A few questions for the Masters.

OK for years I have been working on getting my recipe right so I can open a restaurant. I have worked on and off in Pizza joints for the past 25 years so I kinda know what goes on. Questions I have.

1: I’m going to use a conveyor oven with the with the Lloyd disk for that New York look and taste. the Question if what is a good oven that is not going to break me. I plan on making 14" small, 16" Med, 18" Lg and a 30" party pizza. also should I go with double stack to start and hope for the best or be realistic and just one.

2: I’m looking at Hobart Mixers since that is what I have been using the Legacy® HL662 Pizza Mixer just makes me tingle. but again what is not going to break me. I know 60 qt is about the Min I need to go.

thats it for now im sure I will come up with more as time goes on.

Thanks for the help

DB(Mike)

We don’t use conveyer so can’t help you there.

When we opened our second location we bought a used hobart 60 quart mixer that was refurbished…Cheap. It is ancient but runs like a horse. These things are built to last so don’t buy new…find used and you will save a bunch.
We were also able to get them to throw in an attachment which saved us a couple of bucks.

Good luck.

If you are going with conveyor ovens, you would be foolish to go with a single. Ovens break down, it’s a fact. Buy a doublestack not only for the added capacity, but for the reliability. No reason to have to close on Friday night just because an ignition module or some other part fails. As far as what will “break you”, I don’t know your financial situation but you could buy a doublestack of old tired Lincoln 1000’s for under $4000 or you can spend over $40,000 for a doublestack of Middleby 570’s. I like my Edge ovens but if I was opening on a budget I would probably look for some used middleby 360’s.

As far as a mixer, I agree with Kris, do no buy new. A 60qt is the smallest I would consider, but an 80qt can generally be had for the same price. The 80 is easier to mix 50Lbs of flour in. You can find these on ebay all the time for $3000 or so. I recently switched from a Hobart planetary mixer to a spiral mixer and am happy with the new one. Spiral mixers can be had on ebay cheap sometimes as well.

One last note, I would recommend rethinking your pizza sizes. I don’t think too many of your customers will appreciate the difference in your large compared to your competitors. They’ll just see your price differences. I have a 16" large instead of the 14" large that they sell and it gives me some point of distinction, but It’s hard to convey that to new customers. Also can your 30" pizza fit in everyones car? I would be pizzed if I just spent a whole lot of money on 2 30" pizzas but then couldn’t fit them in my car. Just something to think about.

We have a stacked Middleby conveyor oven. I definitely recommend having stacked ovens for cases where if one breakdown then you still have the other to use. Also on nights if you are not busy, you can have just one operating which will save you on your electric bill.

30" pizzas…those are some big pizzas. I can’t imagine if someone wanted one of those loaded how much that would weigh

double stackalsoallows youto rotae which ove in working condition, and spreads the wn is on during the “one oven” shifts. Keeps them both in working shape . . . plus spreads wear across two ovens.

Hi Dragonborn:

You have received some good information so far:

Can I ask, are you doing a dine in? Will you do delivery?

What in addition to pizza will you be serving?

Will you have alcoholic beverages?

How many pizzas will you hope to bake during your busiest hour of your busiest evening?

If you will provide answers to the above I will try and suggest an oven for you.

George Mills

I thank you all so much for the input. I know what you mean about the 30" might not fit, there’s a place down the street that sells a 25" I got it home but barely had to tilt it to get it in the door. I might rethink that one. as for the sizes I really want to stay with them. That USED to be the Norm here in Phx.

George you brought some things I have not been thinking about. along with pizza I will be serving wings and subs. At a later time I might add pasta dishes.

I am holding off on the Alcoholic for a bit due to the about of BS and money but would like to add beer and wine.

I will offer dine in, delivery, and of course carry out.

the one question that’s stumping me is how many at my busiest hour of the busiest evening. I have no clue on that.

I thank you all for the speedy responses and will keep the questions coming. ( I really don’t want to be one of these open close restaurants.

DB(Mike)

I’ll say it again and then leave it to rest. I really don’t think your large should be 18". Not only will you be fighting an uphill battle “educating” your customers, you need to think about oven capacity. In every pizza shop I’ve worked in, whatever size called a “large” is the top selling size. If you sell more 18" pizzas than any other size, you’ll find yourself in need if a 36" wide conveyor oven or larger. While these are out there, if you are looking for used, you will be limiting your market severely. The reason you’ll need a 36" or wider belt is that you’ll waste nearly 25%-30% of your belt space in a 32" belt if you are staggering 18" pizza after 18" pizza. It doesn’t take very many 18 inch pizza to back up a 32 inch belt in a conveyor oven. Just a bit of food for thought.

Hi Mike:

I ask that question again and again of those planing to open pizza shops and most always get answers the same as yours. I just realized I am not phrasing my question properly.

What I should ask is, have you determined how many pizzas you will have to bake and sell during your busiest hours in order to earn the income you hope to make from your business? If you do not know the answer to that question how can you determine how to equip your shop to be profitable?

Yes there will be peripheral products sold to contribute to profits. The production of those peripheral items as you described will not be as equipment dependent as pizza production.

Not knowing the answer to the above question is like setting out to trek across a vast desert without knowing how much water to take with you.

I would think it an important part of a potential pizza operators business plan to determine how much of your main product you will have to produce to earn the profits aspired to.

Perhaps others with greater knowledge of the cost factors involved in pizza shop operations could help and develop a formula for finding an answer to how much production required to be profitable?

George Mills

Just work your numbers backwards.

Figure monthly sales/weekly sales/daily sales

daily sales * 75% (pizza percentage)

Then figure 75% of pies over 2 or 3 hour period

There’s no exact answer but this will get you close. Your dealer will also be able to help you in figuring it out. They can also tell you what businesses are using to handle their busiest hours. It seems daunting at first but just dive into the numbers and they will start making sense.

Wow! I think you would really be missing out on a lot of potential sells to people who only have enough money for a 10" or 12" pizza. And like someone else said. It would be a major pain to have to stagger your 18" pizzas. And again, most customers just see the word Large and then the price. It is going to be a hard sell for you when they see the price of your Large pizza compared to your competitor with the 14" Large pizza.

Hi again Dragonborn:

Pizza pirate offers some excellent in sites to answering the question of how many pizzas per hour should an operator be equipped to produce in order to attain the desired profitability.

The question now becomes how to determine the sales figures that the Pirate refers to. Those planing to open shops do not know what there sales will be but they should be able to calculate what they have to be in order to archive their profit target.

I an not an accountant but I hope someone on this forum is and can supply a formula to provide a projected operating cost. Once that is estimated the amount of total sales required to produce the desired profit can be calculated. Then Pirate’s formulas can be used to determine how many pizzas need to be produced to attain profitability.

I would certainly like to have a formula to help me help potential operators determine how much production capacity they require. As it is now I make an educated (I hope ) guess.

George Mills

Mike as for the sizes…when we opened 15 years ago we had a 14" large and after a few years made it a 16" to stand out from our competitors. Fast forward 15 years…no one really cares that it is 16. Many people price large to large. Not 14 to 16.

Maybe you could make the 18 a jumbo size and name it after a local sports team? I think we all are just talking to you about this cuz once your open it would be hard to move down to a 16 from an 18. Not to mention when marketing comes into play you can’t play competitively with your competion. (Again, people won’t care that it is 18 they will see it as a large) Also I realize most people don’t try and compete price but at the end of the day…price matters.

Good luck to ya…how exciting

Kris

My large is 2 inches larger than one of my main competitors. Of course my prices are a little higher. My menu has large medium and small and the size of the pizza in inches. The competition only has large and medium with no size. Their large is the same size as my medium and their medium the same size as my small.

I often get asked why my large is more expensive and I have to explain that their large is the same size as my medium (which of course mine is cheaper), of course most customers simple do not understand and do not notice unless they buy two and have them side by side.

So I lose the price point battle to them because people perceive my large is more expensive.

If I could I’d rename it my medium as large and my large as extra large.

I just got a flashback to the Dragnet TV series. The story you have just seen is true, THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT. it would protect you pricing structure but get you back in the game.

not sure I follow you Richard?

Your prices will remain the same for a specific diameter of pie. No change from your point of view but lower prices in the customers eyes.

Why can’t you rename them? You would be doing your business a favor.

We renamed ours exactly like Wizzle described. It was a PITA for about 2 months as we had to explain it a million times - but it was worth it in the long run.

Whilst it is ONE of our main competitors it is not our ONLY competitors and I would be joining them at their game with the other guys. And when I say a ‘main competitor’ I know I out sell these guys by a long way I have 10-12 drivers in a weekend they have 2-3 - its that kind of ‘main’ :slight_smile:

I’ve been in our market for nearly 4 years so to change things now would be (I feel) counter productive and in some ways playing into their hands. But the point is that a simple change in menu ‘set up’ can have a positive/negative impact so (as said earlier) please check you local area and don’t make your size’s too big.

If I had to ‘react’ to everything my competitors do then I’d be in a real state. I’ve already changed my menu layout as nearly all of the local’s changed to my menu style (as I’ve posted previously) but I tend to thin I set the standrad locally rather than to follow someone else If someone wants to throw a curve ball then well I’ll consider my options but I certainly won’t change my whole game plan…