Advice for Noob. I Dare You to Burst my Bubble

Wizzle’s post is one of the best I’ve ever read on this board - not much to add to it. You need to realize that having a “good” pizza is not what will make or break you. The fact that there is no “good” pizza in your area could mean that the market won’t support the prices required.

Even if it will, let me give you an example from my own store. We serve a “gourmet” pizza and it’s fairly expensive. My demographics are firmly in the wealthy category with median income over $100,000 and a huge average home value. We do very well with our concept and me and one other independent are probably the only places in my city with “good” pizza. I’d say both of us have excellent pizza relative to what else is here.

About 6 blocks from me there’s a place that serves crappy, cheap pizza. They go all day long for $5.00 larges, use “pizza cheese”, purchased dough and barely any toppings. Guess what? They’re busy all the time. I’m sure they don’t do anywhere near my sales levels, but they just might make more money. They don’t have all the expenses that I have needed to put out “good” pizza.

Nobody is trying to discourage you here - just trying to point out that you need to have a lot more in your aresenal than “I’m going to have better pizza than the other guys.”

I love this one. I don’t have great delivery service and I’m sure a lot of people order from the “cheaper” places because of it. The way we’re set up is not conducive to 30 minute delivery times. I’m sure many people will take a cheaper, lower quality, faster pizza instead of waiting for me. That’s fine, we focus on dine-in… but speed and affordability is a huge factor outside of having “good” pizza. If you’re starving and have kids to feed and homework to do and bathtime… will you wait an hour for my gourmet pizza or maybe settle for Papa John’s that can get it to you in 25 minutes and be 30% cheaper?

Long story short, there are a lot of things to consider for success besides just having a better pizza. I think that’s all these posters are trying to point out.

thank you!!

Personally, I think my finest post was my reply to the guy asking if it was ok to use a sauce made with meat stock on vegetarian pies but I do appreciate your comment! :lol:

I really do appreciate all the info. It’s very easy to get carried away with wrong ideas when you’re thinking of opening a business. Sometimes a discouraging message from someone who knows is a blessing, and I’d rather learn the risks by asking others than by wasting time and money on a doomed project.

The Grande cheese guy just dropped off some samples, so my plan is to make the best food I can for the church and go from there.

oh, no now you’ve done it… let the grande cheese debate commence… :roll:

Didn’t mean to start a fight.

Right now I’m using a mixture of cheeses from Costco and GFS. Costco won’t deliver, and I don’t like GFS mozzarella, so I’m hoping Grande will work with my cooking method. If it does, I can get GFS to bring it by truck. The cost is actually lower than what I pay now, because I can’t get shredded provolone, and the sliced kind is outrageously expensive. I put up another post about slicers because we’re thinking of getting a slicer so we can use loaf provolone and pay less for it. I figured $200 for a used slicer was a good investment. Now someone high up in the church wants to go with a new slicer, which kind of kills the economic incentive.

Someone recommended a five-cheese product from Roma, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I’m not one of these fanatics who says Grande is the ultimate cheese. I love the pizzas I’m making right now. But I’ve had lots of excellent pizzas topped with Grande.


Don’t mind me. I just wanted to get a ringside seat.

How much trouble am I in?

sorry, I’m playing. There are a few re-occurring and unanswerable threads on this site:

  1. ‘which is better deck or conveyor?’ - of course all the best guys know its conveyor but we humour the deck guys! :roll:
  2. ‘grande is the best and you save money as you use less - discuss!’
  3. ‘I know very little about this business, can I open a shop for $5k and how much will I make?’ - which normally ends up with them telling us how wrong we all are and how little we know about running a pizza business.

You’re in a great position (not being in a formal business) that you can experiment with your pies,cheese, ingredients etc.

‘Something new’ is simply one of the best selling tools there is. People love to try new things so maybe whilst your experimenting you can make a focus of it and really find out what works well - maybe have a running score system, you could do a million things which people can participate with - could be a great angle for you!

I guess I fall in the third category, although $5000 seems like a big waste. I was planning to open a chain of stores for $37.

It’s definitely nice to have a commercial kitchen to use, plus 4,000+ potential customers every week, plus a business that doesn’t have to make a profit. I only wish we had a real oven. I’m using a commercial convection oven plus a conventional gas oven.

The Grande guy told me I would use less cheese. I guess I should have asked him what ratio to try, Grande to my old stuff. I was using 12 ounces per pie on a 9 by 12 Sicilian.

