Minimum viable product - pizza shop

I’m wondering what the minimum viable pizza shop includes: oven, ttp60, two door refer for dough and drinks, plates, silverware, linen service, mixer, seating, cork fee?

I’m thinking of minimal places like Una Pizza Napoletana in SF -

Whats your list? Whats your cost?

Is it possible to open shop for less than $50k even $30k?

Our experience is that the return on a shop is generally influenced by the investment made in the shop.

The highest cost shops produce the greatest returns.

George Mills

I think that has to be tempered to your market as well. I could spend $100K and buy the very best equipment around, but in a small town like we are in, there are only so many dollars to go around.

I would suggest buy the best you can, but don’t overbuy for your market.

Are you wanting a wood-fired oven set up like in Una Pizza Napoletana or are you willing to start with a used two-deck Blodgett pizza oven? Is used okay for the mixer, refrigeration and other kitchen wares?

Will a cobbled together mix of mismatched tables and chairs do? What about the plates and silverware - all new and uniform or a few different sets from auctions?

How do you plan to decorate the dining room?

Do you have experience running a restaurant?

10 years ago we got started in DEL-CO for about $40K start-up. We purchased a shop that had run for 1.5 years with all new equipment (except mixer was old) and then closed up. $30K to buy the equipment out from a leasing company that had been left holding the bag for 8 months when orig owner walked, another $10K to replace small wares, get some inventory in, hire people and print and distribute menus. We were lucky and came across the right situation at the right time.

For the dollars you mention you will have to find something similar, and either know what you are doing or have a very skilled mentor willing to take the time to make sure you learn. Every mistake eats dollars, things going wrong on their own eats dollars. We had a reserve available if needed, if you don’t have a reserve a few mistakes and problems could be fatal to your business.


If we’d followed my original concept of a simple delco no frills pizza joint I would have been in for something in this range;

8ft pizza table $800 Ebay
OLD Hobart 60Qt mixer
OLD Hobart deli slicer
tons of pizza pans & trays (all the above for $2500)
18 new pizza proofing trays $275
misc. smalls like spoodles etc. $50
one used upright freezer $100
one used upright fridge $50

that would have got my door open had we went that direction…I source used gear for over 2 years and stashed it in my garage in hopes of getting my place started. When our whole concept turned upside down, the dream grew…but with it, the necessary budget as well.

The obvious answer is one only you can come up with. If you’re planning a place, by now you surely have an idea of your equipment needs. A quick trip on Craigslist or Ebay should get you pretty close to a capital price. After that, take my advice and add in another 100% to cover all those little things you never ever even dreamed of, plus your opening inventory, payroll, licenses, insurances etc. Then, you might be about 25% from what your actual start up costs will be.

Wow, where would you find a used commercial freezer for $100 and fridge for $50? Maybe a residential, but I would find it hard to believe a commercial model that you wouldn’t be having to work on all the time…and that time is money.

Our local health department will not allow use of non-commercial models that do not have quick reclaim times for cooling, except in the case of coolers for things like 2 liters or 20oz sodas.

Thanks for all the insight thus far. Definitely going to scale toward my location. Store fronts around here are relatively cheap. Also the city I’m in is offering loans and grants for renovation and fixtures, which I have full intent on taking advantage of. That would increase my budget by $45k.

Yes, this is really good advice

Wood burning likely jumping on the Stefano Ferarra bandwagon. This would likely be the only new purchase/ splurge

Used all around, mixed and matched is just fine. Also considering building the furniture myself.

Quite minimally at first, with money focused on a few key elements.

Nope, and yes, I understand this will cost me. I have worked in restaurants, just have never run them.

Yeah, I’ve run a couple businesses in the past and understand the value of great mentors and the cost of novice. I’ve got myself, quite luckily, a really really good mentor and I’m doing as much homework as I can to lessen his education burden.

Those are good points, I’ve been told to expect to pay at least double my estimated need for start-up. I’m interested in hearing more about your original concept and how that compares to what you eventually did.

I’ve been trolling ebay and craigslist and I’ve found some decent pieces of equipment but haven’t purchased anything yet.

Seems like leasing equipment might bring the cost down initially.

Ah but note no where did I claim I’d purchased commercial! One of the many benefits of living in small town, in a small county with a small Health Department! Also please realize these were the items that we WERE going to start up with…to answer the OP’s question on how far we veered from our original plan…

My original plan was to open up a simple delco counter, no dine in, and operate it a few hours a night after I closed my other business interest. It was to provide me something of a hobby while I kept the paycheck and insurance from my “real job”. In that over 2 year period of scheming and dreaming and picking up equipment when I found it we were also looking at nearly every little store front that opened up to see if it would fit what I had in mind. None did.

There was also a 100 seat “sports bar” that was sitting empty nearly this entire time. It had had a successful 20+ year run with the original owners, but the young (an unprepared) couple they sold it to shut it down around 8 months from their opening. That’s how I went from a part-time hobby…to owning a growing casual dining “family Pub”. I’ll tell you in another 20 years if it was a good decision.

By the way…that freezer is a Kenmore, and is still in operation. The upright fridge was a GE, it made it as a produce refer for the first 14 months and retired. My make table is still going strong, the oven cost me a new blower motor last month and that old mixer is too old to die I think. So, all in all, I’m still ahead in the equipment purchases. I picked up a 48" salad table for $400 on Ebay, I’ve put a new unit in it about 6 months ago so for all practical purposes I’ve still only got $600 in it.

If you’re lucky and if you keep your eyes open there are deals to be had out there…and sometimes they turn out to be good ones!