Meet John Parlet - The Man Behind The "Incredible" Concept
John Parlet is the owner and founder of John’s Incredible Pizza Company, headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. John’s Incredible Pizza Company currently has ten locations, nine in California and the newest in Oregon, with projected plans to expand throughout the United States. Moving forward, John’s goal is to open at least three stores per year and become one of the most recognizable brands in the industry for family dining and entertainment.
John has had a successful restaurant career that began over 40 years ago in his hometown of Winner, South Dakota. After a brief stint in college, John held a variety of jobs as both a lab technician and an insurance salesman before choosing a career in the restaurant industry. In 1969, he was hired as the assistant manager of the local Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the rest is history. During his three years with the company, John quickly moved up through the ranks, eventually becoming the field supervisor for the Midwest where he helped open new franchises. Even though he had limited food knowledge in those early years, John knew what he wanted to do and he knew he would succeed at it.
John’s first venture into restaurant ownership came at the age of 21, when a friend approached him about buying his steakhouse. Interested in being on his own but still wanting to play it safe, John hired a manager for the restaurant and continued to work at Kentucky Fried Chicken before eventually becoming both the full-time owner and manager. Even with the success of the steakhouse, John knew that he wanted to sell pizza, not steak, so he worked for free at a local Italian restaurant to gain the skills that he needed to achieve his dream.
In 1972, John moved to Ridgecrest, California where he opened his first pizza place, John’s Pizza Parlor. Over the next 16 years, John experimented with similar ventures in surrounding areas and cultivated the concept that his stores use today.
John first got the idea for John’s Incredible Pizza Company in 1995, after he visited a friend who owned a 300-store chain of pizza and game restaurants. John studied the business and its idea of offering something more for its patrons than just pizza alone. Adding to and expanding upon these ideas, John created the unique concept behind John’s Incredible Pizza Company, basing it on everything he had learned during his 25-year restaurant career.
In 1997, John opened the first John’s Incredible Pizza Company in Victorville. This 16,000 square foot location was soon followed by a 26,000 square foot store in Bakersfield in 1998, and then an even larger 53,000 square foot store in Fresno in 2000 which became the model footprint. Other locations followed over the years, including the most recent location in Beaverton, Oregon in March 2011.
Outside of his restaurants, John has had numerous entrepreneurial ventures throughout the years, including a 32-lane bowling alley, a five-screen cinema, and a computer retail store. In 1985, he started China Lake Systems and developed the RapidFire POS system that was used in over 3,000 restaurants throughout all 50 states.
Without a formal college education, John has worked even harder to be successful in achieving his goals. Having learned hard lessons and experiencing failures of his own, John credits his success to surrounding himself with good people and persevering through difficult situations.
“I think that everyone who wants to succeed in business or in life must persevere, knock on doors and never take ‘no’ for an answer. I believe in always looking forward—not just to tomorrow, but to the upcoming years thereafter.”
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