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Offline suburbanpizza

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One man shop
« on: December 06, 2021, 02:55:37 PM »
Hello all,
I am in the process of purchasing a pizzeria and I am looking to figure out if I can operate the entire pizzeria myself. This would include purchasing all of the ingredients, doing all of the prep, taking orders, and making all of the pizzas. Are there any other operators that are succeeding with this model? If so how many days a week are you open? Are you open for both lunch and dinner? How many pizzas do you sell per day? Any other menu items?

To give some context as to my situation my overhead will be approximately $8,500/month, that is including a small salary for myself to live on. I plan on being open 6 days per week and when I factor in a few major holidays and the possibility of loosing a couple of days to snow I think itís realistic to say I will be open 300 days per year. So, by my math $8,500/ month is $102,000/ year. With my menu I believe I can keep food cost at 25% so total annual sales to break even will need to be $136,000, or about $460/day. If I sell my pies for $18 each thatís about 25 pizzas per day. So my questions are:
Do my numbers look correct?

Is it possible for me to make this work only being open from 4pm-8pm?

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Offline woodfiredandrew

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2021, 03:24:49 PM »
I did look into it, PM me if interested...
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered, love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives, do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, Be honest and frank anyway. If you are successful , you will win false friends and true enemies, succeed anyway.

Offline scott r

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2021, 05:02:07 PM »
Im not sure when you calculated your food cost but mine has gone up immensely just in the past two months.  Beware there.... packaging is going up faster than food. 

Offline JWFPIZZZA

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2021, 05:36:18 PM »
What did you include in overhead?

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2021, 05:48:48 PM »
Does anyone have any advice for me?

Do you have plans for illness, injury 🤕?

One person operation can be a big challenge.

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Offline waltertore

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2021, 06:42:42 PM »
Another thing to consider with a one man operation 6 days a week open will almost certainly mean 7 days a week with getting preps and such done.  Also how can you cook pies and run a register, take an order?  From my experience it will be a stressful quick burnout thing. 
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Offline scott r

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2021, 07:22:06 PM »
I agree... you need to expect to have to pay one other person to be there while you are open for business. 

Offline Little bean

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2021, 08:49:01 PM »
Even when Beddia was in his original spot doing 40 pies a night his register guy was often working harder than he was. Couldnít imagine him doing all that himself. Itís very easy to make, cook, cut and box 25 pies. What is not easy is dealing with customers. If you get someone who likes to talk you cant just step away.

Offline scott r

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2021, 09:11:41 PM »
and you will get LOTS of people that like to talk.   Not to mention emergencies happen, including the need to go to the bathroom lol! 

Offline Andrew t

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2021, 11:46:00 PM »
Emillia's in Oakland I belive is still a one man shop. There are others I can't think of off the top of my head.

I do pop-ups as side hustle. I can do 35-45 pizza in a 3-5 hour window solo, no problem. When it get's above 15 per hour it starts to be too busy.   

Plenty of mobile folks do just this all the time all around the country.

You might consider mobile trailer instead. It is more flexible and way less overhead. Usally less start up as well, unless you find a turn key B/M deal. It's also a good way to test your operation, skills, and desire to do it. 

A few things you might consider opeationally. How can you keep the guest experience good while not slowing production. Getting pagers for my pop-ups was a game changer, to not have to track down and deliver but get the guest to self serve. Also look at self order kiosk or some other method (like preorders or web ordering) of controling guest flow. I've always loved the way ramen places in Japan use vending machines to presell tickets and have been searching for a way to replicate it. SOme day... :) :)

I'd also reconsider your value proposition. $18 per pie might be too low a price point. I was at that price point and raised it to $22-25. No one balked and really adds up fast. With small scale you are going to want to be a premium brand. 

Another thing to consider is tips- I pull 15-20% tips every event. You might not get that high tip % in a pizza shop. I've found credit card guests when promted by the POS to tip do it; cash guests tend not to tip at all or 20%+ so average cash tip is 10%. I do about 90% card transactions.

Good luck.

Check out the Smart Pizza Marketing podcast for lots of good interviews with small/solo operations.

Andrew 

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Offline PizzaGarage

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2021, 01:06:06 AM »
I donít see how you would be able to have consistent production if your answering the phone, taking orders, processing orders, dealing with customers at the same time making pizza and baking.  On the baking side if your busy you can burn up your pies if dealing with customers, same for making - lots of delays in getting product out the door on time.  Maybe it will work if your slow but your not making money either, you need volume.  I think it could be done if you have someone taking orders and dealing with the customers AND you put as much automation as possible into the prep equipment.

Offline suburbanpizza

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2021, 11:35:43 AM »
I appreciate all of the feedback so far, thank you. To answer as many questions as possible I have calculated the food costs within the last week. I did notice that the price of pizza boxes is up 25% at my local restaurant depot. Cheese has been relatively steady over the past year, but tomatoes have taken a jump up recently, as well as flour a few months back.

As far as what I have calculated into my overhead I have; Rent, gas, electric, phone/internet, garbage, liability insurance, window cleaning, linens, health department permit, and supplies/repairs. Oh and a salary for myself.

Unfortunately if I get sick or injured Iíll be in serious trouble, but truthfully that would likely be the case even if I had employees.

I agree that being open 6 days certainly means I will be working 7 days, I suppose I am counting on not burning out because I am a single guy in my twenties and essentially would have no responsibilities outside of the pizzeria.

It seems the majority feel I would need to hire someone to work the register, I guess my concern is how much additional cost and headaches will that cause me and can they provide enough help to make it worth it? I live in the suburbs of New York which means good luck finding anyone to work for less than $15/hr. Even if they only work 4 hours a day with additional taxes and insurance they are probably costing me $100/day which realistically means I need to sell an additional 7-8 pizzas a day just to cover the expense of the employee.

I am aware of gracies apizza in Oregon that operates as a one man shop, he started out as a mobile operation and then opened up a full brick and mortar with employees but during the pandemic he switched to doing it all himself and found he was making more money and has stuck with it since.

Offline waltertore

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2021, 12:53:14 PM »
When I was in my twenties I could have pulled it off but would have been stressed to the max even if it was really laid out right.  I am now 64 and would drop dead  no matter  how I laid it out :-D  I think the most important part will be to get pre orders and not do walk ups unless it is slow and you have dough laying around.  It will take time to get peoples heads wrapped around your concept. 

We run a stripped down shop with my wife working the register and 2-3 people helping cut, box, top, pies, curbside pickup (we have closed the dining room and are not letting people in the shop due to COVID worries).  I do all the preps, shopping, and pizzas. If you let people in the shop they are going to want to talk with you.  This makes for a perfect scenario for burned pies and a lot of stress trying to do all this on your own. 

We have sort of created our own universe/clubhouse so to speak.   We start taking phone orders at 3pm for pickup between 5-7.   Most nights we are sold out by 4, turn on the answering machine that explains we are out of dough.  All orders are laid out for pickups on the quarter hour and with everything all laid out it runs really smooth.  I think you really need a helper unless somehow you can figure how to have people pre -order/pay online (I am no help with that as we do paper and pencil still) and make x amount of pies every 15 minutes for pickup.  Even then it will burn you out sooner than later.  Get a retired person to run the register take pies to the customers outside, and be of general help where needed.  They will be reliable and responsible. 
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 01:03:05 PM by waltertore »
SMILING WITH HOPE PIZZA MISSION STATEMENT
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http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/

Offline PizzaGarage

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2021, 03:26:51 PM »
Maybe look at it this way.  Your investing in a business with a goal to make money, say that's 100K or so year one.  You have the overhead figured out, looking at costs and trying to figure out how you can pull it off with one person.  Right off the bat you know it's a big question, can I be successful with one person?  Ask yourself what happens if you burn a pizza, or if a phone goes unanswered, or if your products are late and the customer is sitting there waiting, and many are waiting.  All of the elements here you can't have, customers won't come back and your business suffers.  You got to hit it 100% of the time or a close as possible, products need to be right, on time and customers need to feel taken care of.  All of that is at risk, not to mention the "slow service" or burned pizza crust pics on Yelp.  It's over before you know it and now in your new space after a few months your fighting to override negative impressions and wondering what happened as your customers are still going to the place they did before.  Think about that....
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 11:51:21 PM by PizzaGarage »

Offline Little bean

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2021, 05:07:38 PM »
You want to sell 25 pies a day by yourself or 32-33 with help. Selling 33 pizzas with two people would be 100 times easier than selling 25 pizzas by yourself. Iíd say if you donít think
There is enough demand for you to sell 33 pizzas a day donít bother opening. Also, you will always need to sell more than what you originally budget for, stuff always comes upÖ.

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Offline JWFPIZZZA

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2021, 08:51:29 PM »
Itís also never 20pies per day. You might run into only selling 16 pies on a Tuesday but could sell 60 on a Friday. Not having that extra person your leaving a lot of money on the table, you might just break even on Tuesday but more than make up for it on Friday. Just a thought. Thereís definitely no 1 size fits all in this industry.

Offline waltertore

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2021, 05:52:56 PM »
I would like to see how a one man shop makes it work.  I have thought about just my wife Judy and I doing it all.  Currently I do all the preps, dough, produce shopping, by myself and open/bake all the pies.  With just the 2 of us it would be too much work at any age for any lenght of time for the amount of money made.  We would have to do all the dishes, cleanups, and with the culture here liking lots of toppings making each pie takes too long.  It would be a huge hustle and we would not make any money.  Plus there will always be something coming up to screw up the flow.  Hire a couple people and make more pies - you can triple a one man show with a couple employees.  Pie volume to labor is worth hiring people. 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2021, 05:56:22 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 theppgcowboy

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2021, 07:26:25 PM »
suburbanpizza may be on the right track to a point. How many shop owners are having any luck finding quality employees?  I kinda gave up awhile ago. Seems functional  alcoholics where all that was left to hire in my area. We decided no more employees,  only what we can do ourselves. Our work load increased but the drama went away. There is a satisfaction knowing your bases are covered. No more wondering if your help was going to show.

When doing a fair, I start with 750 balls, my mother spends the next 4 days replenishing the trays and my girlfriend and I make 300 to just under 400 pies per day for the 5 day event. We know our limits and are happy with the numbers.

To close I tried once again to hire a person to collect money and direct customer flow, she made over 27 an hour in tips plus my wage, it was not enough for the entitled CEO's walking the street.

Offline Little bean

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2021, 07:55:22 AM »
suburbanpizza may be on the right track to a point. How many shop owners are having any luck finding quality employees?  I kinda gave up awhile ago. Seems functional  alcoholics where all that was left to hire in my area. We decided no more employees,  only what we can do ourselves. Our work load increased but the drama went away. There is a satisfaction knowing your bases are covered. No more wondering if your help was going to show.

When doing a fair, I start with 750 balls, my mother spends the next 4 days replenishing the trays and my girlfriend and I make 300 to just under 400 pies per day for the 5 day event. We know our limits and are happy with the numbers.



To close I tried once again to hire a person to collect money and direct customer flow, she made over 27 an hour in tips plus my wage, it was not enough for the entitled CEO's walking the street.

I would pay you very good money to be allowed to sit and watch you make 400 pies a day with two people. I canít wrap my head around that. When I was mobile it took me 5 people to make 400 pies in a day, which was always compressed into a couple of the busy hours. A stretcher, a topper, an oven person, a cut person and a counter person.

Offline theppgcowboy

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Re: One man shop
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2021, 11:22:01 AM »
I would pay you very good money to be allowed to sit and watch you make 400 pies a day with two people. I canít wrap my head around that. When I was mobile it took me 5 people to make 400 pies in a day, which was always compressed into a couple of the busy hours. A stretcher, a topper, an oven person, a cut person and a counter person.

I operate in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Come to the Western Montana Fair, or Ravalli county Fair and bring a pencil and paper. The Ravalli county fair is 4 days and we sold 1329 pies. Our best day was 397. We do 14 hour days. If your willing to chip in even better. The Western Montana Fair was more laid back, 5 days, 1476 pies best day was 374. The reality is we could actually do more but the oven gets to the point it needs a break to heat up. So we slow up for it..  We have 3 pies in it at any one time. Sounds insane but it is real.

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