Ready to build (Got Burned :()

Hello everybody! I have watched this forum for a while. a lot of useful info. Finally I am starting my own business(yeah,you guys realy got me screwed :lol: ) Now i am gonna need a lot of help.

1.Only experience i have is a gas,food store operater. Though,i have an uncle who will provide me limited help.(hes got own pizza to run)

  1. Have bought a 2200sf stand alone corner lot building across from my gas station. population 12k with Domino & Pizza hut on other side of town(5mi.)

  2. I will be the first food place coming from Air Force Base (6 miles,3k ppl.) and a small community college closeby. students don’t spend much money in my store. Hoping pizza would be different.

  3. Have Broaster on my store do ok with chicken, Am confused if I need one at pizza.

  4. Low/median Income area. But despite what everybody says I do excelent business at my next door store with above average prices.Thats the lone reason to believe that I could sell quality product to set me apart from Domino & PH and charge a decent(definetely not premium) price.

  5. Like i explained,I do excellent at my store next door(acrooss the side street) and have good reputation on the town. My plan is to advertise and cross promote from the gas station. WOULD I NEED A LOT MORE ADVERTISING? Please give me some ideas.

  6. Got triple stack Lincoln1600. Could do $5 pizza if it doesn’t work otherwise. but i am a Quality product, good price guy to start with.

Breaking ground for interior remodeling next week.(STARTED) Jan,15th

Tried to post as much possible info. Please give me some or any ideas. I am getting nervous any expert advise will be highly appriciated.
Thanks everybody. :cry: :cry:

Re: Ready to build

Sounds to me that you have the Main Ingredients for Success.

Desire and Confidence.

If I can help you with a Merchant Account let me know.

I am sure the Experts in this Forum will have Great Ideas for you.

Re: Ready to build

Sounds to me that you have the Main Ingredients for Success.

Desire and Confidence.

If I can help you with a Merchant Account let me know.

Wrong,Desire and Confidence are NOT the main ingredients r for success. If you got that from some books on tape series you have been listening to, look into getting yourself a refund. Desire & Confidence are required to get out of bed in morning. The main ingredient for success is SOME MONEY & SOME SAVVY"

Mr Punjabi,
It sounds to me like you have a very good shot at success, given your track record & the intellingent remarks in your post. My first thought is to seperate the gas station biz from the pizza shop. You can use the traffic through your gas station to promote the pizza shop & certainly tell the customers your friendly with about your new place, but don’t promote them together. The impression of a gas station with a pizza shop is not the one you wish to promote to the general public. Also, if I we’re you I would make a study of the Little Caesers model and sell them fast, hard & cheap. Just an intitial impression. Tell us more about your trade area.

Re: Ready to build

Thank for the input. didn’t want to bore you guyes with too much info. but here is some more anyway(nobody listens me at home so computer is becoming my best friend thease days :lol:)

Very good point sir, Well taken. I will pass out coupons from gas station and divert the traffic to pizza. I will not try to promote the station from the pizza.

Local market is as follows; 70% low median income 22k. they usualy don’t work or just enough. older homes, larger families with welfare & food stamps.
400 Apts. within 1 mile radius but most of them do not come to my gas/c store. partialy, we do not want them(they spend less, bring more trouble and usualy run the better clientle away.believe me i learned it with experience) we simply price them out and then get enough people to pay our prices.

That is my problem right there. I ignore the 60% demographics at my store and still make very good living. I do not think that would be possible with pizza. i kinda think pizza would need broader demographics :?

25% are new homes working(commuter, weekend spenders) ppl. my store thrives on them.

5% are country, farmers, I pretty much got’em all. good ppl.

Then we got air force base 3k ppl. 6 miles away. I am first business coming from the base. I woudn’t bet on them based on my store experience. we do get their business but they never been big spenders. only dominos delivers on the base. I might be able to get some of their business with delivery.

Small community college 2500 feet away. we get about 30 customers per day in store from there. pizza might be different,I heard it is.

Not much on the lunch. some college, very limited. Some construction guys but they are fading away.a tiny bit of base personell. no offices or anything.

I am still cofused on what kind of business model i should have. so faar I am set for quality product,good price. if doesn’t work lowball the cheapo stuff. Please give me your thoughts.

Should I get a fryer? we have broaster at store and sell $200 food (40% chicken) a day which is good for c store. I heard I could sell,deliver lot more chicken on pizza. your thoughts please!

PH & Dominos do 3k on busy nights, Mountain mike’s in adjacent community is a bust!

Got only 5 seating tables for now,could expand and add 10 more in future.

Got the salad bar already to try out but there is not much seating or lunch crowd.

