Author Topic: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?  (Read 2193 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« on: August 21, 2013, 12:18:04 AM »
 :chef:

I have been getting very positive feedback from my "guinea pigs"....and my wife and I are flirting with the idea of opening a small pizza shop.

There are a few concerns...let me run them off..

1 - Location...I'm inland NC. People love their southern fare and while there ARE pizza shops, it seems most folks are content with Papa Johns

and 2 - Competition....there are maybe 5-6 NY style pizzerias in a town of about 230k pop. Not an impossible row to tow..but I will address my model and explain why it's a concern of mine..

First, I believe I can offer a  pizza that really sets itself apart from the rest..I haven't dialed in what I would claim my "calling card" JUST yet. But...I am definitely reigning it in. I aim to bring an NJ tomato pie offering.

I plan on offering a stripped down menu of just pizza and salad. This is my concern about the competition which will attract a wider demographic. BUT...I am also not concerned with an "unlimited ceiling" capitalist approach. I have no issue with "capping" myself. My target is "x" amount of pies daily. This way I can bring a "til the dough runs out" approach. It would provide me with a much more efficient budgeting protocol and make planning easier.

I also think it may (or may be  miserable failure) work as a marketing psy-op if you will. The scarcity will shape perception and if the product really does sell itself...I feel I can carve a nice little niche out and deal with expansion in a very structured manner.

This model has worked for several pizzerias. And the "pizza only" menu has been executed successfully in many places in NJ. Although, I'm not sure how it would fly "down yonder".

Thoughts?

Any feedbacks greatly appreciated and thanks in advance.


Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 569
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 12:45:14 PM »
Could you give us some details on what type of pizza you will offer?
I think it fine to have a pizza and salads offering only, but the type of pizza you offer must set you apart from the established restaurants. What will bring the costumer to try your place out rather the regular papa john's pizza?
For example offering wfo pizza made before your costumers eyes, will attract people if no one else has it.
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1167
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
    • Bat Man vs. The Penguin
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 05:09:22 PM »
:chef:

I have been getting very positive feedback from my "guinea pigs"....and my wife and I are flirting with the idea of opening a small pizza shop.

There are a few concerns...let me run them off..

1 - Location...I'm inland NC. People love their southern fare and while there ARE pizza shops, it seems most folks are content with Papa Johns

and 2 - Competition....there are maybe 5-6 NY style pizzerias in a town of about 230k pop. Not an impossible row to tow..but I will address my model and explain why it's a concern of mine..

First, I believe I can offer a  pizza that really sets itself apart from the rest..I haven't dialed in what I would claim my "calling card" JUST yet. But...I am definitely reigning it in. I aim to bring an NJ tomato pie offering.

I plan on offering a stripped down menu of just pizza and salad. This is my concern about the competition which will attract a wider demographic. BUT...I am also not concerned with an "unlimited ceiling" capitalist approach. I have no issue with "capping" myself. My target is "x" amount of pies daily. This way I can bring a "til the dough runs out" approach. It would provide me with a much more efficient budgeting protocol and make planning easier.

I also think it may (or may be  miserable failure) work as a marketing psy-op if you will. The scarcity will shape perception and if the product really does sell itself...I feel I can carve a nice little niche out and deal with expansion in a very structured manner.

This model has worked for several pizzerias. And the "pizza only" menu has been executed successfully in many places in NJ. Although, I'm not sure how it would fly "down yonder".

Thoughts?

Any feedbacks greatly appreciated and thanks in advance.

Hobbs,

I am a food fanatic.

I grew up in Boston area and subsequently lived in Seattle and San Diego. Few years each of those places.

I can say definitively that the level of appreciation and/or calling for "interesting" restaurant food is as low as I could possibly imagine here in SE NC where I live. I have watched TNTC (too numerous to count) restaurants with GREAT food flounder and vaporize. Why? Well we all know the potential reasons...

But.

