Pizza Buffet comment/question

I am considering opening a Buffet style pizza shop, pickup but no delivery.

I have tried several of the larger more popular names who seem to be doing well and I have noticed that even when the pizza is done well that the quality really is poor and when a pie is not in top condition it is just horrible.

My question/comment to those who are either running a shop or have thought about the buffet concept is this-

Is there no worth profit and loss wise to spend a marginal ammt more and improve the quality of the product, maybe reduce the number of pies on the line and make the ones there better? (some of the bigger names brag about having 20 feet of pizza or quantity over quality) or are margins for buffets so thin that it is impossible to make a GREAT product and also make a decent profit?

I am definately profit oriented and focused and have worked at some of the bigger non-buffet names in the past so I have an idea of what it takes to make a great product and how to control costs, but my experience with buffets and how the margins are different than a traditional shop doesnt exist.

So what do you pros think, is it useless to focus on a GREAT product, maybe have a slightly higher price point and make a MUCH better pie, or as nearly ALL the seemingly successful buffet chains seem to admit that the volume is what makes the profits versus the quality.

(also as a side note, a buffet owner might have a comment about how their product is great and price is good but my comments are about reality and experience at what exists with the MAJORITY of current chains)

Several times I"ve seen notes on bulletin boards in buffet-only places, (pizza or steak chains) with cost targets of 40% for labor, 40% for food. Both of those seem outlandish high, esp the labor at a buffet! But, point is, those are places that don’t necessarily have a great product out, but the public seems to not mind that quality at that price.

Putting one perspective on it, we aim for no more than 30% in BOTH. That’s with what I’d call a very strong lunch buffet business, and even stronger dine-in/delco business in addition. (modesty is my finest quality! :stuck_out_tongue: )

To have a successful buffet-only biz, IMO, you gotta keep that labor down to about 20% and still keep the food cost to 40%. I have no idea if that’s really feasible, but that doesn’t allow for a lot of high-quality items, considering the amount of waste that goes with that style restaurant.

Others may have much different opinions though, and better facts.