You did a nice job with the Cheesestick clones.
In the past, I have observed PJ workers work with dough balls right out of the cooler. They are hard to open up without resorting to a lot of docking. I suspect the dough ball that the worker in the PJ store you visited used to make your Cheesesticks had been allowed to warm up but maybe not to the optimum stage.
You indicated that you used two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. If you look at the video below, you will note that the amount of cheese put on the skin is rather sparse. Was the cup you used a standard 8-ounce (by volume) measuring cup? If so, you might sometime try using less cheese if only to be able to make a more direct comparison with the Cheesesticks that PJ makes. Also, cheese is the most expensive item on the Cheesesticks product. That might be a factor if you decide to sell your Cheesestick clones at market.
I notice also that you cut the pizza into 18 pieces instead of 14 pieces (some PJ stores apparently cut into 16 pieces). I assume that you were not trying to copy PJ exactly on this aspect.
With respect to oven rack position, when I made my PJ pizza clones, using a screen, I placed the screen on the lowermost oven rack position of my electric oven. Depending on what was placed on the pizzas and their quantities, I would sometimes have to raise the pizza in the oven once the bottom crust was of the desired color in order to get more top crust browning or to finish cooking the toppings. The oven temperature I used was around 500 degrees F.
Were you satisfied with the performance of your garlic sauce?
My cheesesticks sure didn't look like Nate's. I really don't know where the shift manager got that cheesestick dough ball from, but he went into the back to get it. It probably was warmed up some, but it you are probably right that maybe it wasn't warmed up to the optimum stage. The doughs balls I watched the shift manager take out of the dough boxes and then make into pizzas didn't look to easy to open either.
I see the cheese amount placed on the cheesesticks in the video is rather sparse. I used a regular measuring cup to apply the LMPS mozzarella. The shift manager used some kind of cup (applied two times) to put mozzarella on the cheesesticks I purchased at PJ and then sprinkled more mozzarella on them, but I wasn't close enough to really see what size cup or portion container he used. I can understand if I decide to sell the cheesesticks clones I will have to be careful in how much cheese I apply, because I know cheese is expensive.
There was no reason why I cut the cheesesticks into 18 pieces. I just cut.
Thanks for telling me when you made your PJ clone pizzas, using a screen, that you placed the screen on the lowermost oven rack position. I should have look though this thread more to see what you did before I decided to bake. After the bake, I thought I probably should have tried the bottom rack position because the heating element is on the bottom.
My garlic sauce spread okay and there weren't any messes in my oven from the garlic sauce, but I was not satisfied with the taste of my attempt at the garlic sauce compared to PJ Garlic sauce.