This is where all of the debates start with Grande. Why do you need less cheese? If you don’t use Grande will 30% of your cheese magically vanish in the oven? If a customer is used to getting 10oz of cheese on your pizza, how can you suddenly get by with putting on 7oz and not having them notice? If Grande has a superior flavor then I can understand justifying the cost, but being able to use less cheese has never made sense to me.

There are those who believe this is a magnificent marketing job done by Grande to justify their significantly higher prices… and in the end, your customers get less cheese while Grande makes more money.

And with that said, I’ll probably regret poking this hornet’s nest.

That is hilarious…

[quote="Wizzle Wassell
Quality is ONE of many reasons a business can succeed. Lets go to basics.

You may have the best tasting, quality or whatever pie in the world but…

without marketing (enough) people won’t know you’re there
without an appropriate price people not want to pay that much / be able to afford
without a suitable location people can’t park
without good systems people may have to wait too long to collect/get delivery
without reliable equipment you may not have consistent product
without a clean and presentable shop people may perceive you as dirty
without excellent delivery service people may prefer to get a pie quicker from the other shop
without cost control you may go bust
and so on and so on…

Hope this helps![/quote]

Can we maybe sticky this at the top of the forum…I think this is one of the easiest to understand threads, and especially this post…of all the “I want to open a pizzeria” posts.
Maybe we could even add to the list…things they don’t think about because they are dreaming of opening a pizza place.

Benedetto: Now that you’ve heard all the gloom and doom replies to your post, about all the problems and how hard everything is in the Pizza biz - Which is all true, BTW - Now it’s time for you to ask another question of all the pizza owners out there: “If you could do it all over again, would you? Or would you get a job working for someone else?”

I am wondering about the Costco cheese…Does it stay consistent from 1 batch to the next?..Does it always come from the same co-packer?..Years back when I used cheese from a cash & carry it seemed change all the time…I learned that they had several suppliers and they were more interested that keeping the cost at the right price point that consistency…It was usually close but not as close as brand name cheese…

I can’t say for sure, but I got the impression that my last batch had a little less fat than others. The fact that I’m not sure shows it could not have been much of a difference. On the whole I’m very impressed with Kirkland-label products. If I have a son, I may name him Kirkland.

Today I went to my church and made Sicilian and thin-crust pies with Grande cheese. I tried whole-milk mozzarella, East Coast Blend, and Cheddar Blend. I guess I’ll stir up trouble by saying this, but none of them were as good as Costco cheese.

The whole milk mozzarella cooked up beautifully and resisted burning, and it was nice and buttery and stretchy, but it had virtually no flavor. It reminded me of scamorza. The East Coast Blend got a little brown for my tastes, and it also lacked flavor. The Cheddar Blend had lots of sour flavor, which is fine, but the oiling off was very heavy. So much so that I think it would turn off customers, especially if they added fatty meat toppings.

Everyone agreed with my take on the cheese. Surprising result.

I should point out that all the Sicilian pies were underpinned with GFS provolone. But I think that should have enhanced the Grande’s flavor, so I don’t think it was the problem.

I haven’t been able to get a sample of 50/50 yet. That was the one I was pinning my hopes on.

I’m always fighting for grande and I know this isn’t a grande discussion.

  1. Kirkland Doesn’t make it. they just have a company like saputo label it for them. Im with you with the whole flavor thing. I have tasted cheeses and there is cheese that performs and tastes great. maybe even better than grande.
    1a) Your not bringing your ovens with you to your pizza shop. The next ovens you decide to work with(conveyer, deck, lincoln, bakers pride) with make your pizza perform differently. Whatever your using now you may have to alter.
  2. I have used different labels throughout my career. Grande is the same 365 days a year. I can not say the same for any other brand. My cheese looks exactly the same in july as it does in january.
    2a) Grande is also 1 on 1 with their customers. As you can see they met you already. Especially when opening they will help with many things. Many forms of marketing decorations.

I tried to find out who makes Costco cheese, so I could get it through a food service company, but all I managed to learn is that it ISN’T Mid-American Dairy Farmers.

I’m not knocking Grande. Not after all the great Grande-topped pizzas I’ve eaten. It’s just that I already have a set of ovens and a recipe I worked hard on, and if I have to start over to make it work with the Grande cheeses I used today, I’ll be reinventing the wheel.

I thought it was very classy for the Grande rep to come to my house, knowing I was only likely to end up using a case or two a month.

I hope the 50/50 works out.

Costco uses mozzarella cheese from Foremost for their food court pizza. I don’t know if that is for all Costco stores or if it is the same mozzarella cheese that it sells to customers in their stores.


It’s a lead! Thanks.

Try here: