Mobile Pizza Biz Tips & Advice

Hi All

I am on the verge of setting up my Own Pizza Business. Still finalizing oven options.
I’ll most probably be at a daily farmers market.

Since there wont be any electricity provided I will be using a Wood Fired Pizza Oven.

So I guess you can say it would be a Mobile Pizza Business.

I am currently doing a check list to see what equipment I would require and I need some assistance
Can you advise me on the equipment needed to run such a business, for E.g Pizza Peel, Cutter, Roller and so on.

My second question is since there won’t be any electricity, how would you suggest I store my doughs.
I am still contemplating on using either Pappa Johns Style dough or NY Style Dough

Thirdly is my ingredients. How should I store it keeping in mind accessibility when preparing the pizza’s. Also anyone has any pics of ingredient storage containers preferably metal. I would like to see the design and find one similar to it. Also while I am on the ingredients, my main concern is the cheese. I need to keep it from melting out in its storage container.

My fourth point is regarding the preparation of the pizza. If I get a busy rush coming in, and say I have 2 Pizza’s in the oven, the max the oven can hold, and 2 topped and waiting as well as busy preparing a further 2. The pizza’s waiting as well as the ones being prepared would probably be sitting on the table or whatever surface, anywhere from 3-10 minutes before placing it in the oven. My worry is the dough must not stick to the surface/table. What do I need to look out for to avoid such disasters

Also if you have any other tips for me that I may have not discussed, please feel free to let me know.
I look forward to any advice.

Regards
Oven_Man

We don’t sell these so I can’t attest to their quality but a friend told me about them and they look like they might suit your needs. It’s a mobile brick oven that comes in two different models or a custom fab option. Check them out if interested: http://portablebrickpizzaoven.com/

Hi Oven Man:

I think you would be better equipped if you used a propane fired oven.

You will probably need to use a generator to create electricity as you will no doubt need refrigeration. You will need some type of water service as you will need a sink.

I think you best discuss your plan with your local health department before you go to far. There will be many requirements to qualify for the health department license that will be required to operate your venture

George Mills

Adding to George’s valuable comments, if you choose to get a generator, understand that to get a setup that is approved by the DOT can be quite pricey. Probably worth it so that you could have proper refrigeration but just something to consider. Your state DOT is going to be a valuable resource in addition to the health departments when starting a mobile concession business.
Hope this helps.
:slight_smile:

I don’t mean 2 rain on your parade, as we all have dreams & schemes, but without refridgeration, you will not get a license or permit, I believe, in any state - the risk you run is great!

You really need 2 rethink all your options & fully develop your plan/dream

Patriot’s Pizza makes a good point. You will need commercial refrigeration and an approved oven to get a license. Pizza prep tables come with self-contained refrigeration and can work in a mobile setting if installed properly.

Hi all
I really appreciate everyone’s comments.

Before I begin, I would like to inform you guys that I am based in South Africa.
I notice that everyone’s concern is the Health Department Bugging me. I can safely say that there are many traders here in South Africa who have mobile stations selling all sorts of food items, some even freshly prepared on site and no problems with any departments.

I found one common denominator in most of your replies. REFRIGERATION.
I understand how important it is since it would hold my dough and most of my ingredients. However I would like to improvise on the refrigeration concept and use a large cooler box filled with ice that would hold my dough and some ingredients. Right now everyone is probably shouting “DON’T BE PENNY WISE POUND FOOLISH”. When I decided to start this venture, I decided to go small with the intention to grow. I am investing most of my Life Savings into this business and it’s just enough to buy me all of the Necessary Equipment. If I do decide to purchase proper mobile refrigeration and the more sophisticated prep table that is also refrigerated, it would require me to loan the money. If the business does not do as well as I am planning for it to do, this would mean all of my life savings down the drain as well as a huge debt on my shoulder. If I don’t loan the money and still the business does not do well, again my life savings down the drain but the only person I would owe money to is myself. That I can handle.

On the other hand, I would love to invest in all the commercially sophisticated available equipment. That is what make a business very very successful in my opinion. My business plan is simple. Start of with the mere basics to get me going. Get a name for myself. Produce a quality pizza that people will rant and rave about. Once I have a loyal customer base, I would then slowly invest in more equipment. That again reiterates my view above on the fact that it’s my money that I would like to invest and not other peoples money who I would be owing to if things go sour. I am sure most of you know what its like to be pestered by peopled that borrow you money.

I am looking at the propane oven. I think that is a good idea.

The above plan was inspired upon me by a friend. He has a bakery and started of with a single home oven and home dough mixer. Now he has all of the sophisticated commercially available equipment including 6 ovens and 4 Dough Mixers. That’s the route I plan to take.

What other equipment would I need, especially the small things like Pizza Cutter, Pans, Dough Dockers, etc.

I really look forward to everyones comments.
It helps a lot to hear views from different people.

Regards
Oven_Man

well, then…if you have a “friend”, then I would work a deal where he/you would produce a par-baked crust that will travel well for your operation…

Using ice is a poor substitute, but…

Many may dismiss the idea of a par-baked crust, but I made a decent living once upon a time using them for my wholesale biz…thru dough design, I don’t believe you could really tell the difference (all things considered…)

Don’t confuse a fresh par-baked shell with those from the grocer’s freezer…

Patriot’sPizza: I like where you taking this. I was really considering par baked crust, in fact my wife made the suggestion but I brushed her of with the fear that there would be a noticeable difference between Freshly Rolled Dough and Par Baked (Most probably a few hours old) dough.

