The Pizza Engineer

""“What’s a mechanical engineer doing in the pizza business? Chuck Senatore knows how to build racecar engines. The company he founded and later sold, Muscle Motors in Lansing, Mich., built a world-champion drag-racing car in 1997. So when Senatore teamed with Michigan natives George Kurajian and Tony Sacco to open a chain of pizza restaurants, he used his skills as a mechanical engineer to design the most efficient business,” reported the Gulf Coast Business Review.

“Together, they opened the first Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza in Estero four years ago. Today, the Bonita Springs-based franchise chain called TSP Management Group has opened six Tony Sacco’s restaurants and it’s building another six. Six more are scheduled to open in the next 18 months. Take the kitchen, for example. A coal oven is the restaurant’s only cooking equipment, making it more efficient than traditional kitchens. ‘The less complexity you have, the easier it is,’ reasons Senatore. There are no fryers, heaters or even microwave ovens. If you have to warm up a cup of coffee or a sandwich, it’s done in the $50,000 oven. After he moved to Florida, Senatore met fellow Michigan natives Kurajian and Sacco and agreed to start a restaurant franchise that would be named after the latter partner. They settled on pizza because of its popularity and profitability.”