Author Topic: Dive in?  (Read 4371 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Dive in?
« on: July 01, 2009, 05:48:58 PM »
I figured I'd share with you guys about where I am at and maybe get some opinions.  For the past few years I've been researching opening up a pizzeria.  My sort of dream is a place like American Flatbread where people are sitting around by a fire drinking beer while waiting for your pizza but this is not very realistic in this area so there will have to be some compromises.

We (my wife and I) found a little hole in the wall here in Bergen County NJ that fits our bill.  A lot of this has to do with our $$$ which since we are paying cash for everything and opening on a tight budget, we'd be taking over a pizza place that went out of business (nobody ever heard of it, including myself so I am not worried much about the stigma attached with it).  The fact that it was a pizza place helps out with a few things that would be costly already being in place (they took all of their equipment which is fine with me but for example an ADA bathroom, some 3 phase wiring, etc.).   Location has poor visibility but great central location and parking (which can be tough here).  We'll have to overcome the visibility with advertising.  One nice thing is I will be able to make a website and do online ordering for essentially no cost aside from CC fees and merchant account.  Demographic here is upper middle to upper class.  This is in the town over from A Mano, a lot different from Ridgewood, but still a lot of well to do people.

The concept is formed somewhat around the location due to limited size but also due to my personal preference.  Overall it is sort of like a mix between zPizza, Naked Pizza and Pizza Fusion, but of course better (I don't particularly like the food from zPizza or Pizza Fusion and haven't tried Naked Pizza).  We are looking for fresh, healthy, local, organic.  In terms of sourcing ingredients cheese is actually my biggest concern as it is the single most expensive component of the pizza and I'd love to find a source of cheese that is local, rBST/rBGH free and/or organic.  Great fresh, local cow's milk mozzarella is an easy find but these will not likely fit either of the other criteria.  I also do not know how fresh mozzarella would do in delivery and if it would be a deal breaker for people with children who seem to prefer dry mozzarella.  Dine in would be extremely limited, most likely seating for 16 via 4 tables of 4.  I believe we would have to do delivery and take out to profit even though delivery is not something I would do if I had the choice.  Menu would be limited to pizza and salads, no fryers, burners, etc. planned.   While it may seem random my wife would like to do some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies as well!  For the pizza, I am thinking a cook temp of something like 600F, possibly higher and something like a 22oz dough ball for 16" pizza.  I would need to do a lot of testing in a real oven but don't want to pull the trigger as if we pick this location we'll be getting specifically small ovens  due to space limitations.  For ovens this will be a difficult decision and unsure between gas and electric.  Gas is pretty cheap here, at around $1.50 per 100,000 BTUs.  I like the Baker's Pride GS805 which are small, 4 x 16" each (x2).  I hope that we could do 60/hour in that combination.    Electric seems like it has its advantages as well.  The one Jeff Varasano has which comes in a 32.5x32.5 deck.  It is very small, efficient and won't give off a ton of heat.  Requires much less heat up time.  There's also local oven manufacturer that will make us basically a Baker's Pride clone with more powerful gas burners, also.  This would mainly be for recovery not for baking at a hotter temperature.  I did score an OLD work horse Hobart 80 quart mixer for basically nothing but haven't tried it out yet.  It isn't pretty but the guy said it works fine.  He upgraded to a 120qt.

We are sort of in a holding pattern deciding whether or not to pull the trigger.  Part of the obvious tough decision is that it is going to be a full time++ job, and  will not really leave time for my current position where I've been 5+ years.  One option we have is opening Fri-Sun weekly where I could keep my FT job, but I am not sure how this will be perceived by potential customers.  If we did do a 3 day week, we could rent out the space to bakers or whatever during the week to offset income if necessary.  I've got the spreadsheets all done up but  basically it comes down to "If I can sell X pizzas then we will do OK" but who knows the answer to "IF"?!   In the meantime I've gotten a job at a pizza place, learning a lot, and am trying to hone in on the answer to that question. 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 08:23:26 AM by pcampbell »
Patrick


Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 183
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 10:58:19 PM »
My sort of dream is a place like American Flatbread where people are sitting around by a fire drinking beer while waiting for your pizza but this is not very realistic in this area so there will have to be some compromises.
 

why is this not very realistic?
"Simplicity is Complexity Resolved"

-Constantin Brancusi

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2009, 08:19:56 AM »
I am not sure if there is a market it for, but space here starts at about $30/sq.ft per year so for 1000 square feet is $2500 a month.  For a lot of places that doesn't include taxes or maintenance, another $500 a month!  Not to mention a liquor license is about a million dollars here.

If I moved, this could be different. We visited a place just up the road in New york, a cute old 1700's (!) tavern that was owned by a some famous (not to me) french chef and he moved back to the big city.  It even has an apartment on top of the restaurant.  But, we aren't in a position to sell our house at the moment.
Patrick

Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 183
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 08:29:37 AM »
If you build it, they will come.

Don't sell your house...buy this other property and rent out the top...pizza place on the bottom.

Look at American Flatbread in Waitsfield...they are housed in a barn. You could also do what you suggested...pizza on the weekends, rent out the kitchen space during the week.

IMHO....

Regards,

BRD
"Simplicity is Complexity Resolved"

-Constantin Brancusi

Offline CaptSammy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 25
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 01:55:56 PM »
I figured I'd share with you guys about where I am at and maybe get some opinions.  For the past few years I've been researching opening up a pizzeria. 


We are sort of in a holding pattern deciding whether or not to pull the trigger.  Part of the obvious tough decision is that it is going to be a full time++ job, and  will not really leave time for my current position where I've been 5+ years.  One option we have is opening Fri-Sun weekly where I could keep my FT job, but I am not sure how this will be perceived by potential customers.  If we did do a 3 day week, we could rent out the space to bakers or whatever during the week to offset income if necessary.  I've got the spreadsheets all done up but  basically it comes down to "If I can sell X pizzas then we will do OK" but who knows the answer to "IF"?!   In the meantime I've gotten a job at a pizza place, learning a lot, and am trying to hone in on the answer to that question. 

You may want to go to this site and make this post    http://www.pmq.com 
The site is made up of Pizza business owners. A lot of your concerns could be better answered there. I can tell you so far, from the size, you will have to definetly be doing delivery. You don't have to limit your menu to pizza salads etc. There are lots of things you can make in your ovens. Once again you will get tons of ideas from PMQ.

I own a takeout restaurant and we added Pizza to our menu, when I made my first post here looking for ideas, one of the guys suggested the PMQ site between this site and that one, you will get a lot of good advice.

Best of luck
 

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 03:32:09 PM »
PC,
 Sounds great to me I also dream that dream often. OK so I am living next to/very close to ridgewood currently and am interested in your venture? are you Talking Midland park? Glen Rock? Waldwick? Old Tappan Tavern?
I have been to, and taste tested every pizza in those parts. Hope you can share some more info with me. scrap the liquor license it BYOB option in BC for a lot less.
John
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 03:36:09 PM by JConk007 »
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline jeff v

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1466
  • Location: Orland Park, IL
  • I'm Valentino not Varasano :)
    • Pizzeria Valentino
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 05:01:24 PM »
Dive in.



My questions would be-

Is there really a market for that type of pizza? Will a great pizza that is not 100% organic fit the bill instead? Do you have a good handle on the costs to start and monthly expenses?

Best of luck,

Jeff
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 05:54:00 PM »
PC,
 Sounds great to me I also dream that dream often. OK so I am living next to/very close to ridgewood currently and am interested in your venture? are you Talking Midland park? Glen Rock? Waldwick? Old Tappan Tavern?
I have been to, and taste tested every pizza in those parts. Hope you can share some more info with me. scrap the liquor license it BYOB option in BC for a lot less.
John

Hi John, that's great.  I didn't know anyone on here lived nearby.  We are in Midland Park but I grew up in Ridgewood.   This place is across from Kinchley's (next to Matthew's Diner) in the little strip mall.  I am still sort of trying to figure out if Waldwick is going to be a town that could support this sort of operation.  Pizza Fusion seems to be doing well, but I think for delivery they are getting mostly Ridgewood customers.  I don't know if residents of other towns like Allendale, Wyckoff or Saddle River, Ho-Ho-Kus would reach out to Waldwick for pizza even if it was something they didn't have access to otherwise.  It was called "Lombardo's"--I had never heard of it and I feel like I am generally aware of what is going on with local pizza places. I also would like to find out how long it has been gone because the landlord does seem quite anxious.

