Author Topic: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets  (Read 2780 times)

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Offline derricktung

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All,

A few friends and I have decided to start the journey of bringing pizza to the farmers markets in Chicago!  (Jeff Valentino already knew this little secret).  We'd like to do fresh, affordable Neo-Neapolitan pizza made to order with an additional twist:  market goers can purchase their own ingredients (veggies) and we'll prep them fresh on the spot to be put on the pizza at no additional costs.  (We would just charge for the dough, sauce, and any other ingredients they may want to use that we brought).

The idea is based on the open markets of Asia (specifically D'Talipapa of Philippines) where you can purchase your ingredients in a market, and bring them to a restaurant adjacent to have it prepared into a meal.  I'm hoping the health department will work with me on this, especially since we're only doing veggies and will not work with meats.  (Requires too much more equipment, and slows down service too much to do meat prep for pie toppings).

Here's our kickstarter and storyboard:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/721753181/za-pi-neo-neapolitan-pizza-at-farmers-markets

With all the great advice and thoughts I've gotten from here, I'd appreciate if you could do two things:

1.  Provide some thoughts/feedback on our plan to incorporate ingredients customers bring us at the farmers market.
2.  Check out the kickstarter, provide some feedback on rewards/story/information, support if you can, and help spread the word if you like our concept.  If not, I hope the various shots of pizza will entertain you at least.  =)

Thanks in advance for any advice/thoughts/help you can provide!


Offline Steve

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 09:29:18 AM »
What a cool idea! I wish you the best of luck!!
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Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 10:56:36 AM »
Thanks for checking it out Steve!

Offline MightyPizzaOven

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 11:03:48 AM »
Great idea... best of luck.
Bert,

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 03:49:34 PM »
Looks really cool, and good luck! Only thing that seems risky is if the customer makes bad decisions and then doesn't return again even though it wasn't your idea to make a nasty combination.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 04:10:23 PM »
Just a thought, but I think it would be much more practical if you had an assortment of veggies from the market already on hand and prepped, rather than having people bring them to you. Prepping and cooking pizzas is enough work by itself, trying to also prep people's vegetables plus assembling pies and manning an oven are a big task. Plus, I think you may run into health department concerns. Good luck whatever you decide to do, just don't bite off more than you can chew.
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Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 04:44:23 PM »
Thanks for the feedback so far all!

DMC, we plan to have ingredients pre-prepped for three traditional pies (marinara, bianca, and magherita) and then two rotating specials based on customer votes each week.  Whatever those specials are (typically 2-4 ingredients), we'll have those on hand ready to go.  The veggies will just be for them to add on if they want to save some money or customize more than what we're offering.  I'll have to keep it in mind and see how the flow goes.  You're right, the exxtra prep will definitely take time, but hopefully it will help draw people in as well.


Offline koloa101

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 01:22:46 AM »
Why do you need kick starter? Can't you just take a loan out to get your mobile setup?

Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 05:54:43 AM »
Koloa1 - Great question!  We probably could go a more traditional route and do a loan, specifically through something like Prosper or other P2P lending sources.  Most banks actually won't give loans to food/restaurant related endeavors nowadays unless you've had at least two years of demonstrated success (this is what two presidents at banks told me) so  that route it out.

There's a few benefits that kickstarter offers that a traditional loan does not:

1.  You don't have to "pay back" the donations in cash. 
2.  There's no interest rate that you need to be concerned with.
3.  You don't have to put up something for collateral.
4.  It's an initial way to help build awareness for your product/service/idea.
5.  It gives people a chance to voice their own opinions on the project, and help create some of what Za Pi is about (build your own pizza, voting for specials, etc.)

That being said, there's also drawbacks to using a Kickstarter:
1.  5% of the final raised funds goes to Kickstarter (skim off the top for the service)
2.  Up to 5% of the final funds goes to Amazon Payments (for processing the payments).

All in all, I felt kickstarter would be a better measure of whether people are interested in having a farmers market Neo-Neapolitan pizza service with less risk on my part and more involvement from the public's part.  While it would be a dream to make pizzas for people, it's difficult to commit $12,000 to an idea/project not knowing whether people will embrace it or not.  What's my dream to make and serve great pizza may just not jive with people out there, and this is a great way to first "test" the market to find out whether people will want to enjoy great pizzas.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 06:01:31 AM by derricktung »

Offline koloa101

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 09:44:49 AM »
Why not try other ways besides the traditional SBA/business/bank loan?
For example, chase is offering 0% interest credit card for 15 months. If you have a 401k, a loan is payable for different terms and the interest paid would be returned back into the 401k.

Where will the commissary be located? I find that to be the most expensive/difficult part of my project. Last year, I purchased bakery equipment that is currently stored away. Now I am looking for rental property but realtors and landlords are a difficult bunch. So many buildings nearby are vacant for many years. Landlords are still asking premium price. Someone out there is always trying to getcha!




Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 04:33:36 PM »
Koloa,

Great example and idea for other approaches, but again, it's more than just the money.  There's less risk from a Kickstarter perspective and the idea gets exposure/marketing/buy-in through Kickstarter allowing. 

For the commissary, I'm working with a local bakery to do our prep and dough in the evenings.  Depending on what you're looking to do and how often you want to sell, I'd suggest checking out local culinary schools, bakeries, and other places that don't have a traditional "dinner service" to see if you can rent their kitchen on an hourly basis.  If you're only going a few hours a week (which is what I'm doing with farmer's market), it's far cheaper to rent a space from someone that's already passed inspection vs. setting up your own. 

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 11:51:02 AM »
I truly wish you the best of luck with the local health department, I can see them being very difficult about this plan.'


As for financing: "2 years demonstrated success"?
 We've been operating profitably for over 5 years, we found a great property for pennies on the dollar that was a foreclosure and a failed SBA loan program that I wanted to purchase, and an SBA guarantee (90% guarantee up to $2.5 million) and we could not gain any financing from traditional sources with the guarantee.
I hope you have some close friends that can help you, But before spending a dime, please try to get zoning and health department approval, I am betting the health department will want a HACCP plan, and sourcing vegetable that have not come through a licensed wholesaler will stop that from happening real quick.

I am not trying to pee into your wheaties, just sharing some troubling experiences with lending institutions and health departments.
A skinny cook is not to be trusted!

Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 12:49:55 PM »
GotRocks,

Thanks for the tip.  I'll work on that this week moving forward.  In the worst case scenario, we end up not being able to execute on the idea of people using farmer's market ingredients immediately on-site, we'll just have to source them ourselves or bring our own prepped ingredients.  We would still execute with that kind of plan, but ideally we can highlight some great local veggies immediately upon  purchase.

Thanks again for the tip and supportive words!


Offline pythonic

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 10:07:11 PM »
Great idea and good luck.

P.S.  Dont ever borrow from your 401k.  The interest payed back is nada compared to growth you will miss.
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.

Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 08:01:54 AM »
@Pythonic - Thanks for the tip.  I"m definitely a math and finance geek at heart as well, so my 401K will be happily intact.  I appreciate you watching out for me though!

Offline JD

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 08:43:23 AM »
A moment in my life that stands out above many others: Fishing in Costa Rica and subsequently bringing our catch back to a local restaurant for them to prepare a fresh assorted lunch for my family & friends. You just cannot beat fresh.

I sincerely hope your idea is made into a reality because I think it would be a hit with the locals. Good luck!
Josh

Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 09:39:38 AM »
Thanks for the supporting words, JD!  I agree... the ability to eat fresh is just unparalleled.  Wish me luck when I talk to the local health department...

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 09:45:57 AM »
It seems like most "farmer's markets" nowadays are just a different venue to sell the same produce you buy at the grocery store. There may be the occasional item or two that is actually local and fresh, but the vast majority is not in most cases.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline derricktung

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 10:27:13 AM »
It seems like most "farmer's markets" nowadays are just a different venue to sell the same produce you buy at the grocery store. There may be the occasional item or two that is actually local and fresh, but the vast majority is not in most cases.

The farmers markets in the Chicago area seem to be local (Midwest) growers and producers of their actual items.   It somewhat depends on how you define local (does a farmer bringing his crop from Wisconsin to Chicago for sale count as local?).   While I haven't actually done background checks on each farmer, the ones I have talked to are definitely lugging their crops to market for selling. 

Are you finding that your quality of meats/veggies at farmers market no better than most grocery stores in TX?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Za Pi - Bringing Neo-Neapolitan Pizza to Chicagoland farmers markets
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 10:45:43 AM »
The farmers markets in the Chicago area seem to be local (Midwest) growers and producers of their actual items.   It somewhat depends on how you define local (does a farmer bringing his crop from Wisconsin to Chicago for sale count as local?).   While I haven't actually done background checks on each farmer, the ones I have talked to are definitely lugging their crops to market for selling. 

Are you finding that your quality of meats/veggies at farmers market no better than most grocery stores in TX?

I'd say the quality of the produce I see at the local "farmer's market's" is roughly on par with what I see at local grocery stores. However, I would also note that the produce quality at the HEB chain here is significantly higher than the national average, so it's a higher bar for the "farmer's market" here.

Often it's obvious the produce isn't local - like when they are selling things that either are not grown locally or are well out of season locally - or when you see the boxes they pulled it out of. In my experience here, a few of the vendors may have one or two local items, but most of what they sell is not and most are not selling anything that they grew personally.

I think generally, the "freshness" is not the result of the produce being local or fresh but rather that the produce the small vendor sells didn't sit in a distribution center for a few extra days along the way.  They can also carry some specialty items typically only available to restaurants because the volume or perishability doesn't work in retail.
Pizza is not bread.


 

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