The Proven Entrepreneur

TPE 8 | Breadstick University


The founder of San Diego’s beloved restaurant chain, long-term YPO member, wife of a US Navy SEAL, Tammy Moore, shares her success and failure stories of her businesses, the rapid growth, and the barriers that she encounters while doing her businesses. The moment of conception for Tammy Moore is when she learned that money gives her freedom and that was when she was about the age of 14. Independence was given to her and was allowed to work during that age. She learned that independence came from freedom of working. During her first part-time work, she knew that she will be in sales.

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The Breadstick University with Tammy Moore

I am so excited about the guest I’ll share with you. He’s a close friend, longtime Southern California restauranteur, Founder of San Diego’s beloved restaurant chain, Pat & Oscar’s, AMI Pinnacle Coach for a few years, long-term YPO member, wife of a US Navy SEAL, thank you and him for his service, and maybe most impressive new design, build and open during a pandemic of Oscar’s Brewing Company, a new restaurant in Temecula, California. Please welcome my very good friend, Tammy Moore.

I’m happy to be here with you.

I am thrilled that you joined us. Thank you very much. We’re going to be thrilled to learn your success stories from your entrepreneur journey. We know that success stories are not always about success. Sometimes they’re about the things that didn’t go so well. We leave that to you. We always like to start with one good thing, something you’re grateful for that we don’t know.

I’ll go first to set the tone. I’m in Texas, in the great freezepocalypse, or somehow in what is the greatest state in the country. We have no power, water, heat, or internet. We have good attitudes, but we don’t have much else. We have continuous power in our properties. I am grateful. That is my one good thing. It’s amazing when you miss the little things, how big the little things can be. Tammy, would you share one good thing with us, something you’re grateful for?

I’m grateful for the people in my life, whether it’s family, my mother. I’m a grandmother of five. I have the most amazing friends, best clients, and team members. It’s the people in my life that I’m so grateful for.

It’s amazing how that connection is so important, family, personal, and business. We generally talk about three moments in your entrepreneurial journey. I want to ask you about the moment of conception. Think back to childhood Tammy to early twenties Tammy. Can you share a moment with us from your life that, looking back, you might say, “Maybe that’s when I started thinking about being an entrepreneur?”

I learned that making money gives me freedom. It came at about age fourteen. I’m 100% Armenian. Being Middle Eastern, they have strict rules with the females mostly. Growing up with these strict parents, which I adore and love, I’ve learned freedom of choice. Independence came with dollars I earned. I was a babysitter. I got my first full-time job at fifteen. I was a hostess at a restaurant. That was my first thing saying, “Independence came from the freedom of working.” That’s my first moment.

Sales is all about connecting with people and romancing customers no matter what you do. Click To Tweet

Since you talk about your heritage, which generation are you? How far removed are you from having family living in Armenia?

I am the second generation. Both sides of my grandparents were born in Armenia, so they were the first to come over.

As you look back at that first job in the restaurant at 14 or 15, do you think that planted the seed for what eventually became Pat & Oscar’s?

I went on from there to do many things, mostly in sales. I was in auto and insurance sales. I had the gift of the gab. I thought most of my career would be in sales. What I learned is connecting with people and relationships, which is what sales is all about. You talk about romancing your customer. It’s creating that relationship, no matter what you do, restaurant or dental supply business.

Everybody probably knows I was a top salesman in the country at 19, top sales manager at 20. All my life, people have said, “You are a great salesperson.” I’m like, “I don’t know. People just like to buy from me, and so I let them,” but it’s all about people. When you see things from the other person’s perspective, and you’re looking out for them, sales become easy.

People will buy from you, and it’s hard to stop them. Let’s go to moment two. Talk a little bit about the moment of the birth of your entrepreneurial journey, your first launch. What were your thoughts? How were you approaching that? Maybe talk about some curve balls that you had to hit, or maybe didn’t hit at that moment.

TPE 8 | Breadstick University
Breadstick University: Growing up with strict parents can open your eyes to the freedom of choice. You will realize that independence came with dollars and from freedom of working.


I was in sales. We were in the dental supply business. In the early ’90s, things started changing. The internet came out. Our clients could buy the same product cheaper on the internet. That industry started taking a dramatic change. From there, we thought, “We can sell cotton rolls and X-rays, Greek salad, and breadsticks.”

We jumped ship, opened our first 1,200-square foot restaurant, and went to work on touching each guest that came in that door with amazing Greek salad. Our signature item was that warm buttery breadstick. That was our calling card no matter where we went. It was out of necessity. A lot of entrepreneurs will find when they make that leap that it is out of necessity.

I wonder if entrepreneurs don’t need some resistance to push against them and perform at the highest level. Sometimes, we take it a little too easily when things are easy. What was that first 1,200-square foot restaurant? Was that the original Pat & Oscars?

We launched as Oscars and knew that we couldn’t own the domain to take it across the country. Eventually, when Sizzler purchased 82% of us, we named it Pat & Oscar’s, but it originally started it up as Oscar’s.

Oscar’s started in 1,200 square feet. That’s a pretty modest restaurant. It grew to how many locations?

The total was 23. I stayed on through 18 of those 23.

Many entrepreneurs make a giant leap out of necessity. Click To Tweet

Eventually, you exited with the sale to Sizzler. Congratulations. That’s the culmination of the entrepreneurial journey, to launch, grow, and exit.

A lot of people don’t think that far ahead and plan that exit. If you were to ask me the one thing that separated us from everybody else, how we got that valuation, was always the plan for it. We build 25 restaurants by a certain time and sell it all. That was easy decision-making all the way. It gets us to the 25 restaurants in the time period we want and the valuation. Every decision was based on that.

You started with the end in mind.

I wish I could say we did, but it took about restaurant four when we realized we had something. The birth of this was, “We can’t sell cotton rolls and X-rays anymore. We’re going to jump to Greek salad or breadsticks.” We had something, run out in front of Home Depot every Saturday, pass out breadsticks, line out the door, rinse, and repeat. That’s where lines to the door. The other big milestone was, “I have to do some marketing, but I had no dollars for it. Let’s go meet the radio personalities that are number one in San Diego. They’re always doing events. If they speak about you, my gosh.”

I ran to the side of the stage and had my little coupons ready. When they came offstage, it was that bold. You have to have a purpose and a mission. I stood there. When they came offstage, I said, “I want to introduce myself. I’m Tammy from Oscar’s Restaurant.” One of their key guys said, “Oscars, that’s the best place. You’ve got to go there.” He did the introduction for me. They came to the restaurant. Not only am I lined up to the door, but I’m also lined up around the block.

That was free PR right there. We were not waiting for the customers or the clients to come to us but purposely went to Home Depot. My father would go around with baskets of breadsticks to all the businesses and the offices and hand out breadsticks. We didn’t put our shingle out like some people do and wait. We went and actively sought those new customers.

TPE 8 | Breadstick University
Breadstick University: In the restaurant business, you need consistency. A customer can’t go to one location and be satisfied, only to be disappointed in another location.


You got out there, shook hands, kissed babies, and gave away very good breadsticks.

They had a calling card.

No dollars for marketing didn’t stop us. We went and marketed anyway. As often happens, when you deliver a phenomenal experience, whether that’s a product or service, it doesn’t matter. Other people become fans. You went to talk to the radio personality, and somebody else said, “Oscar’s, awesome breadsticks.” Our customers expect us to say good things about ourselves.

When someone else says good things about us, that carries so much more weight than when we do. Let’s talk about the third moment. Are you having a warp speed moment? Your entrepreneurial journey is progressing, but all of a sudden, things are moving so much faster and more successfully. Typically, it’s one small action and thought that accelerates your progress. Did you have one of those?

I talk about rinse and repeat. It all comes down to your operations, systems, procedures, and training. Especially in the restaurant business, you have to have consistency. A customer can’t go to one location and get one thing. The other one is disappointed that it’s not. It took us to about four restaurants where we said, “We have the exact same experience in all four locations. We have the best training. We’re bringing on these amazing people and getting five stars across the board on reviews on how great the service is.”

That’s when we said, “We can turn on the gas.” We went from opening 1 every 2 years to 1 a year, to 5 a year. The only thing standing your way at that point is people and money. If our recruiting was down, we are weak. The best ideas come from people before you. McDonald’s had the system because they created Hamburger U. We created Breadstick University. We were able to come in and train GMs all the way down to, not quite to the dishwasher level, but trainers, key people in those restaurants. We were able to say, “We can open 5 or 6 of these a year.”

Without the people to grow, you’re just going to go at the pace of where you can attract the right people. Click To Tweet

Breadstick University might make an interesting book title, Tammy. Many entrepreneurs spend so much time and effort making decisions day by day, issue by issue. It’s a lot easier when you have a system and execute. Everybody gets on the same page and does things the same way.

It’s all about the people. Without the people that grow, you’re going to go at the pace of where you can attract the right people. The other thing that was a big game-changer for us was that career roadmap. On our first four days of orientation, you leave an impression on that team member. Are they a lifer? Are they falling in love with you? Do they feel like they’re part of the family?

Those first days, they’re either connected or not. We would hand them this career roadmap and say, “Choose where you want to go.” If you’re coming in as a dishwasher, you can be a general manager. This is the path you have to take. These are the milestones you have to want to go achieve. It was laid out for them. I have a gentleman with me who started as a dishwasher and became a general manager. He is still with me in my new concept in a whole new role.

It’s the American Dream. It’s all up to you. If you want a helping hand, look at the end of your sleeve. That’s probably where it is. Tammy, is there something we can do for you, some way we can support you?

I don’t even know the word retirement. What does retirement mean? It means stop connecting with people and learning. When you are surrounding yourself with this new younger generation, they’re teaching us old Baby Boomers a thing or two about technology and connecting in a different way. I love watching these people whose first jobs are coming into Oscar’s Brewing Company.

TPE 8 | Breadstick University
Breadstick University: Boomers can learn a lot by surrounding themselves with the younger generation.


I love seeing their journey through their career wherever that’s going to lead them. We can support one another through always exposing each other to new things. It gets very lonely at the top. Even in my 60s, I have my mastermind or my forum group where I can get real and raw. That’s so important for every entrepreneur to have that outlet.

I got to plug the YPO. Tammy has been a valued member there for a long time. Are there about 25,000 or 30,000 people around the globe in YPO?

There have 35,000 people. It’s growing big. That’s the Young Presidents’ Organization. Now I’m in WPO, which is Want-to-be Young Presidents. We call ourselves the world presidents.

It used to be young presidents, and I’ll give another plug to EO, Entrepreneurs Organization, which used to be YEO, the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. Those young titles worked well when we were all young in age, not necessarily in attitude. We are still young in attitude. Tammy designed, built, opened a successful restaurant in Temecula during the pandemic. You need big courage and action to get that going. If you’re in that area, stop, have a beer, and have something to eat. Tammy, thank you so much for joining us on the show. I love you. If there is anything we can do to help you, let us know.

It’s my pleasure. It’s always good to see you.

That’s it for this episode. We’ll see you next time. Thanks.


Important Links



For information on how to work with Don visit Work With Don Williams

You can also reach out to Don Williams at

Please join Don and his businesses in support of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in its Mission to cure Childhood Cancers. You can donate to St. Jude at

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TPE 8 | Breadstick University