This week’s spotlight is on restaurateur extraordinaire, the very cool Vaughan Lazar, President and Co-Founder of Pizza Fusion. Mr. Lazar’s focus is on Pizza Fusion’s marketing and communications. Vaughan has embraced social media and has built a dynamic following on Twitter and Facebook by engaging new and regular followers daily with his unique brand of humor, his strong sense of self and his passion both personally and professionally for many socially conscious programs and philanthropic activities. Vaughan is very involved in many activities lending his time and energy to such fine organizations such as the charitable, American Cancer Society to the environmental, City of Boca Raton’s Green Living Task Force and the organization most dear to his heart, his brainchild the Fusion Extreme Team, an endurance sports team committed to helping people of all ages achieve fitness goals while working to save lives and the planet through its various philanthropic efforts. Ladies and gentlemen I present the man who makes eating pizza good for you, Vaughan Lazar.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to share a Pizza Fusion pizza with and why?
Vaughan Lazar : My Grandfather. He was an awesome man and was a successful entrepreneur and farmer. He would have been a great sounding board and think he would have been proud of Pizza Fusion. Unfortunately he went on to his next journey before we blossomed. Did I mention he was a great guy to share a pint with as well! a CLOSE second is The Dalai Lama. I can hear his jovial laughter now.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is a typical day for you as President and Co-Founder of Pizza Fusion?
Vaughan Lazar : I spend most of my time looking for new and innovative ways to improve our commitment to sustainability. In the office: assisting in developing the brand and keeping my original vision on track. Meeting potential franchisees and working with vendors. In the restaurant and on the road: Developing new recipes, engaging customers on all of the social networking/media platforms, visiting our restaurants in 5 states. I am extremely fortunate enough that this job sees me traveling around the country sharing our triumphs and challenges with other restaurateurs and industry folks.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Vaughan Lazar : It’s just you and your “circle of trust” (Will Ferrel isn’t the only person that has one). You have to rely on your homework and gut instinct and sometimes that can be a bit overwhelming. But it’s also what drives most entrepreneurs I think.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Vaughan Lazar : Tough decision here… Either a Carne Asada taco from my buddy Rocco’s place or a bone-in filet at Abe & Louie’s.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at?
Vaughan Lazar : Robert Redford’s “ZOOM” in Park City, UT
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Vaughan Lazar : A burger with truffle fries! (Shhhhh)
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Vaughan Lazar : Surprisingly… nothing. A lot of my day-to-day activities with Pizza Fusion are “fun”, from traveling to gardening to running with Pizza Fusion’s endurance sports team… so a day off is EXACTLY that, me, my fiance & our 2 dogs. If you’re asking what my “hobbies” are, I enjoy snowboarding, surfing and recently drank the Crossfit Kool-Aid and I am hooked.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your absolute favorite pizza?
Vaughan Lazar : I am a bit biased with this… The Pizza Fusion “Founder’s Pie”. It has roasted organic chicken, kalamata olives, Gorgonzola, roasted red onions and garlic on our whole grain crust. A close second is a Pear & Gorg pizza with candied walnuts.
South Florida Food and Wine: That favorite pizza of yours, what is the best beverage to wash it down with?
Vaughan Lazar : A Dogfish Head 60 or 90 Minute IPA or a glass of Paul Dolan Chardonnay (Depends on my mood).
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one piece of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Vaughan Lazar : Throw away the rule book. If entrepreneurs listened to (most of) their friends and family, we’d all be doing the 9-5 thing on someone elses dime and clock by their rules. (Boring) Just be an astute student of your business, your industry and your competition. STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF!