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Author Topic: Taking over a pizza place  (Read 3139 times)

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2guyspizza

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Taking over a pizza place
« on: December 05, 2014, 10:39:57 AM »
We are buying a very small pizza place. Owner, Owner's mother, and owners girlfriend run it currently.

Reviews for the pizza are great on google and yelp...service is another story.

But, when I ate the pizza it had the taste of a cracker. He makes his dough the same day and proofs for 2 hours before service.

I dont want to go in and change up everything right away but I think fermenting for a couple days at least is something I will change. He also uses canned mushrooms and some other products I dont like.

Since the reviews are good do you think I would be messing up by upgrading these items?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 10:45:55 AM »
We have a similar phenomenon near where I live. The pizza is awful; no flavor in the dough whatsoever and mediocre toppings at best, but people like it and they are always busy. Even the local paper gave it a good review. I guess it's a function of your expectations. If all you know is Domino's or PJ's, I'm sure it does taste good. I'd like to think that making a better pizza would be well accepted, but I don't think that's a given. I think moving to extended fermentation is less risky than changing from canned to fresh mushrooms. Some people like canned mushrooms. If it was me, I'd talk to a bunch of the customers and see what they think about the toppings before I started making a lot of changes.
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Offline Gags

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2014, 04:32:48 PM »
Perhaps conduct a focus group study with the new recipes and get feedback from a sample of your existing customer base.

We know their could be complications like people responding with what they think you want to hear, etc.
But I think this would give you insight as to whether they really like the current product or that they just don't know better.

This reminds me of an episode of Richard Blaise's Hungry Games.
He had folks do a blind tasting of 2 pancake syrups - real syrup and the high-fructose fake stuff.

A lot of people chose the high-fructose stuff because:
1) It's what they grew up on and hadn't been exposed to real syrup
2) They associated it with positive experiences and therefore preferred it over the real stuff

So extrapolate that to your shop.  If they have fond memories that tie the current pizza to their past parties, family gatherings, Friday night pizza, they may not want something different...
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 04:34:21 PM by Gags »
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2014, 07:05:04 PM »
This might complicate your work a bit, but why not just offer both styles (the existing cracker and whatever new  you have in mind)?   Over time,  the customers will really tell you which is best.
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2014, 09:20:13 PM »
I think BRADTRI has a good, workable solution. Continue to offer the existing crust/pizza since that is what the customers have come to expect, then also offer a "Manager's Special" which is your concept of a pizza. Track the pizza sales and let your customers decide what they like, remember, if you are not personally buying as much pizza as your customers are you don't have a vote in what they like or don't like. That's always a tough one for new operators to swallow.
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 09:25:32 PM »
We have a similar phenomenon near where I live. The pizza is awful; no flavor in the dough whatsoever and mediocre toppings at best, but people like it and they are always busy. Even the local paper gave it a good review. I guess it's a function of your expectations. If all you know is Domino's or PJ's, I'm sure it does taste good. I'd like to think that making a better pizza would be well accepted, but I don't think that's a given. I think moving to extended fermentation is less risky than changing from canned to fresh mushrooms. Some people like canned mushrooms. If it was me, I'd talk to a bunch of the customers and see what they think about the toppings before I started making a lot of changes.
Simpsonville, SC is in the middle of nowhere, especially pizza wise.
If he has a good customer base eating cracker style pizza.....I believe I would concentrate on making that cracker crust a really good, top notch cracker dough.
He's got an easy way in here....a same day dough that is already accepted. Add some beer to it, some fancy Tony malt stuff, whatever. Tweak the sauce and cheese, give em an awesome cracker pie and then you can play with the toppings all you want.
It ain't broke so why fix it.....just improve it.  :)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline David Esq.

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2014, 10:00:05 PM »
Make the best pizza you enjoy making. If a dozen people agree that it is great, it will sell.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2014, 10:06:34 PM »
Make the best pizza you enjoy making. If a dozen people agree that it is great, it will sell.
I don't think that matters to him.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Gags

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2014, 11:16:24 PM »
I agree with Bob, here.
If they like cracker-style, make it the best cracker style possible.
But don't risk your livelihood on what you like to make.
A hobby is a hobby and a business is a business.

If you want to see if they'll like your style, do it with minimal risk, either as a manager's special, as Tom suggests, or as a focus group to test the concept.  But don't alienate your entire customer base with a wholesale shift in product.  Remember "New Coke"?? 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 11:18:47 PM by Gags »
"I'd trade it all for just a little bit more"

Offline moose13

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2014, 11:51:06 PM »

It ain't broke so why fix it.....just improve it.  :)

 ^^^

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Offline Montyzumo

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 03:26:51 AM »
As a business it sounds like the service issues are what you should focus on first after completing the handover with the current owners. Make sure to protect the margins and profit that you laid out for.

Offline bxtzd3

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 11:59:47 AM »
well they should know their fan base. i ran a shop in the 90s. i was one of 3 in the area of 6 blocks. the other 2 were horrible in my opinion, but after time the ones who came to us from the others went back. people are funny. make up a batch of dough and give out free samples for a grand re-opening, not big slices or whole pie's, just a little to get them into it, ween them off of it. >:D

Offline Marauderer

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Re: Taking over a pizza place
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 01:32:35 PM »
2 guyspizza, I would like to here more about your pizza shop you are buying.  Have you finalized the deal and closed on it yet?
Barry
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