Frozen Premade Pizza Dough vs Fresh - cost difference?

Hi there,

Ok I used to own a italian take out restaurant years ago, I worked the front more… Our menu was more sautee, subs, salads & we had pizza - but our dough was from a restaurant food distributor like sysco and it was a product that was sheets of flat frozen pizza dough. Basically you thawed it in the cooler and placed it on a cookie sheet added toppings. To be honest the pizza was awesome! You couldnt tell.

Well Im getting back into it opening a new place. I wanted to have Pizza, but its not 100% a pizza shop.

Having probably 3 guys in the back and not being a real expierenced chef/cook. I dont was to kill me & the other 2 guys doing a ton of prep!(starting out) Because Im going to have to be prepping sauce, chicken for major entree dishes…

I wanted to ask the cost factor! With making your own Pizza Dough compared to these Frozen Restaurant Pizza Dough. How much do you save just making it, what usually does a pizza cost you when your making the dough, etc…

The guy I had the other restaurant too wasnt a huge prep guy, he got cut lettuce in bags… is that a total waste of money? Is there a big cost difference from getting the lettuce already cut in bags then cutting it ourselves.

Is this a total waste of money or do you see the savings in taking the time to just make your own dough & cutting your own lettuce for the gourmet salads?

Whats basically the price diference/savings - off hand “about”.

If you are using frozen dough and your competitors find out, they can use it against you…So in my mind, cost should not be the issue…Sometimes spending more for better ingredients will allow you to carry more to the bottom line…

I can tell you that there is a notable cost increase in using frozen dough balls . . . even worse with sheeted dough. Frozen 23oz balls can run you around 1.25 each, while the fresh made dough will be closer to .65 or .70. Over 100 pizzas, that starts getting real . . . over 1000 it is even bigger. It is a couple percentage points on your COG, which is meaningfull if you aren’t really lean elsewhere. Sheeted 24oz dough approaches 2.00 each!!

Prepped lettuce I found economical at my relatively low volume due to 100% usable product and no prep costs and consistent product.

Pre-cut vegetables are a money pit. Get a good manual veggie cutter and get whole onions, peppers, carrots, muchrooms, etc. 20 minutes you can move through 15# of onions identically sliced.

Our food cost on a doughball for a 14" pizza runs about 30 cents. Labor, when we pay piece rate to a dough maker runs about 15 cent each. (Regular day crew makes about half the dough when we are busy and all the dough in the off season). All in all, I figure making my own dough costs about 40% of buying Rich’s dough balls. The difference for me would be about $20,000-$30,000 per year… AND our dough is better.

I agree with Nick on the veggies. We use washed and prepped greens and cut our own onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes etc.

Thanks so much guys!! I love the detail, it helps allot…:slight_smile: The break down makes sense.

Thanks again!

My dough costs me about $.01/oz to make and 1.25 hrs. labor to prep a 25lb. bag of flour.

Indie, what is taking so long? One dough maker in our shop can do three 25Lb (flour weight) batches per hour. We have had guys that can do 4 per hour when setting up to do 8-12 batches in 2-3 hours. That includes setting up, measure and mix, cut, roll, stack and clean up.

I should mention that we pay piece rate not hourly to make dough. $6 per batch… so they are motivated to be fast.


Do you have extremely low water pressure? If it is taking an hour to fill the water bucket, I’d look into maybe installing a hand-pump well or buying bottled water.

RG you get a dat-a-boy! I think that was sarcasm there!!! Oh what the heck… I am in a giving mood this morning…here comes another… DAT-A-BOY! :stuck_out_tongue:

We have a very different process than the average store. We portion our dough and then make it all on racks because we have a braided crust. So, when the order comes in, we always have the skin ready to dock and top.

