Miki Agrawal refused to let her self-diagnosed lactose intolerance stop her from enjoying pizza. Her solution: opening a farm-to-table pizzeria serving wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and other specialty pies. It was October 2005 and Agrawal, then 25, didn’t have a business plan, working capital or any experience as a restaurateur or entrepreneur. What she had was raw determination, chutzpah and the self-confidence to believe she could figure it out as she went along. And she did. In October 2005, Agrawal opened her pizza eatery, dubbed Slice—The Perfect Food. In her irreverently titled book, Do Cool Sh*t, Agrawal details her unorthodox, creative and clever approach to raising capital, learning about the restaurant world and creating buzz. For example, she organizes invite-only brainstorming sessions with successful business folk, “stalks” potential investors at their favorite dining spots, cold-calls friends of friends of friends who might be helpful, barters for branding advice and bypasses The New York Times security desk to personally deliver samples of her pizza to the food editor (a move that netted a review). In almost eight years since Slice opened, she’s leveraged its success, creating an at-home pizza-making kit, and is now taking her concept nationwide in a move that necessitated a rebranding and name change. Slice is now called Wild. Along with Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos.com, she’s opening a Wild outpost in Las Vegas. Agrawal’s easy writing style, cheekiness and irreverence is irresistible, and her success proves that in business as in pizza, there’s more than one way to slice a pie.
By Miki Agrawal