Parbaked Crusts - Simply Too Expensive?

as i mentioned in another thread, i have owned and operated my restaurant for 10+ years and recently decided to completely change its concept by converting it into a specialty pizza operation. i have spent the last month trying to learn as much as possible about the type of equipment i will need (thank you very, very much for all of the advice offered on the other thread regarding equipment) and i have also been looking at many different types of possible ingredients and recipes.

out of all of the products i had considered up to this point, i was certain that i had at least settled on one item - wholesale parbaked crusts. but after taking a much closer look at these crusts, i simply can’t see how the convenience, consistency and whatever other benefits they may offer outweighs their hefty cost. here are some rough calculations i came up with - am i missing something?

cost of 60lb batch - $15.00
adjusted for 10% waste - $16.50
daily cost for two 60lb batches - $33.00
yield - 120lbs, 240 8oz crusts
annualized cost - $12,000.00

prep time (scale, mix, etc.) for two batches - 2.5 hours
daily cost @ $8.50/hr - $21.25
annualized - $7,800.00; $8,600.00 w/ payroll taxes etc.

used 60 qt mixer - $4,000.00
spread over 3 years - $1,300 per year

total annual cost (ingredients, labor, 1/3 mixer cost) - $21,100.00
number of crusts produced (240 8oz x 365 days) - 87,600
cost per crust - $.24

8 oz wholesale parbaked crust - $1.35
annualized (based on 87,600 crusts) - $118,300.00

net annual savings; producing own crust - $97,200

i would very much like to go with parbaked crusts, but not at the above cost - hopefully someone here can explain to me why my numbers are way off and why parbake crusts actually do make economic sense…

If it takes longer to bake a pizza made with fresh dough than one using a parbaked crust, then I would think that the differential in energy costs would have to be taken into account in factoring total costs. I am also assuming that equipment, space, number of employees, etc., would be the same whether you went with parbake or made your own dough.

peter, not only would there be an additional cost associated with the longer cooking times, but also the amount of power required to run the mixer. as far as the other variables you mentioned are concerned, yes they would be the same.

so even though there would be additional energy costs involved, i’m sure it would only represent a fraction of the $97k variance i came up with. also, i think i was being very conservative as far as the price of a parbaked crust is concerned ($1.35) - a high-end, quality crust would probably cost more, but i could be wrong…

Your cost savings may be even greater than what you are looking at. An 80+ LB batch of dough doesn’t cost me $15.00. I don’t know the ingredients you will be using, but I think you will end up paying less per batch. As far as labor goes, It definatly will not take over an hour per batch. If done properly, one person should be able to finish your two batches in less than an hour, including clean up time. Do you really need to designate this labor to the dough, as you could probably make the dough during the slow periods of the day with the normal staff you would have working anyway.
Not to mention the other advantages of using fresh dough. You can’t make breadsticks from parbaked crusts. The perception of quality to your customers when using a fresh vs parbaked that you pull out of a bag will be huge.


i have to agree 100% with everything you said - as a matter of fact, the more i find out about parbake crusts the more difficult it is for me to believe that they could be considered a viable option for a pizza operation. great for picking up at a grocery to make a pizza at home, no doubt, but just too expensive for a pizza shop imho. although i did read that theme parks, ballparks, etc. often use them…

btw, my labor calculation was based on mixing, portioning, rolling, tossing, panning, etc. - but you may be right in that it might still be too high. actually, as you mention, associated labor could definitely be removed from the cost of dough even if i had my morning guy make it when he comes in to make the pizza toppings - he’ll be at the shop anyway and can easily make the dough while he waits for the toppings to cook/cool…

This is easy to explain. You can buy a Freshetta frozen pizza for $5 at the grocery store. You can make that same pizza for under $2. You’re paying for convenience. Par-baked crusts take up more shipping space than the dry ingredients, and can’t be subjected to the same handling. If you could buy a par-baked crust for the same price as making your own dough, why would anyone be in the business of making par-baked crusts?

thanks for your reply snowman but i wasn’t asking why a premade product costs more than a product made from scratch - i think we’re all pretty clear on that. my distributor offers great chopped, diced, sliced, peeled (you name it) fresh produce and, as expected, it’s priced at a premium.

what i was hoping for was someone to discover and point out a glaring omission in my calculations that, had been included, would have shown parbake crusts to be only moderately more expensive than scratch - by moderate i mean a 10%-20% premium…

A frozen dough ball from your distributor is more than the cost of makeing your own. A parbaked crust is more than a frozen dough ball. That’s just the way it is. You are paying a distributor, who is paying a company, who is paying their employees to make your dough/crust. Make it yourself, its MUCH cheaper.