By Bennett Smith.
On Tuesday, April 14th, Andrew Dewitt, the founder and CEO of Dewey’s Pizza, spoke to a group of students in the last installment of this year’s Career Café series. Dewitt, father of freshman Rosie Dewitt, spent his first two years of high school at Seven Hills before transferring to the Taft School in Connecticut. Soon after, Dewitt moved to the West Coast to follow his passion for music.
Dewitt was first introduced to pizza while living in Seattle, where he worked at a local pizza kitchen. Though initially he simply strived to “toss the best pizza,” Dewitt noticed the possibility for a successful business. During the Seattle Mariner’s 1995 playoff run, sales skyrocketed. Dewitt observed the business model of this Seattle pizza spot, and when he returned to Cincinnati in 1998, he established in Oakley the first branch of Dewey’s Pizza.
As many new restaurants do, Dewey’s struggled in its first quarter of business. According to Dewitt, Dewey’s was selling $25,000 of pizza a month, well less than what the pizza kitchen is Seattle was making. A timely restaurant review may have prevented the local favorite from closing in its first year. Three months after Dewitt opened his first location, Polly Campbell of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a piece about Dewey’s. After the review, Dewitt says, the Oakley location was three times as busy. Since then, the Dewey’s franchise has expanded to over twenty locations and employs seven hundred workers.
The Career Café series is organized by Mollie Rouan (12), Avery Coombe (12), and Class of ’83 graduate Nancy Bassett. Rouan and Coombe contact Seven Hills alumni and schedule times for when they can come speak about their work experiences and career paths. Coombe says that she and Rouan chose Dewitt as a speaker because “he is an alumni, and since his brand is very well known, students would find him interesting.” Though Rouan and Coombe both graduate this spring, the Career Café program will likely continue next year under new leadership.
Image courtesy of: https://anotherfoodcritic.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/deweys-pizza/