A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Author Topic: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!  (Read 2920 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline hellskitchen

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Alabama
  • I Love Pizza!
Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« on: September 11, 2017, 09:40:53 PM »
My wife and I are considering opening a pizzeria in our area. Are there any pizzeria owners here on this forum that can help answer a couple of questions?

To give a little info on what we are looking to do...

We have a limited budget for startup cost at $100,000 to purchase equipment and to build out. My father-in-law is a contractor, and he will be involved in the build out to help us save funds.

We are looking for a hole in the wall place under 2,000 sq ft.. We intend to purchase a Mugnaini wood fired oven to give our pizzeria a nice atmosphere in addition to it's fast cooking qualities, as well as to do something different than our competitors in the area. We believe in customer service and great tasting pizza using the best ingredients available.

We want to also do delivery and have limiting seating. More or less a order and go with a few seats available inside and out. We would also sell pizza by the slice.

I've lived in New York (hells kitchen) and have tasted some of the best pizza and would like to replicate that in our town in Alabama.


Our two largest purchases that we have in mind thus far are...

* Hobart 90qt Mixer 3 speed

* Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven
http://www.mugnaini.com/pizza-ovens/commercial-pizza-ovens/oven-models/model-160x140

Due to limited space a walk in cooler might not be possible, and we will need reach in coolers, work station, pos, etc etc...

We are also considering using a pizza press to ensure consistency between all workers making the pizzas in regards to size and thickness.
The presses we are considering are the...

* Cuppone Pizzaform dough press for up to 19.8" pizzas
http://www.pizzaovens.com/Cuppone-PizzaForm-Dough-Press.html

* DoughXpress DM-18 manual press for pizzas up to 18"
http://doughxpress.com/dm-18-manual



Our questions are...

1) Is this all possible to start up on a $100,000 budget?
2) Thoughts on the Hobart 90qt mixer and Mugnaini oven?
3) Pros and cons to using a dough press versus hand stretched?


Any advice and additional tips/words of wisdom/information that can be given is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Online The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3585
  • Location: Manhattan, KS
    • Dough Doctor
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 10:14:56 PM »
Do you mean a Hobart 80-quart mixer? If so give a lot of consideration to the M-802 model as it is the heavy duty version of their 80-quart mixers.
No walk in? That's going to be tough. I'd recommend going back to the drawing board and look at getting at least a 10 X 10 walk in cooler. You will need it for dough and ingredient storage.....trust me, reach in coolers are problematic at best. OK for a small operation but not a larger one. Pizzas baked fast in a hot, wood fired oven to not transport very well at all, I'd suggest carry out but not delivery.
Ditch the dough press and go with hand opened dough, the presentation is much better not to mention the finished pizza quality.
$100,000.00 is really cutting it close, you also want to have a reserve of a minimum of 6-months living expenses put aside.
Now for the $64,000.00 question....what is your experience working in different pizzerias? Do you have any experience managing a pizzeria?
You might also want to look at posting in the Think Tank at <www.pmq.com> this site is visited mostly by store owners/operators.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 22853
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Pizza is not bread.
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 09:29:16 AM »
What sort of pizza do you plan on making? If Neapolitan, you might search here on Mugnaini ovens. I think I remember some negative comments on their high-temp abilities.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline StateofMind

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 204
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 11:09:38 AM »
To echo what's already been asked what type of pizza do you plan on making? Unless you were planning on using screens and a conveyor oven I wouldn't see the need for a dough press. Your product will be infinitely better by opening the dough balls by hand. And while wood fired oven certainly cook faster, they aren't the best for all types of pizzas. If you are interested in a NYC style pizza you will definitely want deck ovens.

Offline hellskitchen

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Alabama
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 12:13:40 PM »
We plan to go with Mugnaini ovens and make Neapolitan/American style pizza. I have over 35 years of running businesses, and we have a pizzaiolo that will be managing the business that also has over 30 years experience in making pies. I have never owned a pizzeria, but have had my fair share of eating pies in NYC. Our problem here in our town is that no one knows how to make pies. Dominos, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa John's are the worst and couldn't care less about the ingredients or quality.

