Advice wanted

Here is the situation.

I own a restaurant in Charlotte, NC. It’s been here since 1961 and does good serving burgers, hotdogs, bbq and other sandwiches. We’ve built up a good business but suffer from not enough room.

We are building a new restaurant and expect to break ground within the next 60 days. We will be able to double our seating and offer other items. Included with our regular menu we are also going to serve a pizza/pasta/salad buffet. Our business plan is to drive sales through the buffet and let our regular menu continue to deliver necessary profits. I realize that we will be robbing from one to pay the other…but I believe that this is a combination that will work in our location.

We want to use pre-sheeted pizza dough (probably from Rich’s). We want a good product for a buffet that would be better than the discount pizza chains, but maybe not as a high quality as our local independents that don’t have buffets.

Currently I have ordered a case from Rich’s and have been experimenting with it. The problem is that I only have a convection oven to use for the tests. Our intention is to make it as idiot proof as possible and use conveyor ovens once we have the building built.

I have plenty of time to work on our cooking procedures and receipies. I want to make this right and have it ready for our opening day.

What I am looking for is suggestions, recommendations or advice for using pre-sheeted pizza dough and cooking procedures.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!

I would say you should really be trying to make your own dough because of the huge potential for savings involved. Especially since you are going to do a buffet you really need to watch your food cost as close as possible. You can use a dough press to make your crusts if you are worried about hand tossing. You may want to also consider only running your buffet during slow times for your store in order to draw people in then, but not detract from sales during your busy hours. As far as testing your product out in a different oven than you will actually use down the road…It will not give you the same results as your conveyor oven! You can at least get an idea on flavor profile, but every oven will cook a pie differently so you will need to adjust for the new oven. That is another case for making your own dough because you can adjust your dough in order to get the desired end result out of your conveyor. There are some dough formulas in the recipe bank under the culinary link at the top of the PMQ page that are a good place to start. I wish you luck in your venture.