1.25 hours is on the high end, basically new people. I can do a batch in about 35 minutes.

i am also looking to open a pizza and pub in my small town… we only have pizza hut and caseys pizza here… i want to make our dough but wonder where to find the very best recipes. i want to do different kinds of pizza…lamb…shrimp… etc along with the norm… with hot wings… any good suggestions survival guideUPDATE1.pdf

you can check these out Tmmay

Making your own dough really isn’t all that difficult, and it can be dough at the end of the day if you find that to be more convenient. Point is that you can make the dough and get it balled and into the dough boxes pretty quickly, you don’t need to do all of it at the same time so you can do it during the slower hours of the day if necessary. As for cost, expect frozen dough balls to cost 100 to 125% more than it costs to produce it yourself. Right now the cost of the dough is going to run you between 18 and 25-cents per pound. I don’t look at the labor as an added expense since I already have the people working in the store, it’s just something else for them to do.
You will need to consider the one time cost of dunnage racks for storing the flour bags on as well as the cost of the dough boxes unless you opt to bag your dough either individually or on 18 x 26 sheet pans with a large bag covering the entire pan of dough balls. You will also need to have a vertical wheeled rack with about a 5" shelf spacing to inventory the dough in while in your cooler. This is assuming you already have a dough mixer of at least 60-quart capacity.
Any of us here can help you get started making your own dough.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I would caution you to be very careful in your consideration. I opened with a korean beef and kimchi pizza, a cuban sandwich pizza, and a tika masala pizza. They are all gone. Lots of time to prep, low selling, and lower margin killed most of that specialty stuff for me. Maybe if your town is younger college kids or young families but even then maybe have one really good thing, educate your guests, and move forward slowly. Wish I could have that time chopping cabbage for kimchi back. (still have that bottle of fish sauce)
You have to take your ego out of it. You aren’t cooking for you and your friends, you are cooking to make a profit. Didn’t mean to derail thread but felt this needed addressing. pm me if you would like to discuss further.

We used Rich’s frozen doughballs the first year we were open. You pretty much need all the same stuff if you use frozen. You need the trays to let the dough thaw and proof up and instead of racks for bags of flour you need extra freezer space for the boxes of dough. The big difference is the machine. At least in our store, that machine gets paid for by the savings every few months.

There is pizza joint over in the next county that has great reviews, been a fixture in the community for decades and either wins or gets mentioned as best pizza in all of the “Best of” lists done by the newspapers. My wife went there last fall and noticed the crust was not spectacular in our opinion, then I noticed the rings stamped into the bottom. They were using preformed frozen crusts. Makes me wonder why we try so hard.

Geez- why does it have to be bought frozen? I buy fresh dough its .05 an ounce.
I live in a tiny city in NH, and there are 2 fresh dough providers here. I order dough for Mon Weds and Fri.
They have it in my walkin cooler before I get there in the a.m. They deliver it in their own dough boxes, and take the empties back with them, I scrape them. They wash them.
This morning I recieved 30 trays of large, (180 pizzas) and 15 trays of small, (120pizzas) the dough I got today will be prime for me to use on fri-sat. If I needed dough to ready that day Id simply ask for whatever I needed ‘ready-made’

Because most places do not have this option. We certainly don’t. On the other hand if people are willing to pay 2-3X what it costs to make dough including labor maybe I will stop bothering with pizza and just go in the dough business!

Yeah maybe you should

Is it a local baker that does it or someone that specializes just in dough? I think if I had a large format divider/rounder and purchased flour by the pallet I could get the cost down to less than 1.5 cents per ounce including labor. At that cost it would be a nice business if one could round up enough customers at 5 cents.

Even with our hand rolling and using honey our cost with labor is about 2.2 cents. Without labor (most of the time since we make dough when we are slower in the afternoon and have the staff anyway our cost is about 1.5 cents.

The cost difference between what I pay to make dough and the 5 cents a pound you quote would be more than $40 for every bag of flour I use… Using our doughball weights the difference would over $200 on that one order alone.

In our shop that would be 10 batches based on 25lbs. One dough maker would take about 4 hours at a steady pace to produce that but a fast dough maker could do it in under 3 hours. (Which is why we pay piece rate if dough is being made off shift). In the afternoon, two crew members without interruptions could knock that out in less than 2 hours. One person scales and rolls. The other mixes and rolls.