How I Got Here: Patrick Ward

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Founder of Edinburgh-based Pizza Geeks Patrick Ward

Related tags Casual dining Restaurant Multi-site Edinburgh Pizza

The founder of Edinburgh-based Pizza Geeks, which recently launched its third site in the city, on the importance of admitting your mistakes, handling stress, and what makes a good leader.

Describe yourself in one word
I would love to say something that projects strength, like 'determined' or 'decisive'. In truth, though, I guess it would be 'dreamer'.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
To constantly be willing to learn from the people around you and to use that knowledge to better yourself. That and also to be helpful to people. I would say the majority of opportunities we have had over the years have come from people we have been willing to lend a hand with in the past. What goes around comes around, so be kind and helpful!

Tell us your biggest strength
My ability to have multiple plans going in my head at the same time. Some people might call that a flaw, but it's always worked for me and Pizza Geeks.

What has been your biggest mistake?
Taking some people's presence for granted.

What makes a good leader?
Am I a good leader? I'm unsure. Aragorn was a great leader. I'm more like Frodo taking Pizza Geeks on a journey as it's mine to carry and I'm lucky enough to have a great fellowship (team) to help me get there.

Who has had the biggest influence on your approach to business?
I don't know if he knows he's a bit of a mentor to me and that's probably for the best, but I would have to say my friend Simon Keane.

How do you stay motivated?
By taking action! I believe most stress at work is caused by having problems and not taking any steps to alleviate them. As soon as you address and engage with an issue you instantly feel the problem diminish

How often do you check your email?
Every time I get the notification, Far too often, my wife would say.

How do you relax?
As a geek I have a thousand different things that I could do to relax, but I would have to say spending an evening with my wife and my dog, Chewbacca, watching a sci-fi movie only I'm actually enjoying.

What was your dream job growing up?
I always wanted to be a chef for some reason. Probably more for making food for my greedy self than for any passion for cooking for others.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
You only get one life so make it count!

What would you call your autobiography?
Pizza Geek - An Unexpected Journey​ - I’m sure there are some copyright issues there, though.

Tell me something you think about the restaurant sector that almost nobody agrees with you on
Give stuff away for free!. We have been lucky to be successful at Pizza Geeks and we have always stood by our promise of the more successful we are, the more we shall give back. Though it's not the reason we love to give back to the community, I feel we have many customers who choose us over some other great pizzerias because of this.

Do you have any business regrets?
I made some decisions a couple of years back that I was too stubborn to admit I was wrong about, which damaged the relationship between myself and my co-founder and friend Fin. Though it was rectified about eight months later, Fin decided to move on to different things at another company. It was such a blow for Pizza Geeks and I will always regret it.

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