?_Lehmann: making my own dough

hello tom,
my name is Phil Hutsler and i have been working in the pizza industry for 7 years for PaPa Johns Pizza. i love throwing dough and would like to make a dough my self that is similar to PaPa Johns for my own pizza place when i open it. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. i would like to do a variety of crusts, like whole wheat and rye.

thank you for your time

First, you must tell us what you like about PJ’s dough. If all you’re going to do is try to duplicate everything they do, call Schnatter and ask about a franchise. I don’t think you could open up next door to PJs offering the same product for the same price and stay open a week. They have a marketing machine, you don’t.

So, let’s assume you really want to COMPETE with them. You need a crust, a sauce, cheese, and toppings. Obviously, you’re at the crust stage, but WHAT about PJ’s crust is it that you like? The raised edge is a function of “slapping” vs sheeting. Slapping a dough means you have to have a softer dough. However, the toughness of the dough is one of the many things that changes the finished product. Cracker-style crusts come from a thicker dough. You’ll have a hard time slapping it out.

Part of what makes PJ’s dough work is how it is held in the store. Tom has a lot of info in the recipe bank. One of those topics is dough management. You’re going to have to use the dough ball, rise, warm up process in order to have a slappable dough. Trying to slap green dough ain’t gonna work.

However, my biggest concern is that you’re trying to duplicate a product that you’re trying to compete with. When you’re offering the same product, price becomes the biggest factor. I promise you that Schnatter has deeper pockets than you do and can undersell you. You have to come up with a product that is better or faster or cheaper or something. While you talk about mixing up the crust to add wheat and rye, the traditional white crust will be your top seller.

I’ll give you a little background first then proceed w/ my question.I own a small little plaza on an Island in WNY.There is a pizzeria there that I am not renewing his lease.I tried to buy him out,he hymed and hawed for a week and we haven’t spoken since.I did not renew as he is always late on the rent,and in general was always pretty cocky towards me and acted as if he is a god or something in and out of the pizzeria.His income is approx 450,000 a yr and he rarely steps foot in the place.The place is absolutely filthy and last time he had 2 full pages of violations at inspection time,yet still does that kind of business.Town has about 20,000 ppl and 5 pizzerias(1 pizza hut).
My goal was to get in there keep a recipe similar to his and just clean the place up ALOT.Heres where a kind of prob. arises.I think he may be opening another store up on the Island,but as of right now there are no places set up for a restaurant/pizzeria.99% take out/delivery.

  1. I used to have a pizzeria when I was 22,Great product but I was way too immature.Should I bring this recipe back to life?I was planning on doing that on the side w/ the recipe similar to his.If he does open another place up tho,should I just start from scratch w/ my old recipes?What if nobody really cares for it?Should I do both even w/ him open?.I figure alot of the business will be from ppl driving by(main drag) and still just thinking it’s his.I will advertise/get the word out when I do open it.
    Any help is greatly appreciated and I will be adding more on here as well.
    Thanks again