Anyone really fast?

I’m looking at a location with strong lunch possibilities. Meaning I need to get the pizza’s out quick. No slices. I’d like to do pizza’s that are a mix of California style (lightly sweet, tasty crust) and Italian style. Is this a bad or good combo? What kind of oven should I be looking at that won’t break the bank? I don’t mind used or refurbished if it means I can get more for my money.

Wow I don’t even know where to start

John, After seeing a lot of posts with questions from you on very basic things, I am going to put my SCORE hat on and make a suggestion.

Before you move forward on any of these ideas I think you should go get a job in a pizza place that looks like it is being run well and work there for a while. Go to the next town so when you come back an open your own place you will not be doing so on top of someone that helped you.

The TT is a very helpful place and you will find people here willing to brainstorm on a wide variety of topics and you can pick up tips, refine ideas and get feedback. Your questions are so basic it makes me think you need to go build a base of knowledge before you make some decisions that will cost you a lot of money.

Whatever you do, DO NOT sign a lease anywhere until you have a solid business plan and the knowledge to know it is solid backed by input from someone else with the expertise to pressure test it AND the assitance of an attorney!

Good comment. But remember, in your segment, many questions will seem basic. As I read through the posts, many questions that are not necessarily pizza related, wings, sandwiches, slicers, fryers etc… seem very basic to me. Pizza and its immediate surroundings are new to me. That’s all. I want to digest as much information as I can so I can make the right choices moving forward. I also come out of the franchise side of QSR where much is laid out. Doing an indie is a little different. It will have its difficulties I’m sure, but nothing that I can’t overcome. Its one of the reasons, I’m so curious. I plan on getting my feet wet in a pizza joint, but I also have employees working for me now that have worked in pizza biz from drivers up to a former PJ manager. I’m not wanting to duplicate another’s QSR. Just build a really good place to get a pizza.
And the knowledge on this forum is quite impressive.

A wood/coal fired oven will produce the fastest bake…probably the most expensive and restrictive option as well…finished pie in 2 minutes or so…

Next might be a natural gas brick oven, like a Woodstone brand, perhaps with wood fire assist…

But…I believe &'have found, that a slower baked pizza may have better ‘flavor’ Han a quickly baked product…

My thoughts…

To add to Patriots… most quick bakes dont leave the restaurant! They fall apart quickly. Crust turns hard and center soggy. This is not what you are looking for in your 1000sqft setup. Not too mention with Woodstone or some other coal/wood oven…even if the code allowed it there… you oven cost with vent up 3 stories… you just hit that lucky 6-figure mark! I think Woodstone is one of the best ovens out there…but go price one out. Steve is on the right track here. Regardless of who you have to work for you getting into the pizza world is not the “get your feet wet” environment that you might think it is. At this stage of your plan what wing supplier to use or material for a prep table is nowhere near the top of the list that you need to be researching. It is really not on the list. You need a real business plan first and like what was said… don’t sign a lease until you have the bigger picture figured out. You might think that you can take any space and make it work for what you want but that is not true. Be careful!!! :!:

I wanted to edit my post after re-reading your posts again. I misread the comment about getting your feet wet. I now see, I think, that you plan on actually working in a pizzeria to get your feet wet in the industry. That would be a great step to take. Please dont take any comments we share with you as negative…we all want success to anyone that takes the leap into the business world. It is hard enough to succeed these days…so take the advice you get to heart and the best thing one can do around here is listen and be open to suggestions and direction. You might not like what you hear sometimes…but 99 out of 100 I would bet that the advice you get will save you money, time, and headaches.

I would not even think about ovens, employees, locations or costs at this stage. The product you will produce and sell is #1. Anyone can open a pizza place; hire managers and employees to run it. People do it all the time, and many close up shop. Just look at the auction houses liquidating used pizza equipment. Problem is people think it’s easy to make and sell pizza when the reverse is true. I’m sure many of the closures are due to lack of business plans and general lack of planning/knowledge, but also to a larger degree I suspect the product isn’t really all that good. With the multitude of pizza places everywhere, many using price as a core selling tool, pizza has become mundane and non original and many struggle to make a living. If you notice, pizza tastes pretty much the same from place to place; hence, everyone competes hard to get their share from the surrounding market. There are places too that are very busy and in my experience, those are the places that have better products.

