Frozen Pizza

Anyone know and/or doing frozen pizzas for takeout? I am interested in selling as part as fundraisers and impulse buyers, especially for individual sizes. For example: cooking the pizzas fully and flash freezing them opposed to par baking them and letting the customer cook them off.

WCO6

How are you planning to have the customer “recon” the frozen pizzas?
Will these be fully topped/dressed pizzas?
Have you looked into “flash” freezers? Unless you are looking at a very high volume they will be very expensive, but if you search around you might be able to locate a cryogenic cabinet (roll-in) freezer at a fairly reasonable price.
You mention fund raiser pizzas, will these be sold out of your store?
These are some pretty important questions that will help me to better provide the assistance you are looking for.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I do a lot of fundraisers with frozen product and I sell frozen product at my pizzeria. If you are topping the fundraiser pizzas with meats, you will need Federal Inspections from the USDA. Although those inspections are free, the HACCP, SSOP, and SOP plans can be expensive to get written up. Following the plans is another concern as well. You can check to see if you would be exempt from inspections by packaging the toppings “on the side”.
As far as a freezer goes, we chill to 40 degrees F or less, in our cooler. Then we package the product and freeze it in a walk in freezer. As Tom said, flash freezers are expensive. They are also very small and can only do one pizza at a time (unless you have big $$$$$ and get a large one).
Fundraisers can be highly profitable and bring more customers to your pizzeria. Our business has grown from 750K three years ago (before fundraisers) to almost 2000K this year! If you have a great product that also bakes great at a persons home, you will do well with it. Make sure that you test your product in at least a dozen home ovens. That will help you with your baking instructions for your customers. One other tip: precooking any vegetable toppings are a must. When frozen, the uncooked veggies retain and cook off too much moisture during the finish bake.

Life is certainly a lot easier if you can sell your fund raisers out of your store, par-bake the crusts, sauce, cheese, (here’s a hot tip) use moisture controlled, IQF vegetable toppings (they look fresher than pre-cooked toppings and as they are moisture controlled, they do not weep as fresh vegetable toppings will as a result of slow/static freezing) If you want to see these vegetable toppings in application, just buy a Digiorno frozen pizza and look at the veggie toppings. ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, do not EVER put any meat topping on a frozen pizza that is not fully cooked, to do so is just begging for trouble sooner or later. Many meat suppliers can provide you with pre-packaged, pre-portioned, fully cooked meat toppings so all you need to do is to include the meat packets in the box with the pizza for the consumer to put on as they wish. In essentially all cases this eliminates the need for the USDA inspections and all the hassle involved. I’ve seen pizzerias in rural locations that have a frozen display chest close to the check with an assortment of their frozen pizzas (think impulse buy) for people to buy and take home with them. This is especially popular if you are in a farming community or other rural setting where it might be a 20-mile drive to your pizzeria. You bet! In the right setting, selling frozen pizzas from your store can do wonders for the bottom line. Just keep in mind that there is a reason why those supermarket pizzas are covered with a top panel or placed into a box. What is the reason you ask? It is because even short time exposure to UV light will cause those bright colors of the vegetable toppings, to begin fading in color. Yes, the meat toppings will fade in color too, the sausage seems to be the worst as it turns to a wonderful battleship gray in color. You have these options;

  1. Don’t allow the pizzas to be exposed to UV light
  2. Place the pizzas in a box for freezer storage
  3. Place a full cover panel over the top of the pizza
  4. Purchase a shrink wrap with a UV barrier built into it, this way you can let your customers see the pizza the way it was meant to be seen, without fear of UV damage. These UV barrier films are a bit more expensive, but look at it this way, if you are not boxing the pizza the barrier film will be replacing the box and I’m betting that the cost of the barrier film will be less than the cost of a box.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor