Business People - Interview with José Martínez
Good evening and welcome to Business People. We are
fortunate to have as our guest tonight José Martínez, the
founder and Director of Pizza Rapida. José was brought up
in America and started his working life there. Now he is
one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Europe. How
did he achieve this? Well, he began his rise to success in
Europe when he launched his pizza delivery chain from a
small shop in the Spanish capital, Madrid, 10 years ago.
By the late nineties he had succeeded in expanding the
business to over 400 outlets and in doing so, he has almost
transformed the eating habits of the nation. As a result
of this success, he has recently been able to buy out his
main competitor and today, Pizza Rapida is well known
for producing top-quality food at reasonable prices. José is
now one of the wealthiest men in Spain. José, welcome
to our studio.
Now, did you do lots of market research before you set up
your pizza delivery service?
Well, not really. But I did do some basic research to get
the product itself right by giving some away to teenagers
in the neighbourhood. I kept experimenting ingredients until they all thought the pizzas were great. with the key
But surely Spain isn’t traditionally a fast food market, so
why did you think a pizza home delivery service would
Well, I just thought that the same trends which had caused
the fast-food revolution in the US were at work in Spain.
For example, more and more women were joining the
labour market, leaving them less time to shop and cook,
so families were beginning to think of fast food as an
attractive alternative to home cooking. The sector grew
incredibly quickly in the first few years. It’s a little steadier
now – still very healthy though.
Great! So you must need an increasing number of staff –
but what do you look for in your managers?
I try to follow the American system and make sure my
people get experience at all levels of the business. I don’t
want managers to come straight from university to the
office without doing the basic jobs in the company first.
Pizza Rapida was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1998.
Was that a success, too?
Yes, it was amazing!
Why do you think Pizza Rapida attracted so much
I think initially it was largely because the basic theory of
home delivery pizzas was new, easy for the general public
to understand, and fun. Once we were established, the
shares started to take off. And I’m happy to say that we’ve
been the best performer on the stock market for two years
and profits were up again by 45% last year.
What background did you have, or training, to lead to this
Sales basically. I started my working life as a salesman
for a soap company in America. After the initial three month training period, I managed to exceed the annual
target they had given me, but I was so disgusted by the
tiny bonus I was offered that I resigned and joined a
competitor. Ten years later, they sent me to Spain to run
their sales and marketing operation.
Does any aspect of the Spanish lifestyle help you to
promote your products?
Well, Spaniards are very keen on football, as you know,
and I think you have to be constantly aware of all possible
opportunities. So now, when top teams are playing, I hire
extra staff to deliver pizzas for the fans to eat while they
watch the match on television.
That sounds like a real winner! And what’s next?
Well, one option I was looking at was franchising the
operation but I decided I didn’t want to lose control, so
what I’m seriously considering now is producing frozen
pizzas and other food to sell to supermarket and restaurant
Well, I wish you every success with that and many thanks …