What I would suggest as the #1 thing to do is learn pizza in order to develop formulations and recipes that are unique, original and that can distinguish your product from everyone else in that market. No need to consider where the place might be located or business plans – concentrate 100% on your product. Opening up a shop w/o fully developing your products ahead of time could lead to an unhappy experience for you. This can take a long time depending on your background and as one person suggested it’s good idea to work at a pizza place which will help you understand how to use equipment and the basics. You still need to develop your unique products and the primary way to get there is by researching, reading and experimentation.

After working at a pizza place for a while and learning (and you still want to do pizza), you can begin development on your pizza recipes/formulations. You can also procure commercial pizza equipment for 20% off list (because so many places close up) and if you have a garage, buy stuff a piece at a time or all at once and build your shop there. Buy a smaller mixer (20 or 30qt), sheeter, couple stainless tables, and an old school brick deck oven (older Blodgett 911 etc… for example); buy used pans, screens, and all sorts of stuff. You can build your shop for fewer than 10K easy. Use your “garage shop” for experimentation and leaning to develop the best pizza on the planet.

Then start looking for a location and develop the business plan.

BBH I agree with some but disagree with more of what you said. Yes you need to perfect your product and hands on experience is a plus…but pizza falls into 2 catagories these days. You can try to sell many at a very very low cost and profit margin or you can sell fewer at a higher price with a more acceptable margin. The location will dictate this a bit as will the type of pizza and menu you will offer. Every location is unique as is every city…or even block to block can be when it comes to pizza. If you have a space or general locations picked out…then building a plan from that angle is a good starting point. It would be a poor choice to purchase equipment for an operation that you do not first know what you want too offer and/or what space is actually available. Don’t get me wrong…if you find one heII of a deal on a piece of equipment that you 100% know will be needed…buy it! Otherwise…work on your plan. Get your menu figured out as far as what level of service and offerings you will have…and then work on the food preparation as you work on the rest of the business plan. You also need to build out the location to the level of service your business plan is based upon. Saying you can do your build out of a new start up for $10k…easy??? I can’t touch that one.

Bottom line is that pizza and all restaurant startups are hard work and very draining on the people that attempt to enter this world. The advice of being careful and to think through and make sure you completely research and plan your business is what everyone needs to listen too. Some get lucky and others fail…but the majority of the ones that do work out have a very solid business plan and when they stray as many if not most do…they revisit or adjust their plans to move forward.

Was the $10k referred to starting an actual pizza shop or for his “garage shop” for experimenting?

Making pizza is not rocket science.

Get your business plan together. Make sure the location, equipment and menu are in line with that plan. Make sure the plan makes sense with the assistance of good advisors. You can figure out the recipe when the time comes.

If you do not have the background to figure out the recipe, we are back to getting a job in another business to learn the ropes.

It’s far more important at this stage to learn as opposed to sizing up a place to open and building business plans – that doesn’t make sense to me. The equipment needed to learn can be purchased cheap and sold prior to procuring larger equipment for the business. He won’t be out a dime. The 10K mentioned is for the base equipment necessary to learn – he won’t need a conveyer or any higher end equipment.

You can have a great location – high visibility & high traffic count and if your pizza is standard or subpar you’re going to struggle or may go out of business. You can have a less than desirable location and a great product and people will come. Location isn’t everything in a delco. Some dumps make the list as some of the greatest pizza in the country and word of mouth is the best advertising. If the pizza is fantastic word will spread quickly. You don’t need a great location and certainly not 10’s of thousands for new equipment. Low overhead, used equipment, great pizza and you will make money. The product is #1 and time should be spent learning to make it the best there is.
BBH