Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 700.

We have a small meat and vegetable shop in a town of 700 and have been selling 12 inch bar pizzas and handmade subs as a little sideline. Neither has particualarly gone well and neither has really been advertised. This last week I met a lady who has a pizza place in the middle of nowhere in another State , and since I had managed pizza restaurants before we got talking and she showed me weekly sales of around $1800 real numbers, with 2 other small pizza shops within 3 miles. The total population with in 5 miles of her is around 350 and 10 miles maybe 1500. They deliver, and are open Thurs -Sunday. Her pizza was delicious, here building was a dump, and here prices were average. Was this a a fluke or if done properly could we expect to see this kind of sales with solid advertising and a great product in our small area. There really is no real competiton other than bars in town and bar/reastaurant that sideline pizza list on their menu. I’ve already been a millionaire,( and lost it),… this isn’t about money its about a small but profitable retirement business.

Re: Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 7

From the type of operation you’re describing, I’d go & take a close look at a nearby “Hot Stuff” pizza shop. Since you’re in the upper midwest, I’m betting there’s one within 30 - 40 miles of you. Whether you’d consider going with them or not, most of their shops are laid out to do 1500 - 4000 per week in a very limited space. This could help you figure out how to lay out your own operation. After that, there are a few things you need to consider:

Your dough: For a small scale place like you’re describing, I would definitely go with a pre-balled frozen dough. It does not have the quality, imo, of fresh made, but keeping fresh dough from going bad on $300 per day in sales would be awfully tough.

Your toppings: Once again, at your projected sales, you’ll likely want to go with precooked, frozen meats & shredded mozz. - don’t know what your meat shop’s product mix is; you could possibly mainly use those for your pizza.

Your oven: While I exclusively use deck ovens at my store, you probably would need a conveyor - most often, the person making the pizza will be doing other things around your store, and will not be able to closely watch (and likely will burn) a pizza baking in a deck oven. I only have experience with the Lincoln countertop conveyor, but they do a pretty fair job of baking from what I’ve seen.

Your supplier: In a small town, doing only $1800 per week, you’ll probably have to settle for 1 or 2 food deliveries a month. That’s why I suggested earlier that you go with mainly frozen products - anything else would seriously stretch their shelf life.

With all that said, you’ll most definitely need to have freezer space for everything - I don’t think an upright would be enough - count on needing about 150 - 200 cubic feet of freezer space, along with a proofing rack in your walk in for thawing and proofing doughballs.

Personally, I think you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak if you go ahead with it; there’s just too much risk associated with the investment, with too small a potential return … why not try this http://www.homeruninn.com/frozen/
If you’re anywhere near Chicago, it’s already a brand people will be very familiar with, it would be an extremely inexpensive add-on as well.

Good luck, whatever way you go!

Re: Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 7

If your market fits the national model,

700 people at 2.1 people per household (wild guess for example sake) makes for 333 +/- households
Average 17.85 per month per household yields $5944.05 monthly sales
That means about $1371 weekly average total (monthlyx12/52) pizza sales per month as a market potential.

Even given that this is a tiny market, and trends aren’t as reliable, I am thinking that looking for $1800 in that market could be a bit too much to hope for.

Re: Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 7

The description of the lady and her pizza shop sounds a lot like what I do minus delivery. I am open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in a town of about 450. I do between $1000 - $1200 a week in sales. I am lucky enough to have found a supplier who will deliver weekly with only $100 minimum, and will deliver for less for a measley $5 surcharge. With cheese prices where they are, I can’t imagine having an order under $100. I make my own dough and offer both thin crust and deep dish. I do this in a 600sf bldg. No dine in - carryout only. My pizzas are baked in a deck oven.

I think that it could definitely work, it has for me so far.

Re: Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 7

I vote yes,and then some

Re: Expanding to premium handmade Pizza in a small town of 7

:smiley: Thanks to all for the suggestions and comments… regarding supplies we are 15 -20 miles from all of the supplies and already get deliveries three different days of the week from the same suppliers that call on us for the meat we don’t raise ourselves and 3 other suppliers that drive right past our door. I mentioned $1800 a week gross mostly because that was the numbers the lady showed me for the past year, we really only need about another $500 monthly profit for enough to make our existing operation suitable as a sound retirement… I’m 52 and I intend to work until I can’t… we already do bake goods and have ample cooler and freezer space available so we will proabaly do what has been suggested too us by an x local pizza business owner… she sold it to the bar where it already was sharing space that I mentioned has a sideline pizza list on their menu. She made here own crust from scratch and then parbaked the crusts so that there was less waste and apparently very little if any taste difference. WE had been a customer and I sure couldn’t tell when she went from made that day to parbakes and stored. I’ll try to give some updates down the road. Thanks again for ther input. A safe and happy holiday season to you all/ Lawrence