Mark Groussman of Stoner’s Pizza Joint: “A good company has consistency”

A good company has consistency, but a great company has consistent quality and communication. When you buy a product or service, but something goes wrong, you need to talk with someone from the company. A good company might be able to help you, but a great company can actually communicate with you and fix the […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

A good company has consistency, but a great company has consistent quality and communication. When you buy a product or service, but something goes wrong, you need to talk with someone from the company. A good company might be able to help you, but a great company can actually communicate with you and fix the issue right away. They listen to you and work on the problem. A great company also follows through to make sure that every product they sell meets a certain standard.


As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Groussman.

Mark Groussman is Chairman of Stoner’s Pizza Joint, a fast-growing pizza chain in the Southeastern United States. The franchise has gone from 11 units to 18 units in less than a year, with two more locations in the process of opening. Many of the store sales have seen an increase of approximately 20% from first half 2020 to second half 2020. A serial entrepreneur, Mark is also involved in a Bitcoin mining company and several marijuana companies, including Pure Kana. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University, and later on, went on to earn his Master’s in Real Estate Finance from NYU. Mark and his wife Erica support numerous charitable causes including the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, JAFCO, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NCH Foundation, just to name a few.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started? How did you get started in the industry?

I invested in Stoner’s Pizza Joint, but they couldn’t pay me back. So, I ended up becoming chairman in order to help accelerate growth. The company has been profitable ever since.

Can you share a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue?

The biggest challenge so far has been consistency in all stores. They all need to look and feel are similar in each franchise. We finally got everyone on the same page. Now, we make sure every new franchise is consistent with the others.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are technology driven and have made the process very simple for customers to buy pizza online. We recently launched a program on Facebook Messenger where customers can order their food!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out?”

Take care of yourself. You need to prioritize your time while also taking care of yourself. You should well round your days by balancing work and self-care. You should still oversee the business, but it’s very important to take care of yourself, too, so you don’t burn out.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are and how were they impactful in your life?

I will always be grateful for my father. He owned small shopping centers, and he used to walk around them and pick up any trash he found. He showed respect for his business. Then, shop owners, leasers, and other workers picked up on what he was doing and treated it with the same respect he did.

It showed how much he cared about his business. People are only going to care when they see that you care. They follow your lead.

How would you define a “good” company? What does that look like?

A good company has consistency, but a great company has consistent quality and communication. When you buy a product or service, but something goes wrong, you need to talk with someone from the company. A good company might be able to help you, but a great company can actually communicate with you and fix the issue right away. They listen to you and work on the problem. A great company also follows through to make sure that every product they sell meets a certain standard.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

Always believe in your purpose. When you have a purpose that you truly believe in, it makes running your business easy. For your potential consumers’ sake, you should take care of portraying your purpose and your confidence in it. It’s all about the commitment and focus on what you’re creating.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a plateau? From your experience, do you have any advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines?”

You have to change things and also be willing to do so. Everything’s always changing, so you have to change, too. You have to move with what’s going on in the market.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

I remain consistent. Some people try to cut what they’re doing. There are always ups and downs, but if you remain consistent, you should win in the end.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

I’m involved. When you’re a business owner, it’s your life. It’s the time: the time involved and the commitment to that time. You sometimes have 24-hour days because it’s a 24-hour a day job. When you have a nine-to-five, you go to work nine to five. But when you own your own business, you’re working around the clock. It can be tiring work, but it’s worth it.

In your experience, what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

With quality and consistency, you should be able to increase your conversion rate. When a customer has a great meal the first time they visit a restaurant, but a terrible time the second, it’s likely they’ll never go back. So, it’s all about the quality and the consistency. When people have something that’s consistent, they’ll be repeat customers. They’ll continue to come in and your customer base will grow.

A great way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Same thing! You have to be consistent in order for customers to come back. A one-time customer won’t help the business make money. You need those customers to keep coming back again and again.

Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience, what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a “WOW!” customer experience?

It all comes down to how you treat your employees. How you act and how you treat people is contagious to the people to work with. If you also treat your customers with respect, then your trusted employees will do the same. So, creating a comfortable environment where the staff learns from their leader is important.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The biggest mistake I’ve seen is lack of communication. When you’re leading, it’s all about communication. People can assume what others want, but that will only lead to problems down the line. If you simply communicate, then there is a mutual understanding of what everyone wants. So, the number one most important thing for CEOs is communication.

If you could start a movement in the world, what would it be?

I would start a movement for respecting others. There’s so much going on in our world today with wars among people because of their differences. Respecting each other and letting people live their lives how they want is a huge step in the direction of world peace.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Stoner’s Pizza Joint is on Instagram and Facebook.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Serial Entrepreneur John Stetson, Owner of Stoner’s Pizza Joint Shares How Giving Back Helped the Franchise Get Through These Uncertain Times

by Marc Anidjar
Community//

Erica Groussman of TRUWOMEN: “Attitude is Everything”

by Chef Vicky Colas
Community//

Erica Groussman & Stephanie Pyatt: “Make Time for the Little Things”

by Phil La Duke
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.