My wife and I have been discussing opening a pizzeria for almost 10 years, and we are now moving forward to start the process of finding a location and purchasing equipment.

@ TXCraig1 - I'm not certain why you couldn't deliver pizzas that are done from a wood fired oven? We know of a fellow a few towns over that has 3 wood fired ovens and delivers over 200 pies any given weekend. Delivery is a big part of his business. Can you please elaborate on your point of view?

Other than location (lease) build-out what are the biggest costs that one can think of? Thus far from what I have found is the ovens, mixer and refrigeration. Work tables, sinks?

I welcome all feedback regardless if it's negative. We are not looking to take over the world, we just want a piece of the pie.  ;)

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Online The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3585
  • Location: Manhattan, KS
    • Dough Doctor
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 03:09:40 PM »
One of the biggest issues with pizzas that are baked at high temperature for a short time is that they do not retain their crispiness well at all especially when placed into a box and then into a sealed "moon" bag. As delivered, these pizzas have all of the character of wet pasta with pizza toppings. This is not to say that you cannot bake a decent delivery pizza in a wood fired oven, you certainly can, but you will need to bake it longer and at a lower temperature that is typical for wood fired oven pizzas. This is a major reason why a good deck oven is better suited to delivery than a good wood fired oven. The best oven, by far, for DELCO is an air impingement oven as it provides the driest pizza possible and allows for baking the bottom more thoroughly without burning the top however an air impingement oven has all the ambiance of a shoe box which is possibly its greatest downfall. A short time ago I wrote an article on ovens and oven selection for different store concepts. I believe it was published in my Pizza Today column.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 26848
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 03:30:03 PM »
hellskitchen,

I remember years ago establishing a friendship with the chief pizza maker, Charlie Restivo, of Naples 45 in the MetLife building on Park Avenue just a stone's throw from Grand Central Train Station. One of their main specialties was (and still is) Neapolitan style pizzas (https://www.patinagroup.com/naples-45/menu). When I saw a sign that they did a takeout business, that surprised me because I didn't think that that style of pizza was amenable to takeout. But Charlie pointed out to me that a lot of their customers were in the many office buildings that were in the area, including in the MetLife building itself, where they could order the pizzas and take them back to their offices. But he also said that some of their customers would order pizzas to take with them on the trains back home. Presumably, the pizzas would be reheated once the customers got back home. The last time I brought uneaten slices of a Neapolitan pizza back home, I found that the slices reheated nicely, maybe because they are soft and moist and amenable to reheating without turning them into stiff, hard crusted versions of their original selves.

Peter

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 22853
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Pizza is not bread.
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 03:32:00 PM »
@ TXCraig1 - I'm not certain why you couldn't deliver pizzas that are done from a wood fired oven? We know of a fellow a few towns over that has 3 wood fired ovens and delivers over 200 pies any given weekend. Delivery is a big part of his business. Can you please elaborate on your point of view?

What did I write that was related to delivery? That being said, there isn't anything about a wood fired oven that makes it inherently bad for delivery pizza delivery. You just have to do a style that is suited to delivery, but Neapolitan isn't it.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2257
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 03:54:01 PM »
We plan to go with Mugnaini ovens and make Neapolitan/American style pizza.

Uh, what is that exactly as you envision it?   If you're going to intentionally endure the operational challenges of using a wood-fired oven you might as well have people that can actually stretch the dough.  If that's really problematic you might want to consider making a different style of pizza that's more suited to no-skill labor...and we all know what THAT is and it's awful.   I guess my point is that I can tell the difference between a pizza that's "mailed in" and one that's made by a restaurant that wants to execute things as well as they can possibly be.   At the outset, I can't really tell what direction you want to go with.   
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline invertedisdead

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3396
  • Rest In Pizza
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 05:04:50 PM »
A friend of a friend recently launched a similar concept.

American style pizza cooked in an expensive copper wrapped wood fired oven for visual appeal. Except they wanted to hire high school labor, so once they quickly found out none of these kids could open a dough ball evenly, they bought a sheeter. Now they hand toss this pre-sheeted dough for extra visual appeal lol.

