One pizza maker shop volume?

Most of the shops I am familiar with here in NJ are 1 pizza maker, double gas deck oven shops and this is also the sort of setup I’d be looking at.

Does a reasonable assessment sound like roughly 40 large pizzas per hour (I am going not by oven capacity here, but on 1.5 minutes to prepare each pizza to go in the oven)? Then a good Friday night might be 120 pies with 3 very busy hours?

Sure, if they don’t have to tend the ovens, answer the phone, get anything from the walk-in or make anything with more than one topping let alone other items like calzones etc.

Just because you can make a pizza in 1.5 minutes or ten pizzas in 15 minutes, it does not follow that one guy can make 120 pies in three hours.

Is 30/hour more realistic? I am not talking about super man here. I am trying to make a real life assessment on volume capacity.

The pizza maker would also tend to the ovens (rotate and remove and place on tray or in box but not cut) but not answer phones or have to get anything (there would be help for this) Just making pizzas.

On Friday there is no way my pizza guy could pull and cut himself. I’m on the border or ny/nj so I know the kind of shop your thinking, other things come into acount like: how many times are you spinning a pie in your bakers pride, and when the oven starts overworking now your cook time is 30% longer

even with 2 ovens with only one guy making pizzas your probably not even gonna use the bottom oven by the time you have one pizza out you will just keep refilling it. your never gonna have 8-12 pizzas in the ovens at once. I would say one guy can produce 25-30 pies…a hour And thats if you dont have any roll, calzone, sicillians… you have to take into account your gonna have to refill sauce, cheese, topping etc…

When I look at staff levels in the store I expect 15-20 items per hour per member of staff. That’s for everything from answering phones thru to cutting and boxing. So 30 pies in an hour would need just 2 people in store. As you get more people in the ratio rises towards and can then exceed the 20 items per hour as people can focus on just one task.

Obviously a very experienced person can do more.


About the oven. I am looking into a much thicker deck to reduce the temperature loss. It will take longer to pre-heat but hold the temperature longer.

I am working backwards here, and trying to figure, for example if I need to do 1000 pizzas a month to be doing ok, and we can do 720 of those on Fri/Sat nights alone, then this is probably within an acceptable range for the rest of sales to happen during the rest of the week. Can anyone comment on that?

Maybe a better question for other owner/operators is, what percentage of your sales happens during Friday/Saturday night?

Hi PJ:

With the declining selling price of pizza I thing it will soon be impossible to be successful in that type of operation.

WE now rarely equip a pizza shop with less than 200 pies per hour maximum production capacity, many are at 300 per hour.

George Mills

“With the declining selling price of pizza…” Wow, I knew most of you guys were from the East Coast, but it turns out your not even living in my Universe!! (Oregon, BTW)

Well, my concept is a bit different than a typical pizzeria, both in product and marketing wise. We also live in a very wealthy area that will pay for a superior product. We do still have guys doing $5/pizzas but that is not my thing.

These numbers make me feel better. So often I hear about places that make 100 pizzas an hour (or some other huge number) with one or two people and I always wonder “how”? My two makers make anywhere from 24 to 36 pizzas per hour each, depending on table business. They each get one full time assistant to refill toppings, etc. They don’t stretch the dough, or tend the ovens. It seems like I have too many people working but my labor always comes in around 28%. To answer the other question, one of my stores does about 50% of its volume on friday/saturday; the other does around 75% (which sucks).

For 4o pies per hour, we would have three cooks. They will handle the ovens too. You have to remember that along with 40 pies comes maybe 10 salads, 10-15 hot apps and a couple of calzones/stromboli etc… so a 40 pie hour is not just 40 pizzas coming out of the kitchen.

At 100 pies, we have four cooks but we add an oven-tender and “floater” so we have 6 in the kitchen. Again, there would be maybe 20-25 salads, 40-40 hot apps add misc 'zones and deep dish etc

Hi guys: that sure sounds like a herd of help. I don’t think Our clients have that much help for that level of production. Most all our clients use conveyor ovens.

George Mills

I have 2 stores in Texas and one in Tacoma Wa that I just bought. I had a 900 sq ft shop in a small town that had 3 small conyers. At $12 for a large 1 topping pizza . We would normally make $1200 on Friday night. If your busy you will need 1 maker 1 cutter and someone answering the phone.

Many (most?) of our pies have 4-8 toppings. We use four different sauces… average pie price is around $20. It is not the same gig as tossing out national chain one topping specials. By the time you add in the calzones, strombolli, salads (3 different kinds in two sizes,) wings (three kinds in two sizes), poppers, mozz sticks, cheesy bread, bread sticks, deep dish… a “100 pie” hour is a lot closer to 200 items to be prepared. So yes, four cooks and and expeditor (who also routes the deliveries) is what it takes.

I’m on the fence here, but will chime in…

  • What is a ‘one pizza maker’ shop? And why would you want one? In my limited experience, a one pizza guy shop must have the following to be successful:
  1. Own the building & equipment.
  2. Have a loyal local customer base.
  3. Have tremendous walk-by traffic.

Considering that a ‘maybe large’ group of us do not own the building (property), lease costs looms as a constant weight against earnings. To hit my forecast sales this year, I’ll need 5 cooks. In my operation, during the rush, drivers/csrs do cut, dining room, and deliver. The cook is making everything that goes in the oven (2 conveyors), everyone else helps with bussing, salads, etc… like bodega mentioned. We do not sell $10 pizzas and I don’t measure business in terms of pies per hour, but rather sales $s per hour, like $300/hr, $1000/hr, etc… We can do $300/hr with one cook, one driver, one or two csrs, but everyone is cross-trained. When it balloons above $1K/hr, we need 2 cooks, 3-5 drivers, 4 CSRs or more. It becomes an exercise of how well your people are trained and how your store is set-up operationally.

Even if you own your building (which I do) that investment deserves a market return. In most cases you have a mortgage anyway which means that the “math” of a pizza shop does not really change with ownership. You gain some flexibility and the long term financial reward is better and more certain, but a one cook operation is always going to be at the margin.

I know you’re saying you are working “backwards” on this, but shouldn’t you be looking more at labor % than who is doing what job? On slow days when I’m not in the shop helping, I can run over 50%, but I more than make up for that on busy days where I run well below that without a hitch. I’ve had days where I wasn’t there at all (my wife and I don’t use daycare for our kids and don’t allow the shop to take precedence over them) and seen labor at 12%. But, we can pull it off and have sub 30 minute delivery times too.