Starting are 1st Pizza venture :0)

Started by Pizza Boy, October 12, 2006, 05:47:38 PM

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Pizza Boy

Want to start a Pizza and light Italian restaurant. My wife and I have no prior experience. we thought of a franchise but would rather have our own. We need someone to help us with what we would need to start up. We found a location in Temecula Ca. now need equipment how to run it, what good pizza & pasta sauces pretty much everything. We would be happy to pay someone to help us, maybe a retired restaurant owner would be great. Thank you, Pizza Boy


i'm not sure , what your looking to get out of this. it's will not be $$$$$$$$$. and the hours will kill you and your wife.  your talking 12 hours aday 7 days aweek if not more. if you never worked in the rest business before. your in for a RUDE AWAKENING.   i have no idea where your at. but i have 20 years experence in the pizza buss. in new york city. i'm out for the last 8 years and have never been happier.  just be ready to work  to the bone and buy all your equipment used.  you better hope your the only fast food joint in miles, and your wife a the best cook this side of the county.  good luck.  quido

Pizza Boy

quido, what the f -r -u talking about? what happened to your bizz????????????????????????????
I want to have some fun & make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


I've worked in the restraunt bus. for about 15yrs, mostly waiting tables, but learned alot.  Now own a mortgage and a home building company,but started a pizza/sub rest. about 7 months ago.  It's definately fun, I do the owner job (check on daily, pay bills, books, etc.) but hired an experienced manager to run it (don't have the time).  I could tell you all my downfalls but it would take all night.  7 mos in bus and barely breaking even right now. But, don't let that discourage you. A few pointers that I didn't realize that hurt the hardest at first are:
1.  8.25% of your monthly sales have to be paid to comptroller by the 20th of following month or they'll charge you 10% penalty.  (I didn't even figure in sales tax when trying to figure out bottom dollar sales to break even at first)
2.  Every month you have to pay in to the IRS 941 taxes (payroll) that is probably alot more than your initial budget figures, and quarterly you pay workmans comp dues.
3.  When doing food cost, don't forget togo boxes, cups, lids, straws, bags, napkins, parm & crushed pepper, 54 cent pizza boxes etc. IT WILL KILL YOU!! 1/2 of my sales is to go (i don't deliver) but it's call up and take out (even though I have seating for 30)  lunches seem to sit down, dinners take out.
4.  Have storage!!  You'll double your food cost running to the local grocery to buy stuff you should have stocked enough up on from your distributer.
5.  Kinda in line w/4. SAMS IS GOD.  On the small scale pizzeria, most of the times Sams paper products beats your dist. prices. and your not waiting on the truck!!
6.  Ebay is king!! If you need it or want it.  Search Ebay first.  They are usually cheaper than your locall supplier for equip. and if your lucky, your local dist. will match Ebay's price and you don't have to worry about the whole Ebay thing.
7.  Insurance!! I pay$108 per month for non delivery liability only, add delivery and workmans comp ins. and your at $400.  I never even looked into this when doing my initial budget.
8.  Hire people that have experience.  You'll pay soo much more trying to train an employee w/no experience in the rest. bus.(friends kids, etc)  and probably have to fire them anyway then you would finding one w/experience.
9.  Something breaks every month.  It doesn't matter how big or small, something breaks!!  $175 to recharge a cooler, $15 in door hinges. $10 in LIGHT BULBS!!, $5 in A/C filters, Pizza Peels, Cutters, Can Openers, Pizza pans get bent, Soda machine heads, Toilet stops flushing, Table gets loose, it doesn't stop!!
10.  It's a blast to be your own boss!!! you might stress more, but you are your own boss!! You did it for a reason, w/good advice from someone who's done it before you, you know what you're getting in to.  Step up and do it!!  Just consider everything up front and you'll do good.

Good Luck!!

Pizza Boy

Wow! thanks for scaring me  ::) maybe I'll have to rethink this whole thing. When you started breaking even how much do you think you can make a year? :-[



Sorry, didn't mean to come out that bad.  I could have saved a lot of frustrations of opening new like I did if I would have found this site sooner. 

I now know to pretty much the penny what breaks me even a month, figuring how much it will profit by sales increase/expense increase is taking me a while.  Sales are still increasing but sometimes sparatically.  This makes weekly ordering a little tricky.  Remember "If you stock a lot of it, they'll waste a little more" so I try to run pretty tight on stock.  Also, space is getting limited w/increased sales, increased orders.

Someone probably has an excel spreadsheat already made for this (if so pls let me know).

Hope this helps and please don't get discouraged, just make sure you do your research on this forum and you should be fine!!


Quote from: Pizza Boy on October 25, 2006, 03:13:52 PM
Wow! thanks for scaring me  ::) maybe I'll have to rethink this whole thing. When you started breaking even how much do you think you can make a year? :-[

Let me offer you a suggestion that will help your porsperity.  You need to get a pizza job for at least a year.  I would recomend longer but you definately need to learn the business.  Work on developing your product now, working on it after you are open is going to be too long.  Appearance of your business will go along way.  Strive to make it look like a chain.  People are comfortable with chains and will be more likely to visit you.  Come up with a logo and brand everything you can.  Box top every pizza with coupons and a menu.  I would buy custom boxes, there not that expensive and help brand your business (your food supplier will have a couple companys it uses, I pay .46 a box for custom 16" boxes) If you have any questions or need help I will be glad to lend a hand.  I have owned my stores for 2 years, my 1st one does 500,000 a year and my 2nd one is only 5 months old but it is breaking even and making me a bit of money despite competing with the big 3.


I agree!! I custom created my logo and theme.  Kingpin Alley Pizza and Subs.  50's bowling alley themed NY style pizzeria.  When I built my place, I black/white checker tiled the floors w/ceramic tile w/black grout.  Custom bright colors on the wall, tons of custom framed 50's bowling alley art, 50's tables & chairs, etc.  A restaurant w/a theme and a logo that's easily recognized.  I wanted it to look like a big chain.  I've got framed prints of my logo on the walls, custom clock's and art that has my name on it (real cheap off of ebay), business cards w/logo, t-shirts, hats, etc. 

I get about 5 people ask me  a week if I'm a chain!!  I love it.  Design the whole image and it will instill the whole chain/safe image that customers love.  There's a whole lot of people that won't even try that "mom and pop" style establishment.

I've had people ask about franchise capabilities already.  (I don't tell them I'm barely breaking even) but it's fun to know that people luv your stuff that much!!

I'll post some logo/rest. pics later



definately needs alot of planning and experience..its not as easy as it all looks..1 mistake-might add here in any business ofcoarse-and you will feel the pinch..ive known people that have had no experience pump out %$#& and still stay afloat..but they have had slight competition and a lotta luck,this of coarse has been done by buying out someone elses business..if you are determined my friend i say go for it suck up all infomation possible,buy someone out of there business,make sure you follow his lead for the first 6 months then gradually place some tried and proven ideas into the menu..and be supa nice too the customers and you might possibly get through ok..hope I helped.ohh forgot #$%* franchises :-D


Quote from: Pizza Boy on October 14, 2006, 09:24:38 PM
quido, what the f -r -u talking about? what happened to your bizz????????????????????????????
I want to have some fun & make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Reason #1 why you should not open a restaurant!!!  In it for the money?  This means that you place your wallet first, customer second, and probably product last.  When a customer feels that they are being shorted, no matter what it is, they will lose their money to you only once.  Your statement reminds me of all the young flame jockeys who take up cooking professionally because they think that they can become a Todd English or Thomas Keller in a year.  It takes more than what I think you are willing to invest.  Maybe you can sell ice cream from a pushcart at the beach....ringing the lil silver bell could be fun.  Adam


Wave Runner

hey, ive owned my shop here in san diego for 8 years now and yes, it is hard work, and you do work every single day, but you know what, if, and only IF you have a passion for it, then you should definitely do it, but i do suggest you somehow get some lessons on the restaurant business, because a restaurant is much different than a pizza shop, but if its something you LOVE, and nothing less, dont ever let anything stop you.
jC  'Wave Runner'


Hey all
just figured i would throw my thoughts into the mix.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to making $$$ and providing the best simultaneously. They are not exclusive. No one goes into business to break even or lose money! If you can take a salary = to or greater than you currently make, it is great to be your own boss. I have been my own boss for 6 years and when it is good it is GREAT! When times are tough and you have to lay someone off, maybe someone with kids who is relying on your salary, it hurts!  Hoping the next day brings enough money so that the paychecks don't bounce can cause a lot of stress. Even so, every hour you invest in your own business, your creation, your baby, is worth it! That same level or work or devotion to somenone else's business is never fully or truly appreciated. The key is DO YOUR HOMEWORK! You need to know industry standards for cost of labor, cost of food, waste percentage, insurance, waste removal, everything. If you can subscribe to restaurant trade publications and National Restaurant Association publications do so. Their web site offers a lot info. Read all you can. Work in a pizzeria or restaurant and OBSERVE!  I have also found that if you can differentiate your business from the others you can succeed. It is hard to compete on price, with the chains ability to purchase in bulk with discounts, so you need to compete in quality or service or something. As said in other posts, you cannot expect to sit back and rake the money in. Hard work,  working weekends, nights, holidays are all standard and necessary. If your looking for 9 to 5 ...this is not for  you. Through my own self discovery, I have found that almost every job I have had from when I was 16 years old,  I thought that I could do it better, and that is the thought you need to have your own business. I could not tolerate the apathy, ineptitude, and close mindedness of my bosses and would mentally create lists of what I would change. Finally I decided to see if those changes would result in a successful business. You will need to think out of the box, be creative, work hard and not run at the first sign of trouble, but also know when to admit that you have done all that you can and bail when necessary. I would NOT go back to working for someone else for the security (is there such a thing anymore these days?) for anything. Again DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You cannot plan enough. Hope for the best and PLAN for the worst. Good Luck



