Is now a good time to buy a pizzeria?

I know the answer is going to be general yes from the community here if it can work and I dedicate myself to it. My heart really wants to, I worked in a pizza shop for a couple of years in college, got married and told my wife one day I would own my own. For the past two years I have been doing my own pizza at home entertaining family and friends and of course they say its great pizza…

There is local pizzeria in a small town for sale. It has been in this town for 15+ years. The population is about 2000 with a small community college nearby. Average income is $50k. Its the only shop within 5 miles of the town.

Owner is selling for 125k, says its profitable, but is tired of it after 22 years of being in the pizza biz. He also says he is willing to stay on for a couple of months to help with the transition.

Would you consider purchasing the shop?

Now is as good a time as any. Not enough info to know but the fact that the owner is willing to hang around and help is a good indicator that whatever he is telling you (which you haven’t shared with us) has some truth in it. Most people who are selling you a pack of lies would not want to hang around.

Not at the asking price…There is lots of surplus equipment out there…I would scout out a new location and start from scratch or at least give the seller the impression that is what you are doing…When he becomes aware of your intentions, he may be more realistic in his asking price…Plus a new landlord might be more willing to sign a long term lease at a lower price because of the “perception” the economy is in the dumps…Starbucks made millions by growing during a previous recession because they were able to get lots of low price leases when landlords became desperate…

Forgot to mention all equipment comes with the place including recipes. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.

I don’t have any financials at this time, but he said he would allow the new owner keep the name for 6 months as to not disrupt the current customers.

He’s selling “goodwill”. That’s the name and location. Well, if he’s taking away the name after 6 months, you’ve WAY overpaid for goodwill. I wouldn’t BUY a $50k job for $125k to begin with, but what he’s asking is just plain nuts.

With all due respect to some of the responders to this post, if you think you can open a pizza shop FROM SCRATCH for pennies & net 50K in the first year–you have no business commenting on this gentleman’s post. Better yet, go do it.

Get us some more numbers, like gross sales the past 5 years, labor $ & food cost $. Let us know what hours the current owner is working & if he is paying himself for those hours. Also is the 50K in net profit above some kind of salary/hourly for the present owner or just the 50K. This deal could work, but not at 125K & why does he want his name back in 6 months?

Sorry the 50k is the average income of the population. It has nothing to do with the pizzeria.

How about some store numbers?

The owner would like to discuss those in person. I do not have any yet.

Make sure you don’t just “discuss” them. Get the full financials, income tax filings and sales tax filings. Nobody every artificially inflates their sales tax filings.

Like pizzamaker said, find out how much time he’s working there too. If he considers “profitable” to be drawing a salary and being there 70 hours per week the store is probably overpriced.


The market is saturated and the economy is rough. If you care to go beyond those two factors, offer the seller 5K REFUNDABLE based on the numbers she/he presented and what you observed, documented, etc. during the eight weeks you worked there…side by side.


I don’t think the $50k number is what the store is making. In the context of the paragraph he is talking about the avg income of the surrounding population. That’s how I interpreted it anyway.

What stood out to me was a 2k population count. With that, everyone in town better be eating there.

Late to the party again. I play in a 2600 population playground here in small west Georgia town. We have no college, no apartments and very little visible commercial interests going on besides us. No grocery store and no bank. Nearest town larger than us is 18 miles, the county seat.

It is a hard row to hoe in micro-markets like the one you describe. Even affluent people have a limit to how much pizza they will eat in a week. We need lots more information about the place to know if it is a worthy investment. Would you be willing to send a private message with the town name, or zip code? I’d like to look at the demographics of the town and county, and businesses in the area. You can indeed start a shop for far less . . . and recipes can be had nearly anywhere. Others have given good question to inquire into. Without the actual, documentable business numbers to compare to the actual marketplace, it is a complete guessing game whether it is worth your investment.

We have worked our gross annual sales up to almost $200K in 4 years (including a 7-month layoff to relocate). We bought for $28,500 and got a store running MAYBE $105K sales and lousy reputation for mediocrity. It has taken that long to overcome lots of community reputation and get people to come into town from outlying areas. We are currently in a growth swing over last 5 months. Good momentum.

Wife and I both had full time jobs in Atlanta to survive the 1st two years. We gradually shed both jobs to adopt abject poverty to devote my full time to the shop. I work about 60 hours for $300 a week. most of that time is at the Chamber of Commerce, Government Committees, networking with other businesses, developing new products . . . then work every shift at the shop. It is a love affair that may change soon if I can find someone to lead shifts in the kitchen.

With all do respect once again, it is possible to net 100k in your first year…it takes hard work, dedication, and of course good food…is it a great time to open…NO!!..prices are going up and profits are going down…that doesnt mean you can’t do it…We started a place from the ground up in a town with 6 pizza places…we are the 7th…in this terrible economy we are hlolding our own…don’t go by finanancials sit in his dining room for a month…and ask to see the register tape every night when your done…income tax doesnt mean ish to most indys\

Hi Alimies:

Just an observation:

I think that if you opened a shop in that town the owner of the place you are discussing would no doubt eventually sell and then there would be two shops in a spot that sounds like it will only support one.
George G Mills

That’s an excellent point George.

Pakula, I did 670K in year one & did not have nets of 50K. I did draw a nice salary, but worked 90-100hrs per wk to get those numbers in year one & have a fair amount of restaurant experience. Too often the advice given here is “don’t buy that shop that is doing 4k per week for 85,000…why, you can buy some used equipment real cheap & throw together a shop for half that…or less” Well, my advice is unless you have done a few build-outs & really know what your getting into don’t open from scratch, because it will cost you 2-3x that.

If your building a serious DELCO & your looking to compete in the 10K-15k-20K market, be ready to spend several $100s of thousands of dollars. Now, if you don’t mind burning money for a few years, working two jobs, etc…etc… focusing on the long run…remember this: “in the long run, we are all dead”. Just my opinion.

Sorry, meant to say did not have nets of 100k

my answer…no dont do it