Glen Rock is interesting, as there's at least 3 decent retail spaces available, but they are almost three in a row next to John's Boy pizzeria.

Now I'm curious to know whose pizzeria dough you were trying in your oven the other day. ???
Patrick

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 903
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2009, 10:20:39 PM »
Patrick
In my opinion you are doing exactly what you should do...work in the industry awhile and get an education.  The education you are obtaining now is a hell of a lot cheaper than the one you get from the school of hard knocks.  Making a great pizza and managing a pizza restaurant are two entirely different things.  And when the time comes and you've done your homework, then jump in all the way and go for it.  There is so much information available , and then are so many experts out to help you if you want them.  The problem is each of us is unaware of what we don't know...so get all the knowledge you can.
John

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2009, 08:05:47 AM »
You mean Across from Nellie's right. Thats the old Kinchleys cook who owns it and took the recipe.
Yes I know of it. thats one of the few Pizza joints I never tried in Bergen county because of the access and location, I would be weary of that location there are at least 4 pizzerias withing 1/2 mile of there so And Nellie's is tough to beat with that cracker crust and devoted following. Doesn't the Italian gourmet import store sell a brick oven pizza on the corner across from the fire dept right there? They all run specials 2 for 1 , 6.99 large Mon night.... not sure that area would handle the $10 12" margherita or desire that taste as well, but hey you never know, and I would come!
 I have been in Costa Rica for a week and honestly am ready to open  up there! no competition !! and BEAUTIFUL! not sure these wonderful people know what pizza is but I could put rice and beans on it or do the chili style deep dish. I found for sale 1 hotel w/ 5 cabins/ nice pool all new! and a restaurant that seats 16 outdoor open air but covered  with these really cool full size tree slabs for wooden tables and chairs! and yes the wood fired oven is in already !! guess the $ asking $300,000.00 ! Surf all day pizza all night! any partners interested? I have a 3 year old so its tough to move right now but I would do a few months a ear for sure!
OK back to reality :'(   
I plan to fire this weekend making dough today fellow pizza lovers are always welcome
especially to talk pizza ;D
 OH, That dough I last used was Andregudion Recipe, Scrumpious!
John
« Last Edit: July 03, 2009, 08:11:41 AM by JConk007 »
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com


Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 183
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2009, 08:31:31 AM »
John,

 My wife and I are in for Costa Rica. Sign us up.

I wonder when peak season would be down there?

-BRD
"Simplicity is Complexity Resolved"

-Constantin Brancusi

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2009, 08:35:05 AM »
If we had 6 people at 50K and 2 months each, not necessarily consecutive and a good Spanish speaking manager (which is 25K a year by the way) it would be fun! I have the #s for anticipated cabin income, that covers everything and restaurant is a bonus, and a link for the complex. set up is done already. But we would all need to agree on a dough recipe :chef:
Peak season is our winter!
John
« Last Edit: July 03, 2009, 08:40:14 AM by JConk007 »
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 183
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2009, 09:49:02 AM »
I think we need a separate thread on this...don't want to hijack pcampbell's original post.
"Simplicity is Complexity Resolved"

-Constantin Brancusi

Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 183
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2009, 11:19:28 AM »
pcampbell...weren't you in Tampa a while back. Did you have to leave your WFO there?  :'(
"Simplicity is Complexity Resolved"

