One of the hardest things about being in the pizza business is trying to appeal to so many different preferences - especially when it comes to pizza. One of the most frustrating things I've learned is you have to "sell to the masses, not the classes". It seems that most people are conditioned to prefer a "NY" style pizza - giant pizzas, giant slices, really crispy, tons of toppings. My preference is authentic Neapolitan style - it's what I like to eat and what I like to make. I think it requires a lot more skill, passion, and attention to detail. When you try to serve a neapolitan pie to most people you get comments like: "it's burned", "its too soupy", "not enough cheese", "its too chewy"...uggh.
We have 2 restaurants in Dallas...one is really small and because of its location we have to have deck ovens, not wood-fired. As a result, we make more of an Italian/NY blend - caputo dough cooked in a deck oven for longer periods gets crispy. Our other is frankly too big for a pizzeria at 6000sf - but we have 2 decent wood-burning ovens. The business reality is that we need to please the masses so we can't really produce the pies I want. The realities of employee staffing and quality is that I can't ensure consistency by offering 2 distinct types of pizza - logistics would be a disaster. The NY influence is very pervasive on pie preference - we also have a lot of east coast transplants here. Although we get good reviews for our pizza from the press, I really wish I was doing 100% neapolitan every day, every pie. I just can't gamble the 6000sf restaurant.
If the economy ever snaps out of it, I think the sweet spot is a 2500sf spot with a focus on pure Neapolitan pies.
So all that being said...I still like the pizza business and trying to appease palettes poisoned by PizzaHut vs. working for some generic corporation wondering when you will eventually get laid off or downsized!