I have over 35 years of running businesses, and we have a pizzaiolo that will be managing the business that also has over 30 years experience in making pies.

Your 30 year pizzaiolo should be able to answer all of your questions in great detail. If not, that should be a gigantic red flag.

Personally, I don't think taking customers from the big chains is as easy as people think. I've seen many places in my town come and go and not put a dent in the Little Caesar's. One location in particular has had 4 failed pizzeria attempts in a row, and this shopping center has some of the highest traffic in town. Be aware of the power of a $5 pizza. Americans tend to view pizza as an affordable family meal, I've seen many guys think they will just come in and outsmart the customer and sell $15 wood fired 12" personal pizzas. Wrong.


We want to also do delivery and have limiting seating. More or less a order and go with a few seats available inside and out. We would also sell pizza by the slice.

When was the last time you had a wood fired pizza by the slice? I don't find fast baked pizza good for delivery, take-out, or slices. Of course, not all customers are going to realize this like the members here immediately do, since most folks have probably extremely limited experience eating wood fired pizza, especially if there isn't on currently in your town.

I don't want to dissuade you from anything, because the world needs more good pizza joints and I commend you for wanting to help the cause; but I think your concept really need a complete overhaul before you spend a single dime.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 05:12:08 PM by invertedisdead »

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Offline waltertore

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3044
  • Location: Reno, Nevada
    • Smiling With Hope Pizza
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 05:48:12 PM »
If you are not in a foodie town you will die.  I am from NJ just outside NYC and raised in the pizza world.  We lived in central Ohio, outside of Columbus and to do what we are doing here in Reno (a huge success) would have been a quick death.  You will never win over the chain crowd as their palate is not at all akin to what you want to do and they are use to $5 pizzas with free drinks and whatnots.  Stating that no one knows much about NY style pizza making in your area is a telling sign.  Why not move it to a city that has a strong foodie base?  That will make success a much easier thing.  Walter
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 05:50:15 PM by waltertore »
SMILING WITH HOPE PIZZA MISSION STATEMENT
TO CREATE HOPE AND MEANING IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/

Offline StateofMind

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 204
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 06:43:41 PM »
I'm building out a pizza and pub restaurant now. I can tell you it's not going to plan and is turning out to be quite a bit more expensive than we originally thought. The main reasons for this is there has been a lot more work needed to get the place up to current code and the city took twice as long to approve our plans than we anticipated. 

Offline hellskitchen

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Alabama
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 12:22:44 AM »
If you are not in a foodie town you will die.  I am from NJ just outside NYC and raised in the pizza world.  We lived in central Ohio, outside of Columbus and to do what we are doing here in Reno (a huge success) would have been a quick death.  You will never win over the chain crowd as their palate is not at all akin to what you want to do and they are use to $5 pizzas with free drinks and whatnots.  Stating that no one knows much about NY style pizza making in your area is a telling sign.  Why not move it to a city that has a strong foodie base?  That will make success a much easier thing.  Walter

@Waltertore - We have no intentions of attempting to market the $5.00 crowd. That's a losing battle with the ones who patron those chains. The location we are scouting is definitely in a foodie town. My wife and I both are foodies as well and spend the extra dollar when it comes to eating out, and the people we intend to attract are people like my wife and I. I also want to commend you on your great success!

One thing for certain is I'm bull-headed, stead fast, and when I put my mind to something I can do it! I've been working since I was 12, and I'm middle aged. But for certain I'm one motivated, strong-minded individual.

I don't have the experience running a pizza joint, but I will surround myself with talent and those that are successful in the business. One asked in this post why not ask our fellow that we plain to hire as the manager who has been tossing pizzas for 30 plus years the questions I'm asking here. Well... I like hearing everyones input. If you just ask one fellow and that's it, then you are for sure going to crash and burn. I would rather hear all positives and negatives so that I can then make an educated decision on the direction we should go.

I'll up our budget to $150,000 for equipment. As mentioned, we just want a hole in the wall location with one amazing tasting product! We love pizza! We aren't looking to take over the pizza world.

Offline waltertore

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3044
  • Location: Reno, Nevada
    • Smiling With Hope Pizza
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2017, 12:57:45 AM »
@Waltertore - We have no intentions of attempting to market the $5.00 crowd. That's a losing battle with the ones who patron those chains. The location we are scouting is definitely in a foodie town. My wife and I both are foodies as well and spend the extra dollar when it comes to eating out, and the people we intend to attract are people like my wife and I. I also want to commend you on your great success!

One thing for certain is I'm bull-headed, stead fast, and when I put my mind to something I can do it! I've been working since I was 12, and I'm middle aged. But for certain I'm one motivated, strong-minded individual.

I don't have the experience running a pizza joint, but I will surround myself with talent and those that are successful in the business. One asked in this post why not ask our fellow that we plain to hire as the manager who has been tossing pizzas for 30 plus years the questions I'm asking here. Well... I like hearing everyones input. If you just ask one fellow and that's it, then you are for sure going to crash and burn. I would rather hear all positives and negatives so that I can then make an educated decision on the direction we should go.

I'll up our budget to $150,000 for equipment. As mentioned, we just want a hole in the wall location with one amazing tasting product! We love pizza! We aren't looking to take over the pizza world.

It sounds like you have a plan.  We are a hole in the wall and spent 25k to spruce up the space and get some equipment we didn't bring with us from back east.  The space was a succession of pizzerias and other restaurants over the past 35 years so all the infrastructure was there.  On a good night we pay the rent for the month.  One can make great pizza anywhere once they know how :)  Good luck to you and  your wife and thanks for the compliment.  My wife of 38 years works the register, does salads, phone, and the books.  We are in our 60's and have worked out enough of our personal issues to work with each other.  It is wonderful seeing her all day instead of a couple hours a day.  We are not going to get rich but don't want to.  Our shop is like the ones I grew up in 50+ years ago.  Walter
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 01:00:17 AM by waltertore »
SMILING WITH HOPE PIZZA MISSION STATEMENT
TO CREATE HOPE AND MEANING IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/

Offline PizzaGarage

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 467
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2017, 12:59:46 AM »
You might want to look at Forno Bravo and Earthstone ovens as well.

I'm not aware of a Hobart 90 qt, there are 80's but this is overkill for most places, a great mixer if you want the Hobart is a 60 quart.  You can save considerable money in equipment by selecting what you need ahead of time then attend the auctions, watch eBay and Craigslist.  You will find many pizza places that went out of business, especially those that used a dough press.  In regards to the dough press, you will most likely close the doors in a short period of time.  Your style is hand open and stretched only, a press will absolutely ruin it even with the custom molds you can buy to form the rim.  I experimented with these for some time - if you want one I'll sell you mine it's the best made and basically brand new.  It's the worst piece of equipment I've ever used and honestly an embarrassment to pizza making for anyone who uses one.

Your style and delivery don't work well together, many places won't deliver, sit down only and some carry out.  You can make another style and deliver that instead. 

If you're doing a small dive, a few tables ( if allowed) and 1000-1300 sq ft, you should be able to get it done for that cost $100k depending on where you live.  Hunting equipment and buying high quality used is the way to go, small and low overhead is key but have high output capabilities when needed.

A major cost for you will the plumbing and ventilation, a grease trap can be $15k installed alone.  Fire suppression if required is expensive as well.  Agree with others on the walk in cooler, if CF then you need to also calculate your BTU requirements for cooling based on pounds of warm dough going into the walk in at any given time, the manufacturer can assist with those calculations.


« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 01:05:20 AM by PizzaGarage »

