During COVID-19, restaurants and all types of businesses have been forced to either pivot or make big changes in the way they operate. With new regulations being put into place for customer and employee safety, opening and closing on and off, to just figuring out new ways to attract hungry people, the restaurant industry has been tricky to navigate.
That is where Mo Mostashari, the President of AMIBA Consulting comes into play. For over nine years previously, Mo worked at ICM Partners helping to consult and secure deals for high profile companies and individuals such as Megan Fox, David Duchovny, Ian Somerhalder, Lucy Hale, Katie Holmes, Migos, Rae Sremmurd, Alexis Ren, Millie Bobby Brown & others. Now focusing his expertise to start-up brands, Mo also decided to take a chance and invest into Dough Pizzeria & Bar in Hollywood, California to help bring the restaurant through these very ‘unique’ times in our society.
From his own investments recently, to key factors in running a business, to his advice for others, Mo talked to us about navigating the restaurant industry.
How does one decide they want to go into investments and start working with various types of companies?
The two biggest factors for me are who is the founder(s), what is their background, do they have any previous exits, and just overall if I feel that they have what it takes to take the brand to the next level. The second factor is, who are the other investments and if they are big firms that have had previous successes in picking brands that’s always a very important indicator.
You have recently taken up co-ownership of Dough Pizzeria & Bar in Hollywood… what about the restaurant industry attracted you? And why Dough? What are you doing with Dough to make it stand out from before?
Pizza is the number one selling food item in America and is also one of the most profitable. The dough was appealing for several reasons. 1) it was already a functioning pizzeria that had built-in business 2) It had a full bar that is allowed to stay open until 2 am and 3) Location, location, location, it is right in the heart of West Hollywood on the world-famous Sunset Strip. And the food is pretty damn good as well.
What key factors should businesses and restaurants take into account when reopening now with COVID-19?
When reopening for COVID, the most important thing is to ensure the safety of your staff and customers. West Hollywood has given very strict, but easy guidelines to follow. Wear a mask, make sure tables are 6 feet apart, sanitation stations, take temperatures. Second, pair your menu down, and create some interesting family packages. Since restaurants will at best be able to serve 60 % of your maximum customers, keep your menu to the best sellers. This will lower food costs and enable you to have lower labor. Lastly, increase your visibility in the online world. The more you are seen, the more you will sell.
What are the key factors entrepreneurs should evaluate when starting and running their company?
Make sure you have the time. Starting a business sounds great, but you need to be prepared to work a lot more than before for a lot less money (hopefully just at first), and if you are prepared for this than I say go for it. You also need to surround yourself with like-minded individuals and partners but look to bring on folks that are good at what you are not good at. You need to be able to lean on others’ expertise in their field to allow you to manage the brand as a whole.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t stress, just do. Issues will always come up, there is no need to stress, at the end of the day just do what you can, be prepared, and make sure you have backup options and be able to manage to get out of problems. What you shouldn’t do, is just stress and worry.
What is something you would do differently if you were given the chance?
Is it bad to say, not going to college? Or at least, would have done a business degree vs. getting a Bachelor’s in Science in Psychobiology.
What does the rest of 2020 look like for yourself?
Working on a few different celebrity partner partnerships, while also dealing with the post-COVID market place. Since everything is closed, taking this time to really focus on different projects for the future.