Author Topic: New member intro, Start-up business  (Read 1685 times)

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Offline GotRocks

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  • Location: up to my butt in snow
  • Trying to get financing sucks!
New member intro, Start-up business
« on: February 06, 2010, 04:55:18 PM »
Hi all, I have been reading the forum for a few days and I decided to switch from being a lurker to active member due to the great conversation and informative topics I have been reading. Thank you for keeping petty arguments off the forum, I have dealt with that garbage with other food-related forums in the past and I have grown sick of it and I am glad to not see it here.

So, here is the deal;
We are in the planning process of expanding our catering business into a restaurant location and adding a Neapolitan-style pizza to our offerings. I have not yet decided on which oven we will purchase but I have information coming from several different manufacturers/suppliers. I am receiving information from woodstone (I have used their wood-fired broilers in the past) Forno Bravo, Pacific Coast ovens, earthstone, and a few others I cannot remember right now. Can you make any other recommendations as to other suppliers/builders of wood-fired pizza ovens?

Who here is running a wood-fired oven in a commercial location??? Can we discuss the likes/dislikes of the make/model you are using and why, what you would or could do to improve the operations of the oven Etc Etc Etc.

I am not looking to be VPN certified at this time, and it is not even really a concern of mine for this current venture, but I would consider doing it for a 2nd, or revamped location down the road.

We plan to have an open-kitchen concept with the oven against a rear wall in the dining room, or maybe even by the entrance, it has not been decided yet. I plan to have 2 people building pies, 1 person panning & cutting them when they come out of the oven, and 1 person as a full-time oven tender. Are my theories solid, do you see a problem with this plan? On slower business nights I could probably do this with 1 oven tender and 1 other guy building, and also cutting when done.

What have been the major hurdles some of you have come up against?

My background;
2+ decades in the restaurant industry, my pizza experiences were a long time ago but not forgotten. We will continue our catering operation and base it out of the restaurant instead of renting a commissary and cooking off-premise (cooking on-site of the event we cater)

I look forward to hearing your replies, if you would feel more comfortable mentioning sensitive items through PM's as opposed to an open forum, I will respect your privacy and keep any PM messages off the forum for obvious reasons.

A skinny cook is not to be trusted!

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: New member intro, Start-up business
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 03:32:57 PM »
Hey GotRocks, where are you planning to open a pizzeria?

As far as oven manufacturers, I would certainly include Stefano Ferrara in your short-list for serious consideration. I do not operate a restaurant, but have had close contact with a couple of people involved with these ovens.

Nomad pizzeria in New Jersey is having success with that oven and I know two people who are getting ready to open a pizzeria (in the USA) and I have been in contact with them with regards to the Stefano Ferrara ovens since ordering them from Ferrara in Napoli. Both have been extremely happy with the amount of contact they have received from Ferrara while the ovens are being built in Napoli (with pictures of work in progress, etc), the design team in helping to get the look of the oven like they wanted it (custom tiles, logos, etc), to the packaging of the oven for shipping, help with installation and then are extremely pleased with the performance of the oven upon arrival. The heat retention in the floor, reflective qualities of the material and heat distribution (helped by materials, the dimensions/ratios of the dome, oven size, opening, etc), construction quality, efficiency in the amount of wood needed to be used in an evening, etc are all reported to be outstanding.

In addition, another highly respected pizzamaker is also seriously considering Stefano Ferrara as the maker for a new oven. More information can be found here

The Acunto oven installed Motorino East Village (former Una Pizza Napoletana) is very well liked by its users as well. I'm not 100% sure this is the website, but here is a link:

I would imagine that ultimately any well constructed oven will do the trick, being that the skill of the user is of utmost importance.

Exciting times for you and good luck!  :)

« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 03:36:57 PM by pizzablogger »
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline GotRocks

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  • Location: up to my butt in snow
  • Trying to get financing sucks!
Re: New member intro, Start-up business
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 11:00:11 AM »
I have looked at several brands and builders, and I am almost 100% set on getting a Forno Bravo unit into my location. As I mentioned earlier being VPN certified is not our current goal, so the ability to have a gas-assist with the Forno Bravo oven I like is a huge plus because talented cooks are very few, and far between in this area, the quality of the food at most restaurants in the verifies this.

We are in northern Wisconsin, in a huge vacation destination, the bulk of our available labor is seasonal only. Our summer business will  need to carry us through the slower winter months. We commonly see an excess of a six-fold increase in population in the summer months. We go from 5K fulltime residents to near 40K people in the summer months. So for 4 months out of the year it is an absolute madhouse, and as slow as a cemetery in the winter if we do not get good snowfall for snowmobilers.

I have reconsidered my open-kitchen concept, and feel it is better to have a semi-open plan instead since I have not found an acceptable way to coordinate orders from the kitchen and pizza orders together.

I have completed my P&L forecasts, and they show favorable. I did three different model and on one I have purposely over-estimated my food & labor costs, and under estimated my customer flow to see a worst-case scenario and they still show me as profitable in those scenario's.

I just need to get financing nailed down and I can start ordering my equipment. I was able to get 8 weeks rent free for our building modifications, and secure either 5 or 10 year lease on the location I want.

And to top it off, the other half is on board with me for this expansion into a restaurant. Well, she is the one that lit a fire under my butt to start the catering biz, so I do not know why I expected anything different.
A skinny cook is not to be trusted!