Nicole Hall bought longtime Abilene business Tossed and Sauced last year. The business has been in Abilene for about 38 years.
Hall had never owned a restaurant or a business of any kind before, but when she saw the business was for sale it seemed like an opportunity.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the particular risks such as situation can pose for a restaurant.
The business was already built for delivery, so that wasn’t a problem.
“That’s the benefit that we have as a pizza restaurant is that delivery was already part of our processes,” she said. “So that wasn’t anything extra for us.”
Hall said the business has offered curbside and contactless delivery as so many other businesses have during the pandemic and added online ordering.
“Overall, our processes haven’t had to change too much,” Hall said. “We’ve changed our dine-in and the way our dining room is set up. And the booths allow for you to already have that space between you and the next customer. So social isolation was not a huge issue for us, either.”
There have been problems, however, with keeping items in stock.
“We’ve had some issues with supply shortage,” Hall said. “We have not suffered as much as I’ve heard of other businesses suffering, but overall that aspect hasn’t been too bad but it has been an issue at times.”
Hall said she has learned “that nothing is consistent (and to) expect the unknown.”
She said she has learned to embrace change.
“There’s been a lot of changes that we’ve brought to the business and Abilene’s been very receptive of that, so we’re grateful for that,” Hall said.
“You have to be willing to change things. We do change things — our processes — as the business grew, because it’s grown exponentially,” Hall added.
Hall said she and her staff have had to learn to “accept the curveballs as they come.”
Owning a business in a pandemic or otherwise comes with a need for constant changes.
She and her staff recently attended a conference in Las Vegas where they picked up some possible new ideas for the menu — things they can add while still keeping the classics, Hall said.
She and her staff brought back hot honey — which they have applied as a topping to a speciality pizza this month.
“It’s been a huge hit,” Hall said.
“Trying to do different meats for the pizzas, higher quality meats, different cheeses, that kind of thing to see what works and what doesn’t. So yeah. Tossed and Sauced Pizza has been in Abilene and a staple in Abilene for so long and it’s delicious, but how can you make it even better? How can we use what Abilene knows and loves and make it even better than it was?”