George Farah is a college student and the co-owner of a pizzeria.
The 20-year-old entrepreneur is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso and co-owner, cook and delivery driver at Road Runner Pizza & Wings.
“I would go to school at 7:30 a.m. and finish at 8:30 then go to work, either 9:30 or 10 o’clock to 9 or 10 at night depending on how early or late we close. And I rinse and repeated that every single day,” Farah said.
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Farah said the family’s involvement in business dates to his grandfather, who owned a motel when he moved to the United States.
My father “is a businessman and entrepreneur, so I would like to think that I get a lot of my entrepreneurial spirit from him,” Farah said.
The family acquired Road Runner when Farah’s father, Farah Farah, purchased it about four years ago. Due to his father’s health issues, ownership went to his mother, Rita Farah, and him.
“My dad sold cars for a living,” Farah said. “I was fortunate enough to have some employees there to teach me who had been working with the previous owner, and I’m thankful that I have one of them who’s still here.”
Juan Fuentes has been a cook at Roadrunner Pizza for about 15 years.
“George and his mom want to try new things and experiment with the pizza. They want to evolve and make better pizza,” Fuentes said. “The other owner stuck to the recipe and would stick to the same portions from cookbooks.”
The rising cost of ingredients, including cheese and pepperoni, has made running a pizzeria challenging. Chicken wings have tripled in price, Farah said. Rising costs have forced them to raise prices.
“I’m constantly finding out that my usual vendor doesn’t have this or doesn’t have that. I’ve had to partner with a few different vendors,” Farah said. “I also go to Sam’s Club, Costco, Restaurant Depot and Economy Cash and Carry just to get what I need for a small little business, which is kind of ridiculous.”
Farah said they did see an “influx of customers” during the pandemic as restaurant dining areas were closed and more people ordered takeout. But as customers have returned to dining areas, Road Runner’s business has slowed.
“As there was more demand, I could raise my prices but now they’re too high,” Farah said. “That demand has fallen off a little bit because I’m competing with people who are selling pizza at $5.”
Farah said the pizzeria has a website for online orders and to showcase deals, but thinks they rely too much on word of mouth to drive business.
“It’s not easy, but if it was, then everyone would be doing it,” Farah said. “I really am truly blessed because not a lot of people my age are given this opportunity to run a business.”