Now that you the second person that mentioned it, I am starting to think of it as an option. My major concern is taste wise. Would the consumer know the difference between the 2. Also what style dough would you suggest I make that Par Bakes well and also is an American Style Pizza.

Here in SA we have a lot of pizzerias, but unfortunately none keep a standard. We have many franchises, but each tastes differently. So I am trying to create something that attains the highest quality. Also affordability is important.

Really looking forward to your comments.

Regards
Oven_Man

I apologize for assuming you were in America and giving advice based on that assumption. My mistake. :oops:

I don’t see any solution for a fresh dough w/o refridgeration…

There are “tricks” to make a par-baked shell taste as good as a fresh skin…

Both thin crust or thick crusts are an option…

You’ll need to decide & do more research, I believe…

Hi Guys

jstarr2: No problem. I should have mentioned it in the first post.

Patriot’sPizza: I am going to try out a few par baked crust to see how it fairs against a fresh dough. Thin base works for me for now. Thick base would be an option in the future. Can’t you share some tricks on how to make a par baked taste good.

Maybe the DOUGH DOCTOR could give some in site into a par baked crust and the good/bad of using par baked crust especially on a Wood Fired Oven.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys
Regards
Oven_man

I do not think you need refrigeration for the dough necessarily, but what about for the toppings?

You can use very little yeast and let it rise at room temperature. I would use an amount of yeast that is going to take you through the day . This means like a 24 hour fermentation so that the dough will be good from 16-24 hours.

This is something like 2-3 G yeast for 50# of flour. I am not sure about getting that amount of yeast distributed through 50# of flour though. May need to mix dry on a wire whisk first… if that would even work?

Hi pjcampbell
Thanks for your response.

That sounds like a good way to go but my concern is that I will be selling my pizza’s outdoors.
Will that be a problem as temp vary outdoors compared to indoors.
Also I am sure there are many variable factors outdoors compared to indoors that could affect the final outcome of the pizza. Maybe you or others here can enlighten me on this.

Thanks

Regards
Oven_Man

You are right there. Without a constant temperature, you will really not be able to pin point fermentation times.

Hi Guys
I trust everyone here is well.

I guess everyone thought I ditched the idea of starting a mobile pizza biz as it’s been a while since I’ve last posted here but I assure you, the vigor in me to start one is more rife than ever. I have been reading up and familiarizing myself more with the concept of the Pizza Business in the last few months.

Since last posting here, I began exploring different options for refrigeration but apart from that, the other concern was also my oven. I am in the final stages of having my oven built. Yes, I am going with a WFO as I found it to be most fees-able for me at this point in time.
As for refrigeration, I haven’t found any alternatives. I thought of using a cooler box filled with ICE and placing my doughs in plastic packets but it just doesn’t seem right and makes no sense to go that route. Well I am now exploring 2 options and the base factor on the option I choose from the 2 is cost. I am exploring a ±100lt fridge that will connect to a generator or a portable fridge (not too sure on the size) that connects 12V DC. Which ever cost cheaper overall (Both initial cost and running cost).

As I sit here typing out this message, a lot of unanswered questions flow through my head and I will try to include as much of them as possible. The reason being I want to make full proof that I have covered this business venture from every angle. I would hate for it to collapse after just a few months because I forgot to include some crucial point in my plan.

  1. The first thing I require is a business plan. Now I know there is a lot of plans out there but I haven’t found any free plans that is in a template format whereby I can just input my number and obviously change it according to my requirements.

  2. Equipment. Apart from the Oven and Fridge, what other equipment (e.g Pizza Spades, Cutters, Boxes etc) would I require to start of my Mobile Pizza Biz. I would like to build up a list from A-Z including everything right up to pizza boxes.

  3. Costing - How do I cost my pizza’s taking into consideration everything from ingredients to labor.

  4. I’m still undecided on oven size. Too big and it becomes a problem to move around. Too small and your capacity is limited. The question I should ask is how many Pizza’s will I be able to bake at once. I was told that I would probably only bake 1 at a time as it takes more time to stretch the pies than to bake them. What opinions do you’ll on this?

  5. Other logistical details. Apart from visiting my health department and obtaining the various licenses to start trading, what other details from an admin point of view do I need to take care of.

That is all I can think of for now.
If there’s any other opinions or answers to questions I haven’t asked, please feel free to mention them.

Thanks and looking forward to everyone’s comments
Regards
Oven_Man

For a mobile pizza biz I would think “Keep It Simple”. Offer four pizza’s. Cheese, Pepperoni, Meat lover, and Veggie lover. You should be able to prepair 5 to 8 pies in the time it takes to bake 1. Most of us price our pizza at a price that has 25% food cost. If it cost $2 for the ingredients then charge $8 for the pizza.

Hi
Thanks so much for the reply

You should be able to prepair 5 to 8 pies in the time it takes to bake 1.

Do you mean I would be able to hand stretch and top 5 Pizza’s at the least while having 1 in the oven?
My pizza’s should be baked in 2 minutes at the most. Having stretched and topped 5 pizza’s in that time would mean having a team of 5 people each “Hand Streching and Topping” 5 pizza’s in 2 minutes.
Is that possible and cost effective taking into consideration the labor required?

Thanks