Teaching local youth the ropes of business.
On Thurs., Oct. 18, students from Fontbonne Hall Academy paid a visit to the Industry City location of Table 87 Coal Oven Pizza, 238 36th Street, where restaurant owner Robert Cucco spoke to them about entrepreneurship.
According to Cucco, who appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” the first Table 87 restaurant — which opened in Brooklyn Heights in 2012 — was the first restaurant to offer coal oven pizza by the slice, rather than requiring customers to purchase an entire pie.
“We now have three locations in Brooklyn that offer coal oven pizza by the slice,” he said. “We pride ourselves on using the finest of ingredients, and we love to add seasonal flavors to our menus.”
The location in Industry City opened its doors in the beginning of 2017, and, thus far, it has been a solid match for the Sunset Park waterfront.
“Industry City is filled with an amazing network of people and a unique atmosphere,” Cucco said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the network and we plan to grow within it.”
The Sunset community has also welcomed the eatery.
“Sunset Park has proved its potential,” Cucco said. “We have watched the neighborhood grow, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for Sunset Park. Our three brick-and-mortar stores surround Sunset Park, and many of our customers live there. The area is diverse, and many pizza lovers lay within.”
Cucco provided informative insights and tips to the students.
“Entrepreneurship has become a staple in society and in the classroom, and a dream for many young students,” he said. “With the opportunity to share our story, we have been able to give young entrepreneurs a firsthand experience. In our experience with Fontbonne Hall Academy, the students were engaged and interested. Many questions were asked, and answered. We believe the experience was a success.”
Of all the lessons Cucco and company tried to teach, the most important one for the owner was to let the students know they should love what they’re selling.
“We aim to provide the highest quality product, and with that, we have invested many hours of sweat equity,” he said. “We explain to students that persistence is very important. Think long term, and don’t be afraid to fail.”
Cucco also shared what it was like being on “Shark Tank.”
“The Shark Tank experience was more than just a TV episode. The entire process took months in preparation for a solid pitch and no, it was not staged,” he said. “Our founder, Thomas, was not nervous because he believed in his product. He knew what he was selling and he understood that criticism would arise. Our episode was a fan favorite, and has been replayed many times on live TV. Each time it airs, we see a spike in online orders as well as business inquiries. We are extremely thankful to have aired on ‘Shark Tank.’”