Author Topic: In addition to pizza....  (Read 2270 times)

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Offline aks801

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In addition to pizza....
« on: November 07, 2008, 08:58:52 AM »
What other menu items are generally considered necessary to help one get and then stay profitable?  Format would be: moderate+ price-point (i.e. not trying to be the cheapest place in town); possibly no delivery (that may be unrealistic); neighborhood location but close to large office complexes; west Houston, TX; no more than 15 tables.

A sandwich board is the logical place to start.  Probably some pasta and lasagne.  But after that, it gets more "iffy".  One of the best burgers I ever had was offered at a place called Panjo's: it was broiled, wrapped in paper then served one a flat pizza pan with chips.  I'd like to offer that.  Would like to stay away from having a deep-fryer.  Being in Texas, offering a few tex-mex items (crispy taco basket, guacamole with chips) might be a plus.  Also, I can smoke brisket, so in addition to offering a shredded brisket pizza, could serve a brisket sandwich.  One other thing: morning business can bring in nice revenue (coffee, kolaches, biscuits, pizza rolls...), but that means the morning crew (uh, would that include me?!) has to get in that much earlier, meaning payroll goes up.

My concern would be that adding too many things makes the place lose focus.  On the other hand, by offering a variety of menu items, you move into more of a "cafe" category, and that isn't all bad.

As you can probably tell, the concept and my thoughts on it are all in the infancy stage, as in: I just thought it through for a while yesterday!  So I'm just in the tire-kicking stage.  Any insight y'all can offer would be most appreciated.
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend


Offline ctimmer

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Re: In addition to pizza....
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2008, 11:38:08 AM »
You hear a lot of references in this forum to 'back in the day'. Many years ago (my work experience was in the late 60's) most of the pizza chains were still making pretty good pizza.

This was also when pizza was all the chains made so they had to pay attention to pizza quality. Things are all different now. A good example is Pizza Hut. I get a Pizza Hut pizza about once a year just to remind me how awful there pizzas are. The quality suffered when the focus was shared with all of their other offerings.

The only good reason to offer any alternative to your main product is sometimes a family/group will have one pizza hater (me when I was young) that could find a pizza restaurant tolerable if there was a non-pizza option.

Curt

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: In addition to pizza....
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2008, 12:19:08 PM »
There is a local pizza joint that sells bread which I think is baked in their wood oven from leftover pizza dough. Their pizza is crap and so is the bread, but, done correctly, this could be a good source of profit.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: In addition to pizza....
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2008, 01:34:13 PM »
Alan,

I have been a regular reader at the PMQ Think Tank forum for the last few years and, over that time, have gotten a pretty good idea as to the challenges facing pizza operators, especially independent operators. I believe that if you are considering opening a pizzeria, you have to look at things at the micro level. By that, I mean that you have to look in your own backyard where you plan to open your pizzeria and get as much data as you can on the local conditions that you will have to deal with in opening and running the business. This will include things such as the local demographics and its breakdown in different categories (using census and other data), local competition and their product offerings and prices, local employment costs and other business related costs (e.g., insurance, real estate rents, permits/licenses, taxes/accounting, etc.), and sources of goods, equipment and services to run the business. If you are in an area where the major pizza chains are doing business, you won't be able to compete on price (because their food costs are bound to be much lower) so you may find that you will have to compete by offering things that the chains don't. That might mean offering items like a broad and diverse range of specialty and gourmet pizzas, calzones, take-and-bake versions of the regular pizzas, pasta dishes, sandwiches, wraps, wings (there are wings that don't need frying and can be put through the pizza ovens), a range of appetizers, salads, local specialties (like the brisket you mentioned), several dessert offerings, ice cream, beer, and so on. In recent years, the major pizza chains have been trying to expand their relatively narrow product line by adding items that independents had been offering to differentiate themselves from the chains, such as sandwiches by Domino's, pasta dishes by Pizza Hut, and more specialty pizzas. Many have been offering wings for several years.

If your local competition is mainly independents, they will usually be in the same boat you are, so in order to compete effectively with them it will usually be on the basis of quality, better service, better management, better marketing, better advertising, and offering niche products that the competition may not be offering or other differentiators that you hope will attract customers away from your competition. You will also have to decide what basic business format you want to use, such as dine-in, delivery, takeout, or some combination of these. Each business model has pluses and minuses and will have a major impact on the cost of doing business.

I personally am a rather conservative person, so I wouldn't try to do too much with starting a pizzeria, as by offering too many choices. For example, where I live (outside of Dallas) there is a very large Hispanic community with a lot of Hispanic restaurants. I don't think that I would try to offer products that they can do a better job with, although I might consider a Mexican-themed pizza or two. If too many types of food products are offered, I think the focus becomes diluted and you may lose business because customer don't identify your business as having a central theme.  So, I would rather focus on the basic pizza business and the method of delivery, get them up to speed, develop a good team, and build from there, whether it is by adding more product offerings, a breakfast menu, buffets, or localized specialty items. These add-ons can get quite expensive.

You might want to check out the PMQ Think Tank forum, at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewforum.php?f=6, and start reading on a regular basis if you are serious about starting a pizza business. If you register, you can also pose questions to the regulars who are members of the forum.

Peter

Offline aks801

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Re: In addition to pizza....
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2008, 01:59:34 PM »
Thanks everyone for your responses so far, especially Peter for taking the time to offer up such a detailed take (from looking through the forum, this does not appear to be unusual for you!).  I did find PMQ fairly quickly the other day, and posted this same question over there.

FWIW, my restaurant experience consists of waiting tables periodically through the years (most recently at a Pappasito's 7 years ago), and as a general purpose employee in a pizza place in high school (was able to work some making pizzas, in addition to the other chores).  I am considering "moonlighting" as a pizza maker somewhere locally on weekends to see if I can still take it, and to start absorbing techniques and whatnot.
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend


 

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