Achieve Growth While Staying True To Your Roots
When Frank talks about pizza you hear both his expertise and his passion. “We make our own dough. We cut our own cheese. We fly every pizza. There is so much technical stuff that goes into making a great pizza. You have to understand the chemical reactions that happen between yeast, salt, sugar, and water. You have to feel the dough – how flying it opens up the crust. The thing about dough is that it is alive, and it will stretch on its own terms. You must be gentle but firm. You can taste the difference between a pizza that was flown compared to one that was not.”
Founder, John Graci
Brothers Tony and Frank Graci
The Flying Pizza originated in 1971 when Frank’s father, John, opened the store in Downtown Dayton, Ohio. When John moved to Dayton from Manhattan, he quickly found that he loved the city and the people, but the pizza – not so much. A short time later, The Flying Pizza was born.
Frank knew early on that he wanted to take over the store one day. In 2004, he bought the shop after his father retired. Frank remembers, “I’d been working here since I was 8, but I was also a new owner and didn’t know anything about anything, except pizza. All the ‘accounting’ I did was with paper, pencil, and highlighters. I say I’m an old dog that you can’t teach new tricks, but FHF helped me evolve and modernize to computerized records.”
Shortly after taking over the business, the owner of the building that housed the small footprint The Flying Pizza told Frank that the building was being torn down. Frank needed to find a new home for his iconic restaurant. While unexpected and a bit daunting for the new owner, Frank used the opportunity to expand and modernize beyond the original 20 ft. x 40 ft. shop.
LONGEVITY & EXCELLENCE BY FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU LOVE
With the expansion, came lots of questions for the new business owner. Says Frank, “I talked to FHF about everything – buying refrigerators, chairs, tables.” With a laugh, he adds, “I didn’t know what I was allowed to do or what I should do. They really helped me make smart decisions.”
Frank’s charming combination of humility and bravado belie the obvious business acumen that has underpinned this Dayton mainstay since 1971.
Today, FHF continues to do monthly bookkeeping, financial statements, and personal and business taxes for Frank.
Mat Jones, FHF Partner, shares, “I wouldn’t say that the overall accounting work for Frank is super complex, but I would say that it is extremely rewarding. I love being able to take the accounting off Frank’s plate so that he can show up every day to make amazing pizza and run a great business. Everybody knows The Flying Pizza, and I’m proud that our work supports a Dayton institution.”
Frank’s Sicilian heritage is evident in how he views his role as the 2nd generation owner of The Flying Pizza. “My parents made pizza to survive. They started with nothing. They came to this country and built this business. There are so many stories. I got a step ahead because of what my father built, but it only makes me think that I have to work harder to grow and maintain what my father built.”
With his characteristic humility Frank says, “I’m a pizza man, not an accounting man. Every day when I wake up and go in to prep the dough, I thank God people show up to eat my pizza.”
The only thing we can add to that . . . one slice of cheese and one slice of pepperoni, please.
- The Flying Pizza was opened in 1971 by John Graci when he moved to Ohio from Manhattan and introduced “the slice” to the Dayton community.
John Graci “flying” a pizza
- 2nd generation owner, Frank Graci, who worked in the business from 8 years old, bought the restaurant in 2004 when his father retired.
- Frank has worked with FHF since 2004 to modernize his accounting system and make smart capital investments.
- For 51 years The Flying Pizza has used the same ingredients, the same recipes, the same hands, and the same philosophy to become a Dayton restaurant institution.
Need accounting help so that you can focus more time on your business?
FHF’s Mat Jones says, “Give us a call. We’d love to talk about how we might be able to help.”