The margins do seem to be very good, far better than the ice cream business. With one caveat. Margins are great on cheap pizza but if you make pizzas with Buffalo Motz, good Olive oil, imported flour, etc, the food cost picture doesn't look quite so attractive. And if you make pizza with everything organic, those ingredients also get pricey. Yes you can charge more, but then you appeal to the fewer, more affluent customers.
Start up costs are minimal, especially if you keep things pure and simple. A wood fired oven, some refrigeration, maybe a mixer and some small stuff. Maybe $25,000 in equipment. If one were to open a homemade ice cream store, equipment would cost at least $100,000. In my store we have closer to $200,000 in equipment. We have huge electric bills and water bills. The refrigeration repairman almost lives in our store.
I think a lot of people fail in opening a business because they are unprepared for how much time and effort is required in running a small business. There are so many hats to wear. Making deposits, paying bills, paying taxes, doing payroll, hiring, scheduling, bank recs, maintenance, adverting and promotion, ordering food supplies, ordering paper supplies. All of these kind of things before you make the dough.
Then when you open a food business, you discover that week ends are when people eat, so thats when you need to work. I haven't had week ends off in 25 years. In fact it is rare that I ever get a full day off. And, when you take a day off, you constantly worry that the store is falling apart. When you have a small business, you can't hire a manager and put it on auto-pilot. You ARE the store. Ignore it and it will go away. I like the way Uno Pizza Naploletano runs his business. He is open only Thursday thru Sunday, "5pm until the fresh dough runs out". He serves nothing but 4 simple pizzas. No salads, no desserts. No nothing, except beer and wine. He will never make a lot of money, but he will have some quality of life. He also makes the best pizza that I have had to date. I will probably try to do something similar.
I am of the firm belief that if you put your heart into a business the public will respond. If you set your goals on making the finest pizza, the people will come. If you are excited about what you do, the customers will feel it.
Don't go into business to 'make money'. Go into business because you love what you do. Of course, you need to make money, but it should not be the number one goal. Just get the people in the door once, serve them something outstanding, charge a fair price and treat them like family. They will be your customers for life. The money should take care of itself. Always adhere to those principles. Do it right, or do something else.