I agree with all the great advice given so far. I haven't owned a restaurant but my parents have and I grew up learning a good deal of the business, both the good and the bad.

I have to repeat that you can certainly make a good living owning and running a restaurant but if monetary gain is your most driving motivation, you may not stick it out long enough to break even and build up a strong customerbase and reputation in order to be successful. If you have a passion for pizza, great, that's one thing in your favour. You also have to enjoy the lifestyle of serving others. If the thought of bringing a smile to someone's face by providing a great meal is something you look for then it's another thing in your favour. Basically, if you know that you will enjoy the business even through the harder times, then you can make it.

Also heed the advice that this is a business. You need to learn about running a restaurant in general and then adjust for the particulars of a pizza restaurant.  KingPinAlley and trohrs123 have offered invaluable information and insight into the business. There's a lot people can tell you in order to inform you about the business but there's also going to be some things that you'll have to learn the hard way through first hand experience. Make a solid business plan and do what you can to follow it through. It won't go smoothly, there's bound to be some unforeseen difficulties, but at least you'll have something to guide you. Running a restaurant can be a consuming job. Aside from a handful of holidays per year, restaurants stay open. Even on the holidays that you have, you may either be planning for the next day/week or work to replenish your stocks. It takes a certain kind of mindset to be able to sacrifice the free time many people outside of the restaurant business may take for granted.

The restaurant business can be fun but only if you have both a passion for the business as well as the determination to ride out the rough times. If you know what you're getting yourself into and can still say "Yeah! I want to do this!" then you have a foot up on things.



I agree with alot of the above replies. Especially the one that says you should work at a pizza shop for at least a year. Or at least till you have a good felling if you want to jump into it.

There are Just a few questions you should answer;

Do you have a good starting capital?

And do you have the patients for customers?

And the biggest thing of all, do you want to be tied down to your work?

A pizza shop requires alot of your time (alot meaning "ALL" of your time)
7 days a week.
Put it to you this way, you are the only one who can run your business the way you want it to be ran.

Don't get me wrong, there are people that can run it the way you ASK AND CAN TRUST (if you are lucky)
But most will not work for next to nothing, and if you are going to pay someone it is almost best to keep the money and work it yourself.

I started from scratch with my own thinking of how I want it too be.
If I had to give somebody advice I would check into franchises that have already took the guess work out and have a solid system of making it work.

I spent thousands of dollars just to learn from my trial and mistakes.
In the end I wouldn't have done it any other way, but I had to struggle and almost loose everything to get where I am at today.

Well don't want to discourage you, I would think very hard before you commit to a career that requires SO much time.
I mean I did it  :o

This site is a great too to use I use it all the time bouncing Ideas off of people (mainly Peteezza) :-D
I would be glad to answer question and help if you decide to venture in to the business.
The ones that say it is great are not your true owners of a
Quote from: Wave Runner on April 06, 2007, 03:24:23 PM
hey, I've owned my shop here in san diego for 8 years now and yes, it is hard work, and you do work every single day, but you know what, if, and only IF you have a passion for it, then you should definitely do it, but i do suggest you somehow get some lessons on the restaurant business, because a restaurant is much different than a pizza shop, but if its something you LOVE, and nothing less, don't ever let anything stop you.



Quote from: Wave Runner on April 03, 2007, 05:43:10 PM
im 18 and i want to open a shop as a career, what advice can anyone give me to prevent me as much as possible from crashing and burning?



I own two pizza restaurants.  One is open all year, the other location is seasonal, open for about four months each year.  I am just starting my 9th year in the business. 

Don't let these posts scare you off.  If you are organized, solidy financed and willing to pay attention to it, this is a pretty simple business with good margins.

I work in the restaurant about 15 hours a week.  My wife works there once in a while.  If we both worked there full time (40-50 hours) we would be able to take about 140-150K out of it.  As it is, we hire managers and keep an eye on things and make half that.

I have done some other consulting for start-ups.  If you want to drop me a line I can help you.  bodegahwy at comcast dot net.