I think a restaurateur here in the South better not underestimate the desire on their patrons part for beer specials, 2 for 1 deals, and wide-screen t.v.'s. And don't forget the buffet. Semi-serious here. I think 98% of all people in Wilmington don't care 1 bit what "type" of pizza they are eating; just what it costs and do you deliver.

Now if you have a true captive audience, then congrats.

From my relatively modest "pizza quests" I would tell you that in addition to great pizza you should focus on a great experience when planning your place. "Fancy" is not as fun as "Dark and Noisy." Communal seating and paper towels are more fun (and cheaper than) white linen two-tops and china plates.

As far as I'm concerned, at least.

And from what I can see, the places where people were having the most fun seemed to have been doing the best overall.

There you go!

John K
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 05:12:06 PM by Serpentelli »
I'm not wearing hockey pads!

Online waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1572
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 07:14:39 PM »
I have marched to the beat of a different drummer my whole life and have successfully pulled off doing an unheard of way of doing music and running a bakery/pizzeria.  Both of these endeavors have gone completely against the grain of safe and I have had more people than I can count tell me both would fail miserably.  If one listens to the public it will end up a failure because it becomes so dilluted, generic, and so lacks the soulful passion that goes forward regardless of the odds.

Recently I spent time with Anthony of  una pizza napoletana.  He is one of the few people I have met that is on the same page as me with vision and drive.  It has to be done.  With this as the motor driving the quest it will always be a success.  I have yet to consider costs vs. profit, and such.  That is me.  I advise you let your personality drive the ship.   This is a very powerful thing that most people never realize because they are so worried about the dollar.   Here are a couple links to my bakery/pizza endevour and music.  I have made it almost 60 years now with no real plan.  I follow my dreams and they all have come to pass.  Blind faith and doing something for the need of having to do it will always equal a success.  What is a success?  To me it means I have meaning in my life and a roof and food.   I live simple.  Worldly things really don't hold my interest.  Relationships and doing good work does.   Follow your dreams!  Walter

http://www.newarkcityschools.org/content_page2.aspx?cid=1032

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 08:02:39 PM by waltertore »

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 11:29:44 PM »
Could you give us some details on what type of pizza you will offer?
I think it fine to have a pizza and salads offering only, but the type of pizza you offer must set you apart from the established restaurants. What will bring the costumer to try your place out rather the regular papa john's pizza?
For example offering wfo pizza made before your costumers eyes, will attract people if no one else has it.

Hi bread,

No, no wfo offering. Even though I am certain I can tackle the style I am not so sure that is what I want to brinv to the table. I would be offering NJ style tomato/boardwalk style pies. Not sure what kind of oven I would be setting up, most likely a gas fired bakers pride.

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 11:33:57 PM »
Hobbs,

I am a food fanatic.

I grew up in Boston area and subsequently lived in Seattle and San Diego. Few years each of those places.

I can say definitively that the level of appreciation and/or calling for "interesting" restaurant food is as low as I could possibly imagine here in SE NC where I live. I have watched TNTC (too numerous to count) restaurants with GREAT food flounder and vaporize. Why? Well we all know the potential reasons...

But.

I think a restaurateur here in the South better not underestimate the desire on their patrons part for beer specials, 2 for 1 deals, and wide-screen t.v.'s. And don't forget the buffet. Semi-serious here. I think 98% of all people in Wilmington don't care 1 bit what "type" of pizza they are eating; just what it costs and do you deliver.

Now if you have a true captive audience, then congrats.

From my relatively modest "pizza quests" I would tell you that in addition to great pizza you should focus on a great experience when planning your place. "Fancy" is not as fun as "Dark and Noisy." Communal seating and paper towels are more fun (and cheaper than) white linen two-tops and china plates.

As far as I'm concerned, at least.

And from what I can see, the places where people were having the most fun seemed to have been doing the best overall.

There you go!

John K

Hey Serpentelli,

Thnks for the response..and your experience resonates with me as well....I totally have the perception that people in my area are slightly indifferent of what they shove in their mouth and chew up. And I mean that in the nicest way, lol. Anx I think beer specials are nail on the head.

I agree also with big screen Tv's...there in lies a dilemma.

