Opening a take away pizza shop in Shanghai

Dear all,

I’m seriously planning with my Chinese partner to open a take-away pizza shop in Shanghai. I am currently building up the business plan, and I still have to retrieve many information about this kind of business.

In particular, I would be really grateful if someone could provide some guidance or share some online resources to help me answer these questions:

1)What are the machines needed? From what I could read so far it seems i will need:
-Dough mixer
-Dough divider
-Dough molder
is this all for the main equipment? Will I need fridges to keep the dough cold?

2)In order to acquire the product know-how, could generally be enough to have a couple of young chinese cooks trained for about one month by a top professional pizza maker from Italy?

  1. I know that for some ingredients it is necessary to add them after the dough is been baked almost to completion, otherwise they will dry too much or even burn. Is it possible to engineer the process, e.g. by using only some kinds of less delicate toppings, in a way that will allow to cook everything together in one shot? This would be key for the kind of operational model that we have in mind.

Thanks a lot in advance! Any suggestion/advice is more than welcome!


Your equipment package will, to some extent be determined by the type of pizza you want to make. A planetary mixer, can be used to make both your dough and blend the sauce, plus with an attachment head it can also be used to prepyour vegetables. I seriously doubt that a divider and rounder will be needed unless your sales projections are 500 or more pizzas a day. With this said, a dough rounder can be a significant labor saving device as it will greatly reduce the time needed to scale and round the dough. You will also need a good supply of plastic dough boxes for storing the dough balls in (the number of boxes needed will depend upon your production demands). A walk in cooler of sufficient size to hold all of your toppings and ingredients needing refrigeration along with your boxes of dough will also be needed. Until we know more about the ingredients you will be purchasing I can’t say if you will need a walk in or reach in freezer. An air impingement oven will most likely be your best choice in this application. You will need to have some type of screen, disk or pan to put the dressed pizza skin on to get it through the oven. Which one of these you use will be based on the specific type of pizza you want to make. You will also need a small equipment package consisting, but not limited to things such as oven peels, ladles/spoodles, pizza cutters (either wheels or rocker knife, dough scrapers, portion cups, appropriate scales for both dough ingredients and toppings, corrugated pizza circles, pizza boxes, and some type of ordering (POS) system, and if you plan to do any delivery you will also need special delivery bags and/or boxes. As for toppings, the usual way to make a pizza is to put all of the toppings (sauce, cheese, meat, vegetables) onto the pizza skin prior to baking so there is no need to apply any toppings after the pizza enters the oven. We can also help you with the training of your people too. We have our annual pizza seminar, which we have been doing for over 25-years now, scheduled for October 28 to November 1, 2013. This is a great training porgram for individuals such as yourself or your operators as it covers all aspects of making pizza. If you e-mail me directly I can send you an early brochure for the class.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor E-mail:

Hi Tom,

Thanks a lot for your detailed reply! Really helpful!

I will try to provide some more details so you can have a more clear picture of our model, and also tell me if the course you mentioned would apply to these circumstances.

  1. The kind of pizza we have in mind is Italian style “pizza al taglio” sold by the slice. The kind you can find in most street shops in Rome. It is prepared in rectangular trays, usually about 70cmx50 cm in dimensions i would say. Trays dimensions can be optimized according to what the oven size will be. Most online resources I found mentioned that some toppings should be added after the pizza enters the oven, that s why i wrote that. But your reply made me confident that it will be possible to find a way to avoid that

  2. We haven t decide the toppings yet, but we know that we want to offer only one kind of topping each day, with weekly rotation.

  3. The forecast is to start with about 500 portions daily production. One portion will approximately be a 20x15 cm piece. I haven t calculated yet how much dough would that be.
    If the model works, the plan is to scale up very fast. If not, we gave it a shot:-)

Thanks again for your support!

You have a couple of options for your pans, you caould use a standard 18-inch by 26-inch sheet pan, or you could use a custom made pan of just about any dimension you want. About 5-years ago I developed and published (in PMQ) information on a new, and very different approach to making pizza by the slice that would work great for this particular application I have the concept in actual use here in Manhattan, Kansas at three stores. The name of my article was “A Fresh Approach to Pizza by the Slice”. This concept provides the customer a fersh baked slice of pizza in only three minutes as opposed to the more traditional approach to pizza slices where the pizza is made before hand, stored in a heat and humidity controlled cabinet, and passed to the customer at some undetermined later date. The concept that I’ve developed provides the customer with a fresh baked slice with whatever toppings they might order, and most importantly, the pizza is hot and crispy. The pizzeria here in Manhattan using this concept is AJ’s New York Pizza <> and they won the best pizza award in Manhattan, Kansas a couple of years ago. This is a concept that you might want to consider.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Which issue would the article be in?
I would like to reference it as well.

It was a free standing article that I wrote about 4-years ago. It would be in a late spring or possibly early summer edition of PMQ.
You should be able to do an archive search to find it.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I submitted the article in June of 2008 so it would have been published between July and November most likely.
If you cannot find it P.M. me
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor