Howdy all! I found this group in my search for information on starting a pizza place, and I love the site. Ctrl-B . . . nice. Kay, now on to business:
When I lived on the east coast (Macon, GA, specifically), there was a resturant chain called CiCi's Pizza. CiCi's was a pizza resturant that had something that seperated it vastly from the competition, or at least put it in it a different weight-division anyway: instead of ordering by the pizza, they served a $3.99 all you can eat pizza buffet. The place was always booming; I can't remember a night that it didn't have at least a good sized group of customers. I loved that place.
Naturally, when I moved here to Corona, CA, I looked around for a CiCi's but to no avail. They haven't expanded this far out yet. Rats. So I looked around for any kind of pizza buffet type place. Still haven't found anything, but it's always possible I haven't looked hard enough. Anyway, that got me to thinking: why not try to open one? I know that obviously I'm not going to do as well as a CiCi's, them being a franchised resturant and all, but I think it has potential, especially if I can manage to place it where I'm hoping to. My prefered location would be close to a college or possibly
a high school. Would really prefer a college though. The reason I'd love to be near a college so much is the high exposure rate, slightly easier advertising (posters and flyers around the schools), and seriously, is there anything college kids love more than pizza and beer?
And being lower cost just sweetens the deal for them. I know I'm not going to be able to afford to be as low cost as CiCi's, but I'm hoping for a $4.99 buffet, $1.39-$1.49 fountain drink, haven't decided on prices for carry-outs yet but I'd really like to have that available as well.
In all seriousness, this is all in a very preliminary, feeling it out kind of stage. I know alot of people are reading this and think that I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm doomed to failure but seriously, don't we all start out at that level?
Basically what I'm interested in is start-up advice. I've been researching costs and things, but I'm looking for general advice. My friend and I are looking into trying this as a joint venture, which would help cut costs somewhat because he does construction and has alot of free time (he hasn't had alot of work for a while) and said that he wouldn't mind being paid over time after we got rolling, and he does specialty work including making furniture (ie. chairs and tables) and is pretty much offering us his work at zero down payment aside from helping out with the supplies. So that's a small point in our favor.
As far as my general ideas for the place, I'm looking for a bit of a family-friendly place but with nice atmosphere for teens and adults as well (considering my target is more aimed at the college kids to get me off the ground). What I'm getting at by that description is staying away from the neon "Budwiser" signs on the wall but having it available for those that want it. Still trying to decide on the color schemes, but I know that really that's the least of my worries. Still, I've always thought that environment was something that was a serious contributor to what makes or breaks a resturant. People take very subconcious things away from every shopping experience. If you have the best food in town but your place doesn't comfort the eye, you still only come off as a middle-rung place.
I think price is going to be my main selling point as far as advertising goes. The way I see it, you can blabber all you want about the freshest ingredients and service with a smile and everything in between, but in the end price sells. I currently work for Vons (grocery store for those of you in an area without one) and I can tell you we insanely advertise things that attempt to seperate us in the minds of the competeition (Rancher's Reserve Beef: supposedly special grain-feed super tender meat; Specially hand-picked produce; Special "exclusive" soups and sandwiches at our service deli), but in the end, the local Albertsons is absoluetly killing us in the weekly ad, and we're loosing customers hand over fist because of it. And that's on top of our obsession with customer service and making sure we never have more than two customers in a line for speedy checkout.
Anyhow, I'd like some general "well, here's where you look like you need a little schooling" from you guys as most of you seem pretty knowledgable.
Thanks in advance . . . . oh yeah, if anyone has a clever idea for a name I'd love to hear it