Most important Question, my uncle I am gonna copy makes kinda Roundtable style pizza, so does mountain mike’s and failed in this town. actual Roundtable is not too faar away (10mi). Should I shoot for a different product? if yes. What kind? Gosh! its a big one please help!

Thanks for the suggestions fellas! Need lot more…

Re: Ready to build

Got desire.
Confedience? well, honestly, I am very nervous right now.
Shoud be ok with initial budget. but could’t loose money for long.
Savvy? I am begging you guys for mentoring. Please help!

Re: Ready to build

Thanks for the additional info. I am going to continue with my initial instinct & suggest you entertain lower price points, mid quality product in a highly organized & efficient shop. The triple stack of 1600s are good to start.
You may very well be in an excellent spot for a lower tier shop in terms of prices and bring in big volumes. What are your expectations and more importantly what are your requirements to break even. What kind of profit will you be happy with without having to be there more than 15 hours per week in 6 months? I like what you have going on here Punjabi. You have my interest

Re: Ready to build

First of all. I would consider creating a high end pizza, my average pizza 16" pizza is $20. I have gourmet pizzas, I have mainstream ingredients too, but I also have Basil Pesto, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Alfredo Sauce, Artichoke Tapenade, and Three Olive Tapenade. Your in California, land of the granolas and hippies! And all than green clean living stuff. My profit margin generally runs about 30%, when I worked for Domino’s Pizza I averaged about 12% of course if I wasn’t paying royalties it might have profited 20%. But I am certain there are plenty of low end, and mid market pizza joints out there. I am sure all the majors are in market. I would develop a menu using Grande Cheese, and set your prices the highest in the market. Say $22. for a 16" gourmet combo. If you set your prices high you can always hand out discounts, but if you set your prices to low, you can’t, and everyone loves a discount. I often wish when I started my franchise that I priced everything $4.00 higher, Say $26. for a 16" Gourmet then I could run a TWO-FOR-ONE SPECIAL all the time and make exceptional profits.

I would definetly consider Delivery! If you are in Marysville, CA. You have about 80,000 residents with 6 miles of your town, Yuba City, Linda, South Yuba City, Olivehurst, Tierra Buena. By offering delivery you can expand your market substantially. I would start by marketing within 1 mile of your store, but don’t limit your delivery area. I personally go out 30 minutes in all directions. I charge a delivery charge $2.00 outside of a mile, and $6.00 outside of 3 miles. You will have to determine that on your own.

I would sell pizza by the slice in your restaurant, as well as, in your gas stations, Cut a 16" pizza into 6 slices like Costco does, and sell them for $2.50 a slice, it is a discount, but it will get people to try your pizza.

You can make a great gourmet tasting pizza for relatively cheap, and get a good price.

A couple examples of gourmet pizza I sell:

The Mediteranean: 16" Pizza Dough Ball ($.65), 2 oz. Basil Pesto as a Base ($.40), 3 oz. of Sliced Tomatoes ($.20), 3 oz. Marinated Artichoke Hearts chopped up ($.45), 2 oz. of Feta Cheese ($.40), 2 oz. Sliced Kalamata Olives ($.30), .5 oz. of chopped garlic ($.05), and 12 oz. of Grande Cheese ($1.85) all total $4.30 food cost, I sell for $21.99. 19.5% food cost, I sell a 2nd for half-price at 39% food cost. My total Food cost about 26%, I usually run about 17% labor So my Contribution Margin is about 40%, and my fixed are about 10%. which nets me about 30% or $10.00 on a two pie order.

How about this one:
“THE RUEBEN” 16" Pizza Dough Ball ($.65), 8 oz. of 1000 Island Dressing as a base($.60), 6 oz. of Diced Corn Beef ($.80), 8 oz. of Bavarian Sweet Sauerkraut with Caraway Seeds ($.30), 8 oz. of Swiss Cheese ($1.25), 4 oz. of Grande Cheese ($.62) all total $4.22 food cost.

“THE GARLIC CHICKEN” 16" Pizza Dough Ball ($.65), 4 oz. of Alfredo Sauce ($.80, use a fresh alfredo sauce, Del Monaco is a good brand, not Kraft, or Best Foods ~ Yuck!), 8 oz. of Diced Chicken Thigh Meat ($.60, if you cook it yourself),4 oz. of Roasted White Onions ($.12), 4 oz of Slice Red Onions, 12 oz. of Grande Cheese ($1.85), and 2 oz of Shredded Parmesean Cheese, and .5 oz. of chopped garlic ($.05), and a dash of Oregano($.04)
all total $3.86 food cost.

“THE BBQ CHICKEN” 16" Pizza Dough Ball ($.65), 8 oz. of BBQ Sauce ($.60), 8 oz. of