The Definitive Guide to Business with Marcus Lemonis

What a small business owner did to make ‘The Profit’s’ Marcus Lemonis ‘furious’ 

“I hadn’t dealt with a narcissist to this degree,” says Marcus Lemonis about Dino Pavoni, the owner of Simply Slices, a family-run drive-through pizza chain in the suburbs of Chicago featured on Tuesday's episode of the "The Profit" on CNBC.

“If he doesn’t learn to trust other people, particularly his family, his business will be the same forever,” Lemonis tells CNBC Make It.

It's something any business owner needs to learn to be successful.

On the show, Pavoni wants to turn his concept of selling drive-through pizza into a national chain, but he’s having trouble getting outside investors and franchisees interested in the idea, despite the fact that he has two successful locations outside of Chicago that are showing sales growth.

According to Lemonis, Pavoni may be his own worst enemy — he's controlling and disrespectful. That's a recipe for failure when you're the boss, according to Lemonis.

The patriarch-owner of the family business refuses to loosen his grip enough to allow Lemonis to make tweaks to his restaurant, and he butts heads with his children, who are also his employees. (Pavoni works with his wife, their son, daughter and son-in-law in one Simply Slices location, while another son and daughter-in-law run a second location.)

“I was concerned about the well-being of the family,” Lemonis tells CNBC Make It. “[Dino Pavoni’s] control over the business — and over the family, and over his kids — was so constricting that he was not only running them off, but any chance that the business had to be successful was put out in a New York second.”

Pavoni bristles when Lemonis wants to make adjustments to the menu, which has 14 varieties of pizza and 35 flavors of shaved ice. Lemonis wants to "make it simpler, clearer and more franchise-friendly,” so customers are not confused and employees need less time to prepare orders. Pavoni sarcastically calls Lemonis a “genius” in response to his menu tweaks, to which Lemonis responds by telling Pavoni that he is a “smart-a--.”

Marcus Lemonis (left) with Simply Slices owners Dino and Debbie Pavoni.
CNBC
Marcus Lemonis (left) with Simply Slices owners Dino and Debbie Pavoni.

Pavoni also has a strained relationship with his son, Doug, who is running the chain’s second location in another town nearby with a pared-down menu similar to what Lemonis is recommending. Pavoni balks at the fact that his son is implementing his own ideas and not allowing Dino full control of both locations.

Lemonis later becomes “furious” when Dino completely skips a meeting with him and Doug to discuss the restaurants, which Lemonis calls “disrespectful.”

Lemonis is unconvinced that Pavoni’s controlling attitude will allow him to turn his small pizza business into a nationwide chain where he would have to deal with myriad franchise-owners with their own ideas on how to run a business.

“If Dino can’t even take feedback, or have a discussion with his son or an employee, how’s he going to take feedback from a franchisee that’s four states away?” Lemonis asks in the episode.

CNBC's "The Profit" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET .

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