Meet the Tank: Tom Lehmann

 

PMQ’s Think Tank (thinktank.pmq.com) is the only pizza industry forum on the Web, with 2,500 members who meet online regularly to discuss the pizza business. In this new column, we’ll introduce you to some of the Tank’s seasoned members who can show you the ropes and lend insights into how the forum has benefited their businesses.

Think Tank username: Tom Lehmann
Real Name: Tom Lehmann (“The Dough Doctor”)
Industry Affiliation: American Institute of Baking
Date Joined: June 13, 2006
Number of Posts: 2,143

PMQ: Even though you don’t own a pizza shop, you are one of the industry’s best-known experts on pizza dough, baking and pizzeria operations. How long have you been working in this industry?

Tom Lehmann: I began working with the pizza industry in 1967.

Do you remember why you joined the Think Tank?

It seemed to be the thing to do at the time. What a great way to share my knowledge while helping others!

Why have you continued to return to the Think Tank over the years?

The Think Tank is a great place for all of us to share knowledge and experiences. I have spent a lifetime studying all aspects of pizza production, encompassing everything from making pizza in the home kitchen to pizzerias, pizza chains, commissary operations and the largest wholesale manufacturers. These large entities were not created as such, but instead grew into what we see them as today, sometimes from a single pizzeria. While everyone does not have aspirations of becoming the next major pizza chain or manufacturer, they do want to be successful. I feel fortunate to have the ability to assist individuals in opening their first store or to help existing operators address their everyday dough problems. Knowing that I can help others and watch them grow and become successful is the true driving force that keeps bringing me back to the Think Tank.

What do you use the Think Tank for most?

The Think Tank provides me with the ability to learn more about the current problems and issues facing pizzeria operators worldwide, which allows me to develop instructional presentations and write meaningful articles addressing what is important to the Think Tankers. An example of this was when, a few years ago, there was a lot of interest in take-and-bake pizza. Based on the number of questions being posted on the Think Tank on this subject, I was able to develop articles for my column as well as presentation materials and formulas for the PMQ Recipe Bank, all addressing the questions and concerns posed by fellow Think Tankers. I also direct new operators to the Think Tank for obtaining answers and dialogue on the vast number of issues they face in the everyday operation of their stores.

As a dough expert, have you ever picked up any tips from the Think Tank?

My favorite saying is, “Beware of the man who knows everything, for he knows not what he does not know!” —Tom Lehmann, 1970. There is always something to be learned by visiting and participating in the Think Tank.

What should a newbie know when first entering the Think Tank?

Don’t be afraid to ask a question, and don’t be afraid to start a dialogue or thread with someone trying to help you. The Think Tank is comprised of some of the best pizza folks in the industry. They are always respectful of others and helpful in answering just about any questions that might be posed.