-Constantin Brancusi

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2009, 07:00:55 AM »
PC
I saw a huge hobart on a trailer on Godwin Ave, in Waldwick might that be yours?
JC Oven will be going at 2pm pizza at 5!
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2009, 08:24:15 AM »
You mean Across from Nellie's right. Thats the old Kinchleys cook who owns it and took the recipe.
Yes I know of it. thats one of the few Pizza joints I never tried in Bergen county because of the access and location, I would be weary of that location there are at least 4 pizzerias withing 1/2 mile of there so And Nellie's is tough to beat with that cracker crust and devoted following. Doesn't the Italian gourmet import store sell a brick oven pizza on the corner across from the fire dept right there? They all run specials 2 for 1 , 6.99 large Mon night.... not sure that area would handle the $10 12" margherita or desire that taste as well, but hey you never know, and I would come!
 I have been in Costa Rica for a week and honestly am ready to open  up there! no competition !! and BEAUTIFUL! not sure these wonderful people know what pizza is but I could put rice and beans on it or do the chili style deep dish. I found for sale 1 hotel w/ 5 cabins/ nice pool all new! and a restaurant that seats 16 outdoor open air but covered  with these really cool full size tree slabs for wooden tables and chairs! and yes the wood fired oven is in already !! guess the $ asking $300,000.00 ! Surf all day pizza all night! any partners interested? I have a 3 year old so its tough to move right now but I would do a few months a ear for sure!
OK back to reality :'(   
I plan to fire this weekend making dough today fellow pizza lovers are always welcome
especially to talk pizza ;D
 OH, That dough I last used was Andregudion Recipe, Scrumpious!
John

Yeah Nellie's!

I checked in the place across the street from the town building (the "pizzicheria" ) and they don't do pizza, but they do have a "brick" oven supposedly, (I couldn't find it?) but were also all out of bread.  Checked out Ray's and Natalie's and Italian Time, none of them were anything great and all pretty much the same type of thing. 
Patrick

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2009, 08:28:09 AM »
PC
I saw a huge hobart on a trailer on Godwin Ave, in Waldwick might that be yours?
JC Oven will be going at 2pm pizza at 5!
John

That is me--in Midland Park.  It's a bit of a sore sight so hopefully I figure out what to do with it quickly  :-[    I may or may not just getting rid of it because I'm thinking about kneading by hand now.

I would have loved to check your oven out but I actually finally got my little oven fired up and for the first time in it baked a few pizzas for some friends.  What a difference the temperature makes!!! 
Patrick

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 05:46:10 PM »
1 other in the a+p? mall there by the liquor store. Italian time uses all trumps, and bonta right from the can. I can honestley say my NY style is much better with more taste and complex flavors than that !@#%. Well now I have the 4 pies extra I made for you guys yesterday for leftovers Not the worst case!
Yes, I am 5 min max away from you so someday we will work it out.
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline pcampbell

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 767
  • Age: 34
  • Location: VT & NJ
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2009, 02:09:50 PM »
1 other in the a+p? mall there by the liquor store. Italian time uses all trumps, and bonta right from the can. I can honestley say my NY style is much better with more taste and complex flavors than that !@#%. Well now I have the 4 pies extra I made for you guys yesterday for leftovers Not the worst case!
Yes, I am 5 min max away from you so someday we will work it out.
John

I thought Italian Time was "OK", probably the best of the ones we tried...   I did not like Natalie's.  In all fairness, the one next to A&P aka Waldwick Pizza aka Ray's was a long time ago and I don't remember but not remembering it is generally good enough for me to not try it again :)

Been talking things out with my wife and we are holding off on Waldwick.

We think the difference in rent cost for a nicer location would pay for itself in sales and advertising.  A place on Ridgewood Ave downtown would be pretty good! 

In terms of pizza I am still not entirely sure whether this would be like a sit down with wait service and 90 second pies or more like a pizzeria but with exceptional pizza.  I would love to avoid delivery since it just does not interest me and ruins a good pizza usually.

A Mano has an opening for an experienced pizzaiolo - not sure how many of those they will find in Bergen county NJ!!!  Maybe I should give them a call even though I don't have any commercial experience  :chef:
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 02:11:25 PM by pcampbell »
Patrick

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3688
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Dive in?
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2009, 10:16:15 PM »
A Mano I am sure would provide some great insight and training for the real world New location and busy so you could really get a taste of it and the pizza too! Let me know if you are going there please.
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com


 

pizzapan