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Author Topic: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza  (Read 605 times)

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Offline anjam

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need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« on: December 18, 2016, 10:06:53 AM »
I am from the NYC area and have been owning a pizza place in NYC. I started the business without any knowledge on Pizza. I have learned a lot in the process. I initially was following the previous owner's recipe. He gave me training for couple of weeks and later worked in my place with me. I made several changes based on input from several people and I believe the overall quality of the pizza improved. however, I still get comments on the Pizza like,  "just okay", "ordinary", "there are a lot o good pizza around". How can I move to the next level? I am not getting a lot of return customers and that tells me something is not right. I need help from all you guys. Please give me some high-level suggestions. Is there any class available that you guys might know?

Offline invertedisdead

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 11:39:52 AM »
What's your sauce recipe, cheese blend, and how long do you ferment the dough? IMO these are the 3 most important parts to a proper foundation, the last being quality toppings.

Offline anjam

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 01:38:46 PM »
My dough I think is good. I need a good recipe for the Pizza sauce. Please also suggest what brand of Mozzarella cheese I should use. I saw that some people are using either anchovy or Permian Reggiano or anchovy in the sauce? Will that make a significant difference? How about a sprinkle of pecorino romano after the pizza is done? Please suggest. It's NY style Pizza. I use deck oven and bake at ~ 600 degree Fahrenheit.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 01:41:14 PM by anjam »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 02:19:37 PM »
Don't overlook the dough. The dough is one of the most critical aspects of a pizza. Just think, how many people say you just gotta go there because the sauce is soooo good? Few. How many say you just gotta go there because the cheese is soooo good? Maybe a few? Now, how many people say you just gotta go there because the crust is so (pick an adjective)? We have found over the years that more people comment on the crust characteristic than on any other part of the pizza. Can you share your dough formula as well as the dough management procedure that you are using?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline RPCLady

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2017, 04:57:00 PM »
When we bought our pizza shop 6 years ago, we surveyed the community about what they loved and what they hated about the food.   The number one complaint was the crust. So our aim in the beginning was fix the dough!

We worked with the flour manufacturer and I think my husband also picked the brain of The Dough Doctor here on this or on the PMQ forum and we cooked up a storm for the month before we opened getting the dough perfect. (the previous owner told us never to bother with making our own crust, just buy the premade frozen dough balls!!! which is what they were doing--ans why nobody liked it -- yuck!)   And That was how we started. 

The former owner also made their own sauce, we followed their process... but decided it wasn't really of a quality that stood out, at least in my husband's experience eating pies growing up in Chicago -- he knew that had to change.   I hunted down recipes and he taste tested many commercial sauces.  We weighed the differences in our sanity of making our own and it being consistent vs opening up a can and having it be consistent.... time vs taste really.... the commercial sauce we found has worked great for us!    We've used it for the marinara on pasta when we added pasta to our menu for a time, its just been a very good and versatile decision for us.

We also discontinued pies that were way too much work for the few we sold.  We investigated pizza ideas and came up with a new one, that everyone here just LOVES! 

We won the naysayers over, and we have a solid customer base -- despite being in a very rural town and recently a new restaurant popped up (these people formerly owned the pizza place 2 ownerships previous to ours, but was shut down by the IRS!!!!)  and they've decided to put out such a large menu they are trying to compete with EVERY Restaurant in town... even make pizza in a convection oven and their dough recipe always was just a basic bread dough -- customers come in and complain they have no flavor and their cheese is nasty, and their grease is so bad it soaks through their pizza boxes -- but I have to laugh because we use the exact same cheese we do!   They sell more burgers than they do pizza, and there is some 'local in-breeding' loyalty to the family has deep roots here, but side by side, our neighboring microbrewery put the case to rest of whose pizza was best, and we won hands down!!!

The other restaurant's pizza is no competition (their energy is to compete with EVERYONE in town -- so how can one be good at anything trying to beat out everyone?)  And they are of no concern of ours.  We sell the largest pizza size, (our large is 30% larger than theirs!) 

So, know your competition, make yours better. And there you have it... 

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Offline jsaras

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2017, 05:40:29 PM »
First of all, I commend you for giving a crap because that puts you about half way towards your goal.  The other half is the ability to execute your food on a consistently high level and occasionally hitting it out of the stratosphere often enough that your customers will remember it and will forgive you if fall slightly short of that once in a while.

From my perspective, and I'm not the "normal" pizza customer, you've got to understand dough making, fermentation and have it dialed perfectly for your daily working scenario and your oven.  It sounds like you've got a good oven, so there is potential there, but I have no idea what your baked product looks or tastes like.  Dough handling is also really important.  Just that step alone can make or break a pizza.  The balance of ingredients, sauce/meat/cheese ratios is hard to get correctly.  Few places have those essentials nailed down. 

After that, it's the types of toppings that you offer.  The places that I enjoy the most have proteins, cheeses and other ingredients that I can't find at a grocery store or Restaurant Depot and/or are too much trouble for me to deal with in my home kitchen.  I'd kill to be able to get Salumeria Beliese pepperoni or sopressata picante.  I'd love to use fresh mozz pulled from curd, calabrian chili oil, etc., You don't have need a lot of those types of things, but there should be enough of them to make it interesting. 

Fancy toppings will not mask any issues that you may have with the fundamentals.  I've had experience with a couple of pizzerias nearby that are owned by chefs and they mistakenly think that their fancy topping ideas will carry them, but it just doesn't.
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline jsaras

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Re: need help .... ordinary pizza to elitte pizza
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2017, 05:46:12 PM »
My dough I think is good. I need a good recipe for the Pizza sauce. Please also suggest what brand of Mozzarella cheese I should use. I saw that some people are using either anchovy or Permian Reggiano or anchovy in the sauce? Will that make a significant difference? How about a sprinkle of pecorino romano after the pizza is done? Please suggest. It's NY style Pizza. I use deck oven and bake at ~ 600 degree Fahrenheit.

A can of Tomato Magic and small amounts of garlic and oregano should do the trick.  You can mix in some hand crushed Alta Cucina tomatoes if you want some "rustic" large chunks.  The hard cheeses you mention can give an extra umami boost. 
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

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