The Sweet (and Salty) Taste of Success

It’s graduation time for Amanda Pizzaro. The owner of Miami’s most influential purveyor of artisanal doughnuts, The Salty Donut, can easily say she has learned quite a bit over the last few years – both in and out of the Miami Business School.
 
“I knew I wanted to run my own business.  When I saw that there was nothing like this in Miami, we analyzed the opportunity and I decided it’s going to be doughnuts and that the time to launch was now!”
 
Running the numbers was part of a group project during Pizarro’s senior year - a senior year that was interrupted by creating one of the trendiest food phenomena to hit Miami in recent memory. Recently named one of Forbes Magazines 30 under 30, Pizarro has grown increasingly confident that her instincts have been dead on.
 
“My boyfriend (now husband) and I used to travel a lot for food. New York, LA, Portland and all these places had doughnut shops that were local and distinct. All we had in Miami was Dunkin and Krispy Kreme. There is so much to the experience beyond the doughnut - the shop, the culture, the coffee. I saw an opening.”
 
That “opening” became the basis of her group project. Assigned to create a “widget”, Pizarro capitalized on the opportunity to explore the viability of her idea. She convinced her group to go along with the doughnut concept, then quickly got to work crunching the numbers and working out what this business could really look like.
 

It has looked a lot like success.

 
The Salty Donut launched a three-days a week pop-up in December of 2015. Right away, the artful and creative take on an old favorite caught on. “There were long waits back then because doughnuts are not like other pastries, you can’t just decide to make them on the spot. There was an education process for both me and for the clients. We had to explain why it was worth the wait. The answer is that it’s a beautiful product and a unique experience.”
 
Now, Pizarro and her business partner and husband, Andy Rodriguez, have a brick and mortar location in Wynwood that is open six days a week. They have expanded staff, increased production and cut wait times, still with a sell-out success.
 
Along the way she has been able to rely on what the Miami Business School has taught her. “Communication is so important and I’m so grateful for that group project that helped us launch.” Wrapping up her semester with a management course, Pizarro reflects that “there are definitely things I would have done differently had I known some of the concepts we’re learning now. The management course has been particularly useful, especially now that I have a staff of 40 people.”
 
Her marketing courses have paved the way for Pizarro to understand the importance of social media and the need to incorporate buzz-worthy elements throughout her business.  A big part of The Salty Donut’s draw is that the product and the store are Intagram-ready. “People take pictures in front of the wall all the time. It’s part of the experience.”
 
Her experience is something she is eager to share with her classmates as she wraps up her degree this winter. “Professors ask me all the time to share my stories and that feels really great. I also tell my classmates to pay attention because you are going to need, and use, what you’re learning in this incredible program.  My business is proof of that.”
 
Pizarro and her husband now look to expand their brand into other cities and transforming the business into a hospitality group. “One you figure out how to manage cost and create a great customer experience, you can apply it to pretty much anything!” 
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