I want to try to keep it a humble pizza joint as opposed to a bar or tavern that simply  serves good pizza. Although, considering the demographic, my hands may be slightly tied here. I kind of don't want tk.open myself up to excess liability and/or the night life.

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 11:36:51 PM »
I have marched to the beat of a different drummer my whole life and have successfully pulled off doing an unheard of way of doing music and running a bakery/pizzeria.  Both of these endeavors have gone completely against the grain of safe and I have had more people than I can count tell me both would fail miserably.  If one listens to the public it will end up a failure because it becomes so dilluted, generic, and so lacks the soulful passion that goes forward regardless of the odds.

Recently I spent time with Anthony of  una pizza napoletana.  He is one of the few people I have met that is on the same page as me with vision and drive.  It has to be done.  With this as the motor driving the quest it will always be a success.  I have yet to consider costs vs. profit, and such.  That is me.  I advise you let your personality drive the ship.   This is a very powerful thing that most people never realize because they are so worried about the dollar.   Here are a couple links to my bakery/pizza endevour and music.  I have made it almost 60 years now with no real plan.  I follow my dreams and they all have come to pass.  Blind faith and doing something for the need of having to do it will always equal a success.  What is a success?  To me it means I have meaning in my life and a roof and food.   I live simple.  Worldly things really don't hold my interest.  Relationships and doing good work does.   Follow your dreams!  Walter

http://www.newarkcityschools.org/content_page2.aspx?cid=1032

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

Hey walter,

Very inspiring!! I'm happy to hear that you can engage your passion at this.juncture.of your journey! And I agree 1000% that one needs to filter the  external and ride the internal forces! It may sound a little cliche but can't ever be afraid to.try or you will never know!

That being said...I still appreciate brutal honesty and constructive criticism.

Online waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1572
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 06:10:57 AM »
Hobbs:  Thanks and it sounds like you know the answers to your questions already.  People that are truely driven always do.  It gets lonely and sometimes we reach out just to try and confirm we are too alive....   That is the main thing Anthony and I talked about- the simple need to do things as they are stewing in our hearts and the lonliness that comes with that trip.  I too live in a food wasteland - central Ohio.  Growing up 10 minutes outside NYC, and living all my life up to this point in NYC, Sonoma County CA, Austin TX, and Brussels Belgium, has made me realize how different my food upbringing was compared to most of the USA.  On top of that my mother is from Italy and her family was deep in the Bakery business in Abruzzi, Italy.  We are slowly drawing people to us.  I make only things that I like.  Take it or leave it.   In the past year I have had 8 offers to quit my school bakery/pizzeria gig and open up a shop with no money down and also be able to hire a couple of my disabled students.  If one has a drive it will happen.  Like Las Vegas- build it and they will come!  Walter
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 06:13:22 AM by waltertore »

Offline La Sera

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 135
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 10:32:59 AM »
Do you have any experience running or owning a business?

Your business model and marketing plan are more important than the product right now. Places with great pizza go out of business every day. What's your "hook" other than a style of pizza, because that style will only keep you going until you run out of money? If you just want to make pizza you like, that's fine. But a pizza business is a different animal than just good pizza.

Everyone you know will tell you that your pizza is great. Blind tests with strangers tells you the truth. Blind tests with family and friends doesn't work either, because they try to guess from your body language or comments which pizza is yours and they don't want to hurt you feelings.

Pizza is the food that has fans spread out everywhere. Every place thinks their pizza is the best and customers think the place they patronize is best. Forget the best; there is no best. See how many sub forums on pizza styles there are here?

You don't really have anything more than a fanciful idea at this stage. You have a lot more thinking, market research and number crunching to do to before you're ready to ask for opinions.

Now, if you decide to make NC pulled pork BBQ pizza, or fried catfish and hush puppies pizza, or a meat and three vegetable pizza you might be looking at a hit and can just ignore any advice we have!

If you do open up and fail, all is not lost. You can always do what many failed pizza business owners do -- become a pizza business consultant!

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1167
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
    • Bat Man vs. The Penguin
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 10:48:30 AM »
Now, if you decide to make NC pulled pork BBQ pizza, or fried catfish and hush puppies pizza, or a meat and three vegetable pizza you might be looking at a hit and can just ignore any advice we have!


La Sera,  :-D :-D :-D

You MUST have lived down here at some time in the past. Did you ever have the overcooked collards and grits calzone? You must try it.   :-D

John K
 
I'm not wearing hockey pads!


Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12848
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 10:56:37 AM »
Now, if you decide to make NC pulled pork BBQ pizza,

Don't forget the cole slaw.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1167
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
    • Bat Man vs. The Penguin
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 10:57:36 AM »
Don't forget the cole slaw.

Mais oui, y'all!
I'm not wearing hockey pads!

Offline La Sera

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 135
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 06:50:38 PM »
Yep, gotta have the cole slaw!

I forgot about the side order of corn bread. Pizza with a side of corn bread and biscuits and gravy. No, wait! Just use corn bread for the crust and top it.

(I did live in the south for many years. I'm not making fun of "Southern Cuisine." I miss it...)

True story: I had a pulled pork BBQ sandwich (with cole slaw . . .) on the menu for awhile. I got my BBQ fix, plus I got to introduce it to people who had never heard of it.

Here was a conversation:

Staff to customer: "The BBQ is slow cooked for six hours..."
Customer: "So, I have to wait six hours after I order it?"

Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12848
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 07:04:40 PM »
I talked to a woman pulling pork at a fairly popular restaurant in South Carolina. As we were talking, she smoked a cigarette and never once took it out of her mouth. You can imagine where the ashes went. But they aren't lying when they say their meat is smoked  :-D
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 11:24:42 PM »
Do you have any experience running or owning a business?

Your business model and marketing plan are more important than the product right now. Places with great pizza go out of business every day. What's your "hook" other than a style of pizza, because that style will only keep you going until you run out of money? If you just want to make pizza you like, that's fine. But a pizza business is a different animal than just good pizza.

Everyone you know will tell you that your pizza is great. Blind tests with strangers tells you the truth. Blind tests with family and friends doesn't work either, because they try to guess from your body language or comments which pizza is yours and they don't want to hurt you feelings.

Pizza is the food that has fans spread out everywhere. Every place thinks their pizza is the best and customers think the place they patronize is best. Forget the best; there is no best. See how many sub forums on pizza styles there are here?

You don't really have anything more than a fanciful idea at this stage. You have a lot more thinking, market research and number crunching to do to before you're ready to ask for opinions.

Now, if you decide to make NC pulled pork BBQ pizza, or fried catfish and hush puppies pizza, or a meat and three vegetable pizza you might be looking at a hit and can just ignore any advice we have!

If you do open up and fail, all is not lost. You can always do what many failed pizza business owners do -- become a pizza business consultant!

Hey La Sera,

Thanks for the input...I think you're correct in the marketing approach IF one seeks to become a balls-to-the-walls venture capitalist. A gimmick is necessary to set yourself well apart from the crowd...but I honestly don't believe that some revolutionary approach is needed to carve out a nice little niche.

I honestly can't think of anything, beyond reinventing the wheel, that the local joints have incorporated that have got them running a nice little revenue stream. I have done a good amount of number crunching. I left no stone unturned in determining overhead and possible setbacks...even using retail prices for materials to estimate profit margins and using stringent percentages for fudge factors.

The only issue is hitting my projections...and sure, driving people in is the key factor. But again, I do believe there is a more pragmatic way of achieving this..like the previously mentioned beer promo.

And I might be idealistically speaking...but I do believe a good product goes a long way even by todays standards.

Offline La Sera

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 135
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 06:32:29 PM »
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're asking or saying. It's all jargon. Venture capitalist?

Offline Hobbs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Entertaining the idea of a startup.....any help or feedback?
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 04:00:58 PM »
 Maybe entrepreneur was a better word...

As for everything else....I'm sorry you didn't understand.


 

pizzapan