Author Topic: Letter to a local shop owner...  (Read 4623 times)

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Offline Flagpull

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Letter to a local shop owner...
« on: February 21, 2006, 10:07:06 PM »
About a year ago I first stumbled on to a local shop that was advertising gourmet brick oven pizza. After going I was horribly disappointed.

Even after asking for it well done it came out to be a gooey mess that almost made me gag....I decided I would write the kind gent an email as I really feel that he is trying to make a good product...In the restaurant he seems cold and unwilling to discuss things which is odd because you would expect he would want to improve his product. Who knows.

Do you think I am out of line at all? He gave me a pretty cold reception so I feel nothing is bad about the email.

Quote
I was in your restaurant a few weeks back (and have patronized your location a few times) and had a few questions for you, as an amateur pizza maker I was curious as to why you chose to operate your oven at such a low temperature? If I recall the temperature floated around 600 degrees according to the on board thermometer.

While the mexican food we had was good, I found the pizza to be sub-par when compared to a few local establishments and certainly to other brick oven pizza I have had elsewhere. I know that you do not make your dough in house which is, in my mind, a fairly large faux pas if you are marketing your pizza as 'gourmet'. I also feel that you are using an inferior quality cheese (certainly not fresh mozzarella and from my tasting of it I do not think it is whole milk mozzarella either, possibly part skim?). This is not to say that a premade dough and a low quality mozzarella can't produce a great pie - certainly it does for many pizzerias everyday. I do not, however, feel that you cook the pizzas long enough (or at a high enough temperature) to notice the benefits of a having a brick oven pizza. While eating your pies I noticed no delightful charring and the cheese was just passably cooked long enough. I understand, again, that your prime audience is probably not as picky about their pizza but I feel that you have a great idea and you only have room to go up from here.

I appreciate your anticipated response,
Philip Given
« Last Edit: February 21, 2006, 10:11:01 PM by Flagpull »


Offline Fio

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2006, 11:57:56 PM »
Not out of line at all.  You were respectful, specific, and backed up your criticism.

You are the customer.  There are no rules except that you - and your money - rule.


Thanks for the post,

- Fio
Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.

Offline Perk

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2006, 07:15:46 AM »
It sounds like the pizza stunk, the best thing is just to find another place to eat.
There is nothing that speaks louder than no business.

-Dave
Jacksonville Fl.

Offline chiguy

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2006, 11:35:58 AM »
 Hi Flagpull,
 This pizza operator just does not get it, the fact that he is not making his own dough suggests to me that he has no real love of the art of pizza making. This guy will probably never get it either. By scolding him for this is like spanking a puppy for S$%#ing on the floor. They just do not know any better. I would not hold you're breath for a response, he does not share our passion.   Chiguy

Offline BigV

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2006, 11:44:07 AM »
Well written letter.

I've experienced a similar issue with a local pizzaria.  In my case the owner was told a brick oven will make everything better.  The problem was he had no idea what to do with it.  He had made pizzas for years in a 475 degree conveyer oven.  Basiclly a dominos style run 'em out the door kind of place.

Fortunately this guy wanted to make better pizza and eventually started making pretty good pizza.  Took him about a year to start making decent pizza.

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2006, 03:54:55 PM »

This is his response....

Quote
--the dough i use has egg and sugar in it and it would burn at a higher temperature...


...i am honestly suprised by your assesment...i've had literally hundreds of comments to the very opposite...
   i have many people tell me both that it's the best pizza they've ever had and the best pizza in york...
...i have had people tell me we're as good or better that some of the national brick oven pizza chains such as
   bertucci's and california  pizza kitchen...i can only assume you prefer a different kind of pizza or we just had a bad 
   pie go out to you...please come back in & introduce yourself & i will be sure to cook it to your liking =)


...the dough is fresh delivered 3x week... is as good or better than i could make in  house...
...i don't have the space to make dough--also, no walk in...when i relocate in a year i will at that time consider
   investing in the equiptment to make dough myself...w/a mixer and walkin which would be required i'm looking at
   close to a $10,000 investment


...i tried to use fresh mozz 4 a special margarhita pizza once & ended up throwing it out because it
   didn't sell fast enuf--no one uses fresh mozz exclusively...very few use whole milk mozz...
...as far as whole milk vs part skim...while i always used whole milk at home...it's is very difficult to
   deal w/in the summer in a commercial kitchen...it weeps it's moisture out very quickly in any heat & clumps 
   together to make spreading very difficult...i actually use a good quality mix of mozz & provolone...i believe the   
   provolone is whole milk.


...i believe what u r talking about is a different type of pizza dough...the kind that chars in black spots as 
   u r fond of is a dough w/very little sugar in it...i personally don't care 4 that type of crust...it has been my
   experience that that kind of dough doesn't crisp up as i like...i like the almost leathery quality of our dough...
   while i can't say 4 sure, it sounds like you pizza was indeed undercooked...it could have been a variety of factors,   
   i have been training a new staff 4 the past 1.5 months & if it was in that timeframe perhaps it was one of the
   new guys who made your pizza...if it was me, i appologise because i try to make every pie on the well done side
   sometimes the dough just doesn't cooperate & it comes out a bit doughy...

Needless to say I won't be returning.

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2006, 04:31:24 PM »
He might just be trying to avoid bad word of mouth, but the fact that he sent you a response and offered to personally make you a pie shows he's at least making an effort to please you.

It does sound like he's wasting a good oven by cooking pizza's at 600 degrees when he could be cooking them much hotter. But, as any home pizza maker can attest, you can make a great pie at temps well below 600 degrees if you try to.

If you want to call his bluff, go in when you're sure he's there, and place another order for a pizza exactly like you want. Don't tell him beforehand that you're the guy who wrote him an e-mail. If the pizza that you receive is still undercooked, then go over and talk to him about it.

This story reminds me of a new bar/pizza place that opened up here a while back advertising "wood-fired" pizza. When I went in, I could clearly see into the oven where there was a line of blue gas flame with only a couple of sticks of wood at the back of the oven. I had a drink and complained to the waitress that they shouldn't advertise "wood-fired" pizza if they're actually cooking with gas. So now the advertisements read "Stone-fired" pizza, whatever the heck that is.


Steve

Offline BigV

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2006, 11:51:05 PM »
Stone fired.  Must be a place called Volcano Pizza?

He is a little off on his cost assesment.  You can get started making decent dough with a used 60 qt hobart, single door fridge and associated hardware.  I've been there and done that and spent about $2,500.  The fridge was new.

Save your pennies.  There may be a pizza shop for sale soon.  Cheap.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2006, 12:11:09 AM by BigV »

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2006, 09:52:01 AM »
Off topic, but your joke about the place being named Volcano Pizza led me to this pic of an actual Volcano-shaped pizza.

Steve

Offline gottabedapan

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2006, 06:15:51 PM »
This is his response....

Needless to say I won't be returning.


I thought the letter you sent was reasonable, so pardon me for saying so, but the little temper tantrum you're throwing because he won't do things the way YOU want makes you look like a jack*.

IMO, the man is doing as much as he can, short of changing his entire business model, to accommodate you.

There is nothing in the portions of his response that you posted would make me think that he's trying to blow you off, and the fact that he took the time to respond in considerable detail to your critique and explain why he is doing what he's doing leads me to quite the opposite conclusion. You may disagree with his decision to use a pre-made dough and par-skim milk mozz, his rationale for doing so are perfectly reasonable and justifiable from a business perspective. His explanation of why the pizza you were served may have been undercooked is entirely plausible. And while you may not like with the style of pizza he serves, he is entirely within his right as the business owner to serve whatever type of pizza that HE chooses.


Offline loch

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2006, 11:46:38 AM »
I share your frustration with getting a gooey underdone pie when you go to a place that advertises their oven. I've always been polite about telling how I'd like my pie cooked and generally been very disappointed. People feel justified in asking for their meat to be cooked to a certain point, why not your pizza?

The bad part is, after a few tries, I generally just don't go back.

Dave
"As long as when she takes me out she buys me pizza and beer!"

Offline David

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2006, 07:53:17 PM »
Vote with your feet.if the guy stays in business it will prove that enough people like his business to satisfy him.I certainly would not change my style of Pizza making or compromise my ideals at the request of even a few dissatisfied customers.I may go under,but that is my decision.Rent "Big Night" ,make your own Pizza and have a Dozen of your mates come around and critique it.You'll have a laugh and get 12 different opinions.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Kamahao

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2006, 09:09:03 PM »
Phil my boy, you are way out of line. Let's tackle this point for point. First you state that you are an amateur (which is fine) and only want to ask a few questions.  However you go on to give opinion as it were fact.  Should have framed your argument with questions.

You asked why this gentleman cooks a pizza at 600°.  Perhaps I'm mistaken, but doesn't a brick oven typically burn wood?  If that is true, there would be no temp gauge/lcd on the front of this oven.  Most likely it is a brick oven on the outside with a Bakers Pride inside.  So 600° would appear to be in the ball park although ideally a traditional Neapolitan pizza cooks best at 550-575°.


 You liked the Mexican food, but not the pizza.  It's been my experience that Italian is Italian and Mexican is Mexican and never the twain shall meet.  You want pizza, go to a pizza place, you want Mexican, go to a Mexican place. The fact that this guy according to you doesn't make his dough in-house is of no moment for the simple reason that a "gourmet" style pizza is more to do with the toppings one puts on the pizza than where the dough is made.  You can buy a California Pizza Kitchen gourmet pizza at the frozen section of any supermarket and cook it at home and it's still a gourmet style pizza.

Let me ask you this, HOW MANY PIZZA OPERATORS USE FRESH MOZZARELLA? SO why knock the guy for this?  Would you really know part skim/low moisture, versus whole milk if all of the other parts of the pizza satisfied you?  The answer has to be NO. So by mentioning these things you raise yourself from an a so-called amateur to a professional, and you're not.

Is it possible Phillip that the only thing really wrong with this pizza was that it wasn't cooked enough for you?  They say a little knowledge is dangerous.  I think thats true in this case.  If you sent the email already, maybe an apology is in order to the owner and offer to visit him in person to discuss your issues with him and his cold personality.


I appreciate your anticipated response,
Philip Given

Offline John39840

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2006, 09:53:58 PM »
I actually thought the owner's response was more than fair and reasoned. Perhaps he's creating a pie that you're not accustomed to eating. In my opinion, it would be a boring world if everyone cooked the identical type of any food. But the true test of any eatery is the amount of clientele, and how many are repeat customers. And maybe in changing, he gains you back as a customer, but loses everyone else. Who knows?

Offline OZZIEPIE

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Re: Letter to a local shop owner...
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2006, 12:23:50 AM »
always quik too respond never to understand. :Pemail at that..pussy. :-D
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