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Everyone has that one favorite pizza spot that brings them right back to a nostalgic state of mind. Whether it’s grabbing a slice after a high school football game with friends or picking up three large pizzas to watch the Sunday game with your family, pizza has a unique way of making memories that much better.
This is the type of feeling that’s evoked when you order from Straw Hat Pizza in San José, California. A proud Otter customer for more than four years.
“My favorite order is our classic chicken bacon and ranch pizza,” shares owner Suleman Chaudhary, “We have a brick oven, and the flavor from the brick gets into the crust. It’s amazing.”
It’s no secret working in the restaurant industry, especially as a restaurant owner, is a full-time commitment. This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart, and Chaudhary has embraced that mindset since the very beginning of his career.
“I've been in the restaurant business all my life. My first job in America was at a pizza place in Oklahoma City as a delivery driver in 1987, and I loved it,” said Chaudhary. “After I got promoted to manager there, I moved to California a few years later and started working with Jack in the Box as a general manager. Then I expanded my own restaurant called Cheers.”
After selling Cheers, Chaudhary moved to NYC to experience the rush of working at a restaurant in Times Square. His range of positions at various restaurants showed him what it takes to run a successful business and keep a well-rounded team of employees just as happy as their customers, even during tough times.
“I thankfully held onto all my employees during the pandemic. The last two years were extremely difficult, but we never closed for a single day,” shares Chaudhary. “The dining customers are still not where I would like them to be, but our deliveries keep picking up, so it's more sustainable now.”
Otter is designed to help ease the back-of-house and front-of-house struggles many restaurants face, especially when trying to grow their delivery business. We know how many hats team members, chefs, dishwashers, managers, and owners alike are expected to wear to keep their restaurant thriving — and we also know how to help simplify.
Straw Hat Pizza initially signed up with Otter to help reduce the amount of tablets they use for delivery. “I remember the Otter team calling to see if I had made up my mind yet,” shares Chaudhary. “My wife, ‘my boss,’ goes, ‘what are you waiting for? What are you thinking! Sign up! I got started shortly after that, and all our main apps like Doordash and UberEats are now on one Otter tablet.”
We make it so easy to start using our tablet so our customers can focus more on what they love. This is why we Otter integrates with food delivery apps, point-of-sale systems, and most major online & delivery platforms.
More than seeing success with Otter for his own team, Chaudhary wants others in the industry to reap the benefits of our restaurant management solution.
“One of my friends, a general manager at a vacation-type restaurant, came to visit me a couple weeks ago and I had sent him the links because he was like ‘wow’ when he saw our set-up,” shares Chaudhary. “Anytime I’ve made a friend or told somebody, I honestly have nothing but good things to say about Otter.”
Even amidst the day-to-day craziness of owning a business, Straw Hat Pizza still prioritizes smooth operations and having the tools to succeed beyond what they had imagined.
“My favorite part has always been juggling all the different hats at the same time—from the deliveries, to running out of products, to the employees calling—all these different challenges at any given moment,” says Chaudhary. “All the clientele and the customers. I love doing that. And our VP of Operations Scott Mason has been a tremendous person for support and positive feedback through my years with Straw Hat.”
It takes a dedicated team to make dreams a reality - something Straw Hat Pizza knows all too well. If you’re in the San José area, be sure to stop in to try their beloved brick-oven pizzas, pastas, wings, and more.
And if you want to try Otter for free at your restaurant, food truck, and more – fill out the form below!