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Offline csnack

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 523
  • Location: Seattle
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2017, 04:34:50 AM »
So I don't know jack about running a pizzeria. But I remember a Tom Lehman (Dough Dr.) video on YouTube (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) where he was talking about a guy, possibly a hypothetical guy who Tom is consulting, who at home had developed what he believed was the best pizza around and that he'd been working on it for some time, throws pizza parties with it and everyone loves his pizza etc. This guy then has an epiphany that he should open a pizzeria with his recipe and asks Tom for advice. So Tom projects for this guy a 5 year plan with a hopeful estimate of $500,000 a year minimum in annual sales. So then Tom multiplies the 5 years by the $500,000 in annual sales and then tells this guy that, separate from the capital needed to open/run the business, he will need to have an additional $2,500,000 in the bank. The guy, perplexed, asks why in the world would he need to have that much additional funds in the bank. Tom responds by telling him that when he was listening to him talk about his pizza all he heard was "<i>my</i> pizza," "<i>my</i> crust," "<i>my</i> dough," but <i>nothing</i> about the guy's prospective customer, and so he has to assume then that this guy is going to be the one buying his own pizzas lol.
I don't know if that helps or answers anything, but I thought it was funny and makes an excellent point. He's saying that if you go into this business romanticizing thinking primarily about what <i>you</i> want rather than focusing on who your prospective customer is and what <i>they</i> want then you may be in for a rude awakening is all.
Something to consider, but that said, if I were dreaming about opening a pizzeria I sure as heck wouldn't want to be [pressing] a chain-style pizza either. I'd dream of a hole in the wall w/ cool atmosphere and vibe, cool music and older school pizzeria charm with a bit of a rock n roll edge and where a guy like Frank Giaquinto meets Henry Rollins <i>hand tosses</i> the dough while talking to the customer at the same time about NY in the 70's and 80's.

Offline hellskitchen

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Alabama
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2017, 07:28:57 AM »
What did I write that was related to delivery? That being said, there isn't anything about a wood fired oven that makes it inherently bad for delivery pizza delivery. You just have to do a style that is suited to delivery, but Neapolitan isn't it.

@ TXCraig1 - Thanks again for responding. If you were running a wood fired oven, have sit in, take out and delivery what type of pizza would you run with? I appreciate your feedback and everyone here that has inputed. It is greatly appreciated and thus the reason I have opened a dialogue to learn from others mistakes. The last thing I want to do is close the doors months after launching.

Remember, our place is going to be a hole in the wall, with a hip hop Atmosphere.. Playing Chipotle style music from Sirius XM :) great customer service and a place where people feel welcomed and amazing tasting pizza!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 07:31:25 AM by hellskitchen »

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 22853
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Pizza is not bread.
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2017, 09:48:31 AM »
@ TXCraig1 - Thanks again for responding. If you were running a wood fired oven, have sit in, take out and delivery what type of pizza would you run with?

Some style with a longer bake time than Neapolitan. You can make a great NY pizza that should travel relatively well in a WFO. Why not squares? Sell slices in the restaurant as opposed to whole pies. Do delivery of whole or half pies. I bet nobody is doing anything like it where you are located.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline invertedisdead

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3396
  • Rest In Pizza
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2017, 12:07:06 PM »
If I was serving really good pizza I wouldn't offer delivery. So much extra insurance and liabilities to go down that route. If the pie is that good, they will come get one. Just my opinion.

If I was going to open a shop it would be for big fat NY slices. People can't get enough of them, and outside of the East Coast the competition is basically non-existent.

Offline waltertore

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3044
  • Location: Reno, Nevada
    • Smiling With Hope Pizza
Re: Looking to open pizzeria - Advice needed!
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2017, 12:17:31 PM »
One problem with hiring someone to make the pizzas is they will leave at some point and it could be a week after you open so it best you learn to be as good as him before opening the doors.  Come out of the gate 100% perfect. 

We go against all the rules with NONE OF THESE common things found in a NY pizzeria:
delivery
booze
ice
fountain drinks
sandwiches, pasta
specials/coupons
not a dime spent on advertising
in a hard to find off the beaten track location
only open 23 hours a week
large topping selection
wifi
TV
Music


The good news is we have a ton of ex NY/NJ/PA/CT people living here and an ever growing CA and international population. Our Yelp rating brings in at least a couple thousand a week in sales.  Our prices are off the chart high compared to most of the country and no one bats an eye.  Make a great menu with no weak links, couple it with great customer service, and you will find there is not much if any competition.  But grow too big and you muddle it down to the pack.  Walter
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 02:36:57 AM by waltertore »
SMILING WITH HOPE PIZZA MISSION STATEMENT
TO CREATE HOPE AND MEANING IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


 

wordpress