Author Topic: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!  (Read 7266 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2013, 01:23:17 PM »
Chris,

After studying the Google satellite map of your area, here are some of my impressions:
  • Your location looks convenient and accessible.
  • Judging by the apparent size of your space (from overhead), as well as the bench out front, I'm guessing there is no dining room.
  • Looks like there should be decent exposure to traffic, with the shopping center across the street. Especially with the Kroger there.
  • It looks like it should be relatively easy to make left turns into your parking lot.
  • Alcohol next door. (Alcohol and pizza tend to go very well together, and every liquor store customer should at least notice your presence.)
  • There's room out front, by the road, for someone to hold up a sign announcing your "special of the moment" when business is dead (most likely during typically slow periods, like 2-4 pm). Or just someone dancing around in a pizza slice costume once in a while so people will know you're there.
You want to try to get large catering orders during weekday lunch. Like for monthly employee meetings at car dealerships and stuff like that, where you'll be selling 10 or 20 pizzas, a huge container of salad, several 2-liters of pop, etc. (Don't confuse my use of the word 'catering' with actual catering, because 'catering' in the pizza industry basically just means large orders, packaged and priced for a specific quantity of people, then delivered.) You need to create catering-related marketing materials to give to businesses, then you have to find these places and get your materials to the right people (usually receptionists). And while you're there, give them your latest fliers and coupons, with coupons for both individual and group-sized lunch specials. Because these coupons will be used, but only if these materials are there for mechanics and parts drivers and salesmen to see.

And remember this: You get to decide what the coupons say. I'm not telling you to make ridiculous lunch specials. If you want, your coupon can offer something without even decreasing the price. It's the dotted line that does the trick, not necessarily what's inside the dotted line.

The chains can offer ridiculously low prices (which are still higher than yours) because:
  • Chains use mostly cheap ingredients.
  • Chains get their ingredients for much better prices than you'll ever get because they buy their ingredients on a massive scale.
  • Chains pay minimum wage and place ridiculous demands on their employees.
  • When employees can't quite meet the time demands of customers, it's not a huge deal because chain customers are loyal.
  • The chains have figured out how to be a lot more efficient than you'll ever be. They have expensive special equipment, commissaries, and other efficiency tools that will never be practical or affordable for you.
In other words, their costs are a lot lower than your costs (and always will be). You cannot compete with the chains.

Looking at the big picture, the one thing that stands out to me (and keeps standing out) is that your low prices are killing you (or will kill you). To survive with those prices, you'll have to sell hundreds of pizzas every day. That's not gonna happen. And if it ever does happen, it'll drive you and your staff nuts. You'll have such a high turnover of staff that you'll constantly have to be hiring and training new people, which takes a lot of time and costs a ton of money.

Right now Pizza Amore is just another supplier of cheap pizza; even cheaper than cheap pizza. At least that's how people see it. And the only reason they see it that way is because that's what you're showing them. One great thing about operating an independent pizzeria, rather than franchising a chain, is that you get to make your pizzeria unique or better than the chains. You get to create your own specials or choose not to offer certain specials. If you put in enough thought, you get to serve a market that has not already been tapped. You can't beat the chains at their game, but they can't even try to compete with you if you play your own game. Their bosses won't let them.

You created an opportunity for yourself to play by your own rules, but instead you're playing by the chains' rules, which they get to rewrite whenever they want. If you keep playing their game, you won't be in business very long.

$5,000 in monthly sales would scare me. It would tell me I'm not getting paid this year. Even worse, it would tell me it's gonna cost me money to work this year. It would tell me I'm doing something wrong. It would tell me I need to change what I'm doing wrong.

This much is clear: Something is wrong. You seem like a nice guy, so service is probably not what's wrong. Location doesn't seem to be what's wrong. Based on very little evidence, food quality doesn't seem to be what's wrong. Still, something's wrong, and everything seems to point toward your low prices and the position you've chosen to place Pizza Amore within the local pizza market.

Your low prices are killing you, in more than one way. As a business owner, no one else is gonna change that for you. You have to change it yourself. But you also have to understand why you might change your prices. You have to understand why you give certain items certain prices. You have to constantly focus on figuring out what you may be doing wrong, then start doing it right.

Success in the pizza business is a choice.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline 216.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Michigan
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2013, 03:39:09 PM »
Lets use this as a hypothetical menu. Does this look better than before? Would you consider changing anything more? How are the prices? Anything else to add or take away? Thought about adding a Chicago Deep Dish because you cannot get one anywhere in town! I am researching more and the price thing is really starting to make a lot of sense. Even if we were to lose a few customers based solely on price, well then they aren't for us. The higher price may actually give the appearance of something different compared to everyone else. I'm just worried about going to high. We are also working to get a "Take and Bake" to accept EBT so maybe with the higher prices the fact that we will be able to offer EBT may actually bring some of the lower income people back in. (Still not sure if we want to do EBT or not yet). What do you think?

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2013, 05:38:12 PM »
When I was getting ready to post this reply a few minutes ago, I decided not to post it because I thought maybe it was out of place and unnecessary. But then I went back to look at your overhauled menu picture, and I realized I had to say it. If you disagree with what I'm about to say, don't put much stock into my words.

I don't mean to be too picky, but the word 'gourmet' is an instant turnoff to me. I will not order from a place that uses the word 'gourmet' to describe their food. It doesn't mean anything. It's a marketing word. To me 'gourmet' says, "We think our prospective and existing customers are stupid enough to think the word 'gourmet' means something."

That's just my opinion, though. We all have our things that bug the hell out of us, and the word 'gourmet' is one of mine. I realize most people don't feel that way about it, and it may be the most effective marketing term out there, especially in combination with higher pricing.

I'm still curious to know if you have a dining area.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline JD

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2013, 05:45:04 PM »
I'm not from Michigan, but $20.99 for a 16" pizza seems a bit excessive. I like your "build your own" pricing though.

There has been a lot of good advice on this thread, and I think you should take a second look at the advice from shuboyje.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2013, 06:23:25 PM »
Thought about adding a Chicago Deep Dish because you cannot get one anywhere in town!
I was thinking about deep dish, too, after reading and considering what shuboyje had to say. Deep dish is a tough call because it's such a different style of pizza than most consumers outside of Chicago are used to. It might be a hard sell, but then it might be exactly what everyone in your neighborhood has been waiting for. I love deep dish, and I'd love to be the one to bring it to the people around me, but I know a lot of people just don't get it, and that would scare me a little.

I made several deep dish pizzas at pizza parties over the summer (about four hours straight south of you), and people seemed to like them, even though I wasn't necessarily happy with how they turned out. You pretty much can't get that kind of pizza around here, and standard central Ohio pizza is nothing like deep dish. Also, most central Ohioans think "Columbus style" pizza is what pizza is supposed to be. Still, I guess I'd say people were very receptive to my deep dish pizzas at the parties. (But I do make some good deep dish, even when I'm not happy with them.)

When I started doing the Giordano's style stuffed pizzas, though, it was clear that that style of pizza could probably make me very wealthy. In other words, people loved it. I got unbelievably positive feedback from guests. Also, I like my stuffed way more than I like my own deep dish, even though I'm really new at stuffed pizza. (If you haven't seen this thread, you may enjoy: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,25774.msg276929.html#msg276929.)

EDIT: The link is supposed to take you to Reply #154, not the top of the page.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 06:32:05 PM by Aimless Ryan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline 216.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Michigan
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2013, 06:42:46 PM »
When I was getting ready to post this reply a few minutes ago, I decided not to post it because I thought maybe it was out of place and unnecessary. But then I went back to look at your overhauled menu picture, and I realized I had to say it. If you disagree with what I'm about to say, don't put much stock into my words....

Oh, Gourmet is not for me! That was a simple template that I just put our items in. That will in now way be our menu at all, it was just something I whipped up real quick. I was mostly interested in the price and variety aspect of it. I am not gourmet and will never claim to be. We just make a really good pizza. Plain and simple! But thank you for the advice! I am actually leaning to the Chicago Stuffed pizza. If I get a free moment this evening I may actually make one and post it on here. I think all we really need to do is refine the menu, work some local events, and have an actually grand opening to really let people know we are here. I've come to the consideration that 3 months is not enough time to even tell what business is going to bring. Although, even though we did not want to compete with the chains, after reading and researching everything you talked about, we are competing with them the way we are doing things now. An overhaul and some tightening up is exactly what we need!

Offline waltertore

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1954
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2013, 07:07:33 PM »
Ryan and I live in the same area.  Here is my take so far on deep dish.  I had an old cast iron skillet laying around and after watching what people seemed to go for around here with food(heavy on fats and big servings) I decided to throw a dough ball in the skillet and see how it fared.  I say 70% go for our NY style and 30% for the deep dish.  I only have 1 skillet so only make a few pies a week but I bet if I put it out more the ratio would go up in the deep dish favor.  It is a simple pie to make using the same dough and toppings as our regular pie and requires no skill to make.  The EVOO that we dose the skillet with imparts that flavor into the crust and also makes a different texture.  I use the same size dough ball for an 18' NY style pie for the deep dish. The crust is 5 times as thick and actually cheaper to make because it is probably 12".  We load it heavy with cheese and pepperoni but it is a lot less than goes on the 18" pie.  Plus coming out of the oven sizzling and carmelized on the edges really gets people going oh and ah out  here.  I go oh and ah over a real NY style pie being made.  Walter

For the record I call this a Skillet Pie.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 07:57:48 AM by waltertore »

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2013, 10:15:50 PM »
Another thing to consider is topping prices. I don't know if I've ever seen another pizza menu with the same topping price for every size of pizza. I don't know the going rate for toppings, but I'd assume 1.50 for medium and 2.00 for large is appropriate. (In fact, those topping prices would probably be more appropriate for 12" and 14", respectively, as 12" is a standard medium and 14" is a standard large.)

Just noticed this: 13.99/15.99/20.99 for specialty pizzas. There's no way I'd buy a large with that pricing. In fact, that's the kind of thing that would piss me off and make me: 1) go somewhere else, and 2) never come back. First of all because price per square inch should go down as pizza size goes up. With these new prospective prices, the price is 12.4/10.4/10.4 cents per square inch, from small to large. What's my incentive to buy a large?

Similarly, if I order a 16" Hawaiian and you charge me 20.99, how are you gonna respond when I get pissed off because your menu says it should be 17.99 (13.99 + four $1 toppings)?

I've always liked a linear pricing scheme. In this case, 13.99/15.99/17.99 (12.4/10.4/9.0 cents per square inch). It rewards customers for buying a bigger size, but it also rewards you for selling a bigger size.

One thing I was thinking about earlier (but is unrelated to the rest of this post): Carryout specials and dine-in specials.

If I'm you, I don't just want my specials/deals to sell pizzas to faceless customers; I also want some of my specials and deals to bring customers into the building so they can see what they're really getting when they buy pizza from me. Particularly the clean kitchen/store, the friendly staff, the skill it takes to make our pizzas vs. most other pizzas, etc. I want you to see that I value your business and that my employees value your business, because I want to make it easy for you to come back, instead of returning to your former favorite pizza joint.

So I might be willing to offer a ridiculously good carryout or dine-in special on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It doesn't have to be a weekly special, but it could be if I decide a weekly special makes sense. Or it could be a coupon that's good anytime, with an expiration date to create urgency. But this special or coupon is not valid with delivery orders, because that totally defeats the point of offering such a ridiculously good deal.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline CDNpielover

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 705
  • Location: Northern New Mexico
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2013, 10:54:31 PM »
$21 is too much for that pizza.  It looks like chain pizza and I'd go to papa johns for half that price.  You can get away with charging that much (and more), but it really does have to be stellar pizza and frankly that pizza doesn't look stellar.

I'm not as loud and assertive as some on this forum, but I think raising prices that high is a big mistake.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 01:35:10 AM by CDNpielover »


Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2013, 01:18:47 AM »
Regarding your pictures in Reply #17 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,27882.msg282092.html#msg282092):

I like the first pic a lot. The rim looks crusty and strong. Looks like this dough was made of high gluten flour and maybe not much fat. I like the cracked crust and the crust color. The cheese looks good, too. I think this looks much better than chain pizza, but probably has plenty of room for improvement.

I like the crumb of the second pic, though I think the dough may have been used a little too early. Unlike a lot of members, I don't like big, irregular bubbles. This is pizza, not bread. The one thing I don't like about the second picture is the large quantity of thick outer crust.

I don't like the screen marks. Screen marks creep me out.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Chicago Bob

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12490
  • Location: Durham,NC
  • Easy peazzy
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2013, 02:59:42 AM »
I was playing around with the pizza trying to give it a little different appearance that what everyone else serves (Dominos or Ceasers). Maybe that slight variation could be appealing to more people and in return bring them in?
You have a lot of work ahead of you my friend...you should have come here loooong ago. If you don't want to loose your investment you better get on the ball and get you some no doze and visine an get busy here....just MHO.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2013, 12:25:53 PM »
When I pulled up a photo of Hungry Howies, cosmetically speaking, it looks a little similar to yours. I'm also concerned that you're both doing 'flavored crusts.'

Yeah, flavored crust seems pretty gimmicky to me. I see it as an appeal to stupid prospective customers, and I generally feel like independent pizzerias should do their best to appeal to, well, smarter folks, by offering a quality of pizza that you just can't get without driving quite a while. With truly great pizza, there's no need for gimmicks like flavored crust. Also, I feel like flavored crust lumps pizza into the same category as chain pizza, even if it's a hundred times better. You can tell people all day that your pizza is a couple steps above chain pizza, but if your pizza has all the same characteristics as chain pizza, they'll figure it out either right away or eventually.

What type of oven do you use? I'm guessing conveyor.

That's an important question, as is my question about whether there is a dining room. Because it's hard to market pizza as high-end if it comes out of a conveyor oven, in a delco unit. You can raise the prices and tell everyone your pizza is great, but if you're in a delco unit with conveyor ovens, it'll probably be hard to get people to take you seriously. Anywhere you can get truly great pizza, you won't see a conveyor oven. NY style doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Deep dish doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. NY elite doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Stuffed pizza doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Neapolitan does not come out of conveyor ovens.

Chain pizza comes out of conveyor ovens.

3 months isn't a lot of time.  You may very well be selling an amazing product and it's just a matter of giving it some more time for people to find you.  It can never hurt though, to take a look at the pizza your selling and figure out ways of improving it- no matter who you are.

Chris,

Three months is enough time to start getting worried if you're only doing $5,000 a month. (I've been a part of many $1,000 hours.) Especially if business was really good for the first month or so. Which is why I asked if business was good in the beginning. If business was good in the beginning, then declined sharply, there's a reason. If business was never good, there's a totally different reason. If you want to turn $5,000 a month into $30,000 a month, you need to find the reasons why you're only doing 5k. It's not an accident, and it's not because Pizza Amore is new. If you allow yourself to believe it's an accident or that it's because you're new, you'll be in the same position in a year. Your situation is not unique.

"Common knowledge" says business will be slow in the beginning. That's what the books say you should indicate in your income statement projections when you're looking for money, if you don't want lenders to laugh at you (because, as recent history has shown, money lenders are very competent at doing their job).

In my experience, "common knowledge" is almost always total BS. What I've seen with a lot of new independents is that the months-long build-out creates a lot of anticipation within prospective customers. Every time they drive by or walk by, people see what's going on, and they become curious to try the new place. However, when the new place opens, the owners don't know what they're doing. Even if their pizza is good, they don't know how to handle the sudden demand, partly because they haven't had a chance to learn how to handle such high demand. Consequently, wait times are an hour for carryout and an hour and a half for delivery. Existing customers don't want to deal with that, and they don't have to. So existing customers quickly become former customers, because they don't have to deal with this kind of BS at almost every other pizzeria they could choose. A lot (or most) of these owners never learn how to handle demand because most of them have no experience working in high-volume pizza or foodservice operations.

I'd say you pretty clearly have no experience working in a high-volume pizza or foodservice operation. That's not a death sentence, but it's a huge handicap. Regardless of whether you sell phenomenal pizza or chain pizza, efficiency is ultimately the most important aspect of operating a pizzeria.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 12:31:27 PM by Aimless Ryan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23353
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2013, 01:08:16 PM »
NY style doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Deep dish doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. NY elite doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Stuffed pizza doesn't come out of conveyor ovens. Neapolitan does not come out of conveyor ovens.
Ryan,

There are pizza operators who use hearth or hex type disks in conveyor ovens to make the NY style. We have one member in China who has been doing that for several years and now has three stores. There are also some pizza operators, like Aurelio's out of the Chicago area, who have gone to conveyor ovens to bake deep-dish pizzas, mostly in their franchised stores around the country. It even appears that stuffed pizzas can be baked in conveyor ovens, according to this PMQ Think Tank post: http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4410&p=24291&hilit=#p24274. One might debate the merit and quality of these products but the trend toward conveyor ovens is gaining momentum with each year. And it isn't just chains. There are also independents using conveyor ovens for the above styles.

I fully agree with the point you are trying to make. I just wanted to mention how conveyor ovens have invaded the territory where deck ovens have been used.

Peter

scott123

  • Guest
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2013, 02:37:54 PM »
I just spent some time on google maps.

Within 400 feet
Hungry Howies

1 mile
2 little caesars
Papa Johns
Jet's Pizza
Big Nick's Pizza
Good Times Pizza
Around 25 fast food and chain restaurants

1.5 miles
Another little Caesars
Another Papa Johns
Domino's
Tony's Original Restaurant

2 miles
2 more little Caesars
2nd Hungry Howies
Happy's Pizza
Pizza Hut
Milano's Pizza
Around 20 more fast food and chain restaurants

This is an intense concentration of chain pizza/inexpensive food options.  Honestly, had you joined the forum and said you were thinking of opening a pizzeria in this spot, I would probably have tried to dissuade you- it just seems too saturated.  Now that you have opened, I think selling anything close to chain pizza is an unwise choice, regardless of how much your customers rave over it.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2013, 02:50:36 PM »
Nice work, Scott.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #40 on: October 05, 2013, 03:03:54 PM »
Thanks, Ryan.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #41 on: October 05, 2013, 03:15:00 PM »
This is interesting: I was just about to write a post directing you (Chris) to some stuff about Hollywood Pies, which sells deep dish out of a hole in the wall in LA and seems to have a pretty legendary reputation; not for great service, but for great pizza. However, when I googled Hollywood Pies, I quickly found out that they closed yesterday.

Maybe there is a different lesson to be learned from Hollywood Pies than I thought.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 08:09:19 PM by Aimless Ryan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2013, 03:35:19 PM »
After reading some more recent stuff about Hollywood Pies, it's becoming clear that:
  • Their pizza must have been really good (and obviously marketable).
  • Their service sucked.
  • They had no idea how to run a foodservice establishment. Efficiency, planning, service, etc.
Lousy service is a choice, not an accident. Still, even with lousy service (according to a lot of Yelp reviewers), Hollywood Pies had an average rating of 4.5 stars (out of 337 reviews). What this shows me is that, in the end, good service and efficiency are both more important than great pizza. Great pizza helps, though. (But I already knew that.)

EDIT: After looking through all of the reviewer pics on Yelp, I don't think their pizza looks that great. Their pizzas don't look bad, but I wouldn't say they look anything like Malnati's deep dish pizzas. Probably a lot less oil in the dough, as well as thicker crust (that may have been sheeted or pressed), and way too much tomato (yes, even for deep dish). Particularly this one. It looks like bread. It looks not unlike a pizza that was constructed out of Giordano's style dough, but topped like a Malnati's pizza, then sauced like a Giordano's stuffed pizza, but without a top crust. Which means it's nothing like either Malnati's or Giordano's.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 12:06:19 PM by Aimless Ryan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline 216.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Michigan
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2013, 03:39:58 PM »

What type of oven do you use? I'm guessing conveyor.....
I'd say you pretty clearly have no experience working in a high-volume pizza or foodservice operation....

Thanks Ryan. We actually use Bakers Pride Deck Ovens for our pizza. Conveyor ovens just do not cook a pizza the way it needs to be cooked. We usually get an order and it takes roughly 15 minutes to prepare the dough, cook, and get it out the door. We cook at 650 degrees do really crisp up the crust and let the flavors of the ingredients really come out. Cook times and service our never a problem. The flavored crust, we typically just put a slight brushing of butter to soften some of the crunch of the outer layer of crust, but that is out. We actually stopped putting it on and already got better feedback about our crust. We actually have people coming in and saying that they typically hate pizza crust but devoured all of ours and loved it. Our crust has a very distinct flavor. We use just a slight amount of rosemary and basil in the actual dough its self. We found that this compliments the cheese and sauce very well. Light fat in the dough is correct.

I am actually experimenting with some different dough as we speak. Trying to bring even more uniqueness to it without ruining the integrity of the pizza.

Offline 216.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Michigan
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2013, 03:48:19 PM »
I just spent some time on google maps.
s too saturated.  Now that you have opened, I think selling anything close to chain pizza is an unwise choice, regardless of how much your customers rave over it....

Thank you!

We are working more and more kinks out every day and working on ways to not only improve the business side of things but also our pizza. We want to offer something distinct and unlike anything else in town. We truly thought we had that with the simple flavor and quality of our pizza but you guys have all made excellent points throughout this post. At the end of the day it all comes down to numbers, but the true reason for opening here was that there was no good pizza place in town at all! You would have to drive at least a 45 minutes to the neighboring town for a decent pie. We wanted to offer something good the the local residents. We aren't aiming to be the busiest pizza place in town, or make a fortune of our pizza. We simply want to pay our bills and share our pizza with the community, and maybe have a little cash left over at the end of the day. I believe that we will make it here. We just need to focus. Our monthly break even here is way lower than it may seem. We actually pulled a small profit after expenses every month so far, even doing the smaller amount of sales that we have been currently doing. A few new menu changes and maybe a different style of pizza along with what we already offer may help us to increase sales in the coming months. Only time will really tell.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2013, 06:11:39 PM »
We actually use Bakers Pride Deck Ovens for our pizza.
Sweet. Very sweet. That's a good reason to consider tossing the screens and baking directly on stone, which is one thing that can easily make your pizza stand out from all the chain pizza. I can give you a bunch of reasons why baking directly on stone may be a good idea, and Scott can probably give you even more.

Some things just occurred to me, which will be important to consider if you are seriously thinking about offering either deep dish or stuffed pizza:
  • With each of these styles, every oven is more like 1/3 of an oven, because:
  • It takes about 25 minutes to bake every deep dish pizza, rather than 4-10 minutes for most other styles.
  • It takes at least 35 minutes to bake every stuffed pizza, rather than 4-10 minutes for most other styles.
  • Most other styles can't (or shouldn't) be baked in the same oven as either deep dish or stuffed because both deep dish and stuffed pizza tend to bake at around 450 degrees.
  • If/when demand increases, two ovens may not be able to meet production demands, especially if you offer at least one other pizza style, like NY style, which requires a much hotter oven (if done right). (Have you ever noticed when the Travel Channel or Food Network does segments about Malnati's that Malnati's has at least three stacks of ovens? If you hadn't already thought about it, now you know why they have at least three stacks.)
What this means is that if you get a 10-pie order and/or a sudden rush (which will happen regularly once you get this place working like it should be), a double stack of ovens (if they're both set at 450 degrees) may be completely unavailable for at least 15 minutes while you wait for the first 12-15 pizzas to bake. All you can do is wait (and make customers wait, too). This kind of situation almost always leads to a chain reaction of longer wait times for everyone, and consequently less customer satisfaction. (I suspect that's probably one of the things that killed Hollywood Pies. Read one page of their Yelp reviews sorted by oldest first, then read one page of their Yelp reviews sorted by newest first.)

Considering these things, maybe it would be a good idea to test-market deep dish and/or stuffed by offering these styles occasionally as specials, rather than adding them to the menu full-time. That way you can find out how well they might sell if they were on the menu full-time, but you don't have to make a commitment.

I'd say if you have any plans to revamp the style of pizza you sell, you'd be best to start by offering NY style; especially considering the information you just shared with me (Bakers Pride, 650 degrees). First of all because with the style you're currently selling, it wouldn't be a huge change, which means the change probably wouldn't alienate existing customers. Also, if you do end up offering NY style, definitely don't use the screens (or any other kind of pan or disc).

Since you said "ovens," I'm guessing you have a stack of two.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2415
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2013, 06:21:34 PM »
...but the true reason for opening here was that there was no good pizza place in town at all!

I'd say that's a very good reason to open a pizzeria, especially if enough other people in your area share your idea of what constitutes good pizza, but more importantly if you are capable of offering what they consider good pizza. Your willingness to ask for help and actually listen to people's responses impresses me. Most independent pizzeria owners, especially those who are losing money, don't function this way. It's refreshing.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline oxymoran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Saginaw MI
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2015, 01:10:05 PM »
I was just sitting in Kroger parking lot across the street from you and just noticed your pizza place.  I Googled it to see if you were still in business (I'm looking to find some used pizza equipment)but couldn't find anything recent so I had to drive past to confirm you were open still.  I work down the street on Gratiot and drive past you everyday and never knew you were there.  I have looked numerous times for new pizza places in Saginaw online and never came across your place.  I would say there are a couple issues:
1. I actively looked for pizza places online in Saginaw and you don't pop up with Google.  You need your own website even if just to show you exist.  Very easy and very cheap. 
2.  You can't tell If your business is open or closed by looking at it from across the street.  The windows were covered. 
It seems like a good location with low overhead and if your profit margins are really 50-60% that's amazing.  I would be willing to make you a simple website in exchange for some practice time with a real pizza oven.  This is a website I made for my artwork: www.thearthippies.wordpress.com ( it's hosted for free so hence the wordpress.com part but for like $15/month it can be hosted as just pizza amore.com or whatever.)

Offline bigMoose

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 344
  • Location: OH
  • Kneading is Happiness!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2015, 08:00:56 AM »
oxy, I think they closed on Jan 26, 2014.  From facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/PizzaAmoreSaginaw
Quote
Pizza Amore
September 1, 2014
Don't worry everyone, despite the lack of updates on our move I assure you that we are still on track to re-open in Old Town at 417 Hancock St. Renovating a former gym into a kitchen was a much bigger project than we expected but we're finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. A contracting company is working on installing the wood fire oven and our sign is due to go up shortly, so stay tuned for photos and further updates as we wrap up construction. Also, we want to thank everyone who didn't forget about us and has kept in touch, we look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Like   Share 4516

Pizza Amore
January 26, 2014
We have a big announcement to make! As of today, Pizza Amore's Center Rd location is closed. We are in the process of relocating to 417 Hancock in Old Town Saginaw. Please stay posted for future announcements along with our new opening date.
We would also like to thank everyone for your support, encouragement and patronage. We never could have made this dream a reality without the help of this great community of people. We'll be seeing you all very soon!

Offline oxymoran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Saginaw MI
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: New Pizza Place In Saginaw, MI. Business Trends, Advertising, Help!
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2015, 09:39:41 AM »
Thanks for the heads up. 


 

pizzapan