to stuck. I guess, um, over the years I have observed how, ah, how bosses and managers deal with criticism or giving criticism. Rather in what I call criticism.
I mean, call it what you want or giving advice or coaches coaching. Exactly. That's what we like to say. You know, try try this when you roll or you condo to slowly. You needed it fast or something like that, and I think it's a delicate line. That toe over criticising can be as dangerous as under criticizing, but as someone who has to constantly be in charge of a team in managing the health and predictive ity of the team, What are your thoughts really to Chris criticizing?
Come on, How do you approach? Well, first of all, I don't use the word criticized. I use work, coaching when I use it all, but you really don't have to name it anything. And I try to always package it like we're throwing a party. We want the customers, have a good time, want to come back so that that that could be the starting point for everything. If you're kind of into small, you gonna make the customers are gonna want to come back because it took forever for them to get their pizza, you know?
So I want, you know, if you're not smiling when your the counter customers are going to come back because you were kind of grumpy. So we try toe presented. Not like this. Is the boss telling you what you need to do? But don't you agree that our customers would like it if we did it this way? Better, that kind of thing. And we really want all of our employees, too. Do what they do and do things to do and buy into it because they believe it's the right thing to do.
Not because it's some script or some some script written by the guys at the home office for some dance choreographed by the guys in the office. That making you really believe in it. You know, like uniforms. Well, we really don't want to do uniforms because we think that you wanna wear what you wanna wear, right? And you're still you. But while you're being you, you understand that we have to do this and that and that.
And this to make the party work better. And you believe that you want to make the party work better as best as they can. And so we're telling you howto do that not we're not telling you what to do. Just telling you what to do something. All right? Yeah. Tonight you will buy into it allowing people to kind of reach those reached the right thing, do the right thing, sort of intuitively from that. And if you have to step in Yeah.
Mint. Ah, Ah, What guides your decision making? Do you think more like first thought, Best thought going with your gut or do you have to deliberate on things well respected? Shakespeare's I've been doing this for so long that we've got everything kind of figured out how it should be. You know, I but so many tables I know how to stack up, you know, ten pans and fifty plates, all in one pile and get back there as fast as possible.
So it's more of a matter of come explaining what we've already figured out and getting everybody up to speed on. The best way to do things that we've figured out over all these years. Well, then how would if I ask you the same question in, like, your personal life or something? Um, or not in regards to Shakespeare's management? In other words. What question? How do you make decisions personally? Like you're buying a motorcycle or something?
Um, do you Are you really? Oh, I really like that one. For some reason, I'm going by right now, you know? Are you really I wouldn't do. I wouldn't make eye. Don't make big decisions spontaneously. Okay like that I think I guess what comes of spending money and or making decisions that have a long term effect. I think about him for a while, and what a while is depends on the thing. But if I keep thinking, Yeah, I want to do that.
And I think it a week later. Yeah, I want to do that. We clear? Yeah. You know, I wish I'd done that. Well, if it keeps coming back that I wish I'd done it, then I figure, Okay, I want to do that. I'm gonna do right, Come. But that's not to say I can't be spontaneous. You know, my, you know, my wife and kids all of a sudden say, you know, we want to go to Kansas City this week. Let's go, OK, let's pick up ago One night would be fun, but I'm not afraid to do that either.
Now they said Let's go, let's go buy Let's go buy a brand new car right now. I see it's really cool way. We need to look at this car, make sure this models and when we want compared to the others are like you don't make a big write important decision like that. Spontaneously. So? So you approach it very recently, allowing for spontaneously years. Spontaneous nous. Guess so. Sure. Cool. Well, we're approaching an hour.
We've got fifteen minutes left and I've got some more zoom out from the good places, all right? How do you find peace of mind? Huh? Try. Make sure the bills are paid and Shakespeare's is open and the bed's made as very German. Very general response. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've got that background. I've got that in me. You know, I learned that from my dad. The whole frugal Make sure it's done right. Kind of things right now, if a publisher was to release your autobiography off the top your head, what would the title be?
Yeah. It's the pizza. Stupid. I really like that one. And then they want to send the glue in the binding. What smell would it be? Oh, for God's sake. It's make it so it doesn't smell like anything. Okay? Doesn't even smell like a library book. If a statue was built in your honor, where would you want it displayed? Are where would it not? Where would you want it? Necessarily. But where would it be displayed? And what would it be made of?
Well, now you're asking me to be real vein here and didn't even talk about such. If you don't like being vain, not only for a little bit and not only I mean, you're being interviewed, so it's like vanities assumed in some way, you know, talk about yourself. It be really cool if it was way on the middle of woods somewhere where people had, you know, really remote. So only people who really either chanced upon it, I wanted to see it could see it as far as what is made out of, I don't know.
Whatever the budget of sculpture, whatever the budget is, you know, they one hundred percent of the budget. Yeah, concrete. I guess that'll last longer. Not cost too much. Please tell me something good you've never had. And you never want something good I have never had I never want. Oh, a week on a cruise ship. Okay, good. My wife and I have talked about that a lot, you know, desire to go on a cruise, Nothing to get excited to.
Think a lot of you will like him. They're good thing there, A lot of fun. Couple of the cruise companies in the past couple of years I've had a few problems with, you know, things, but that that's just that aside. That's ammunition when the when the conversation comes up, Well, it never does come up because I don't want to go on. My wife doesn't want to go. She doesn't want to go on. You know, you want to go on either.
If you were in a vat of vomit up to your neck and somebody threw a bag of shit at your face, what would you do? Just try to get out of it and feel sorry for the guy that put me there. Ah, a couple more here. What is the healthiest cultural shift you see developing today? Awareness that you've got to eat right and exercise right? You know it's more more, Pete. I mean, maybe this obesity thing might actually turn around and be a negative reverse psychology lesson.
You know, as far as health goes way, all needed better and exercise more. And a lot of people doing that, there's more and more events to go to, you know, fun runs and duathlon, DS and amateur events like that and more. More restaurants are becoming aware, and grocery stores, and just society as a whole are becoming aware of better food choices and presenting them. Trouble is, there's still an awful lot of people who have that coffee can size free refill too quick Shop soda.
Yeah, cup giant. Here's a gallon. You know you do not have to have a soda in your hand all day long and take a little sips all day long. But, you know, still, people want to do that, so I guess they will. But like more, more people are becoming aware that healthy lifestyles are a good thing, and we need to do them and they are doing that. I actually want my favorite table stands here. Shakespeare is the why we don't have pasta pizza's stand, which briefly, to summarize it.
It's like, ah, of pizza is not an unhealthy food. It just depends what you put on it, and it's like, Oh yeah, and you know, you don't have to get a beer with every pizza. You don't have to get a meat lovers every time. Um, which, you know, it's just Ah, and that's what I like about pizza is that, you know, it can be anything, and it's it's not. It's not. It's not like Hamburg and the I guess the hamburger has flexibility, too.
But, you know, you could do anything you want with it. It is. It's a building block food, and you can You can make a perfect food pyramid or whatever you want out of it if you just order the right things. And that's a whole advertising campaign that we've got in our back pocket that we'd like to pull out right at some point. Yeah, what gives you the most optimism that people, almost everybody out there by a large detail inside is a good guy.
I really think that, you know, they say, man, I mean people and, you know, evil people. So I really think that the vast, vast, vast majority of people r mostly almost all good and consider it nice to get a lot of optimism out of that, you know? You mean a Hitler petted his dog was nice, Was dog all right? You know, so everybody's got some good. And I think most people have mostly good. And I'm gonna think on that gives me a lot about Is that sound?
Is that conclusion that you've come to in recent years, Or is that something you've always known sometimes experienced, you know? I mean, I'm fifty seven, so I've got a lot of experience behind me. And I've met a lot of people moving around, you know, scores this place. And And it's been my experience that most everybody really, when you get down to it, is a good guy. Now, if you are in traffic and you get into an awkward situation, you might be mad at that guy and think he's evil spawn of Satan.
But then reality is actually pretty nice guy who's got a bad moment, right? Yeah. And yeah. So that that gives me a lot about you. Could what questions remain unresolved for you? Where'd you get this stuff, Tio? What? Questions remain on resolved? Oh, I don't know. No. How are we going to keep the world from burning up things like that? Good. Will we actually get Shakespeare's toe grow the way I'd like it to grow.
Just really would like to get a store in St Louis and Mom, gross more, but not lose the juju, but not lose the good Carmen, The atmosphere that's going to make your bike right. You know really long. Yeah, I've been thinking about. Well, that's when you transition to all the the motorcycles. You jump on the powered by. Yeah, I guess so. The electric car. Ah, all right. And so we're going to end the interview here with, uh, questions that you should respond to as quickly as possible.
They're really short. Okay, Who started it all? We don't know. Nobody knows. Some people think they know, and, um I believe in a set of answers. But in the reality, nobody knows something about humankind, all that nobody knows. The thing is, I'm cool with that. Some people are not. So they pick a religion, which is basically a group of answers in a much of stories that answers that question. Who started it all?
Where we go on? What's the universe? Yeah, and they can't not have an answer to that. But I'm okay with not having an answer that Yeah, People just don't know who's right. You're comfortable with the uncertainty. Are we going to make it? Oh, yeah. I think so. Yes. Where do you Where do we put it? Where do we put it? Well, Christmas is what it is, where we put it places most comfortable that does the most good, didn't it?
His most efficient and doesn't doesn't. And it hurts the fuse people. That's where you put it. That's good. Who's cleaning it up? Ah, the one the responsible ones. I think everybody by and large is good. But also, if you take a big group of people, there's a very small number of people who are always going to step forward and sees you that things happened. The rest of you guys stand around going, What are we doing?
What I have to do, You have to do that? Yeah, the movers and shakers and starters initiators. My dad used to say, There's there's there's instigators and there's go along another way saying, There's Chiefs and Indians, right? Well, she's clean up, really order that brave to do it right. That's who's gonna clean up in this shit. Wanted to realize like, We gotta clean this up. Come on. Yeah, and is it serious?
It's tries to be serious, and sometimes you think it's serious. But at the end of the day, nothing serious, or at least don't take it too seriously because does it really matter? You're marching. Thank you very much, man. Three times and a very welcome.