A trip to Pisa got Bob and Sharon Rybak leaning toward opening a one-of-a-kind pizza place. “We ordered pizza at a restaurant in Pisa and it came in 90 seconds,” Bob recalls. “Sharon said, ‘That’s drive-thru time.’”
The Rybaks were looking at retirement from teaching in a few years, but Sharon was already investigating the possibility of opening the first — and as of now, the only — custom-made, drive-thru pizzeria in the United States. Thanks to Sharon’s thorough research, upon their retirement the Rybaks turned in pencils and grade books for aprons and pizza pans. My Pizzetta opened in North Royalton in 2013, and has enjoyed rapid success.
The Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI) assisted the Rybaks with funding. ECDI also suggested the Rybaks contact Business Advisers of Cleveland to help launch My Pizzetta. Bob and Sharon describe the assistance of BAC as invaluable. “Bill Litzler, our advisor, has consistently provided objective and effective information when we needed it most,” Sharon says. “BAC has also helped us network with other successful business leaders who provided us with advice and opinions that have helped our business grow.”
In addition to guidance from a knowledgeable advisor, My Pizzetta has thrived because of Bob and Sharon’s commitment to quality. “We make everything from scratch,” Bob says. “We buy the most expensive flour.” And just because a pizza is made in drive-thru time doesn’t mean the My Pizzetta staff can’t get to know its patrons. “We have a few minutes while the pizza is being prepared to engage customers,” Sharon says. “That’s priceless.”
This people-pleasing attitude clearly has its benefits. According to Bob and Sharon, 42 percent of My Pizzetta patrons are return customers. “Everybody goes away happy,” Bob says.
My Pizzetta employs about eight people during peak season. Based on the restaurant’s ongoing success, Bob and Sharon plan to introduce pasta bakes to their drive-thru offerings. A food truck is also in the works.
As the Rybaks enjoy the steady rise of their venture, they remain thankful for the local entities such as BAC that were instrumental in its growth. “Our current success is in no small part a result of our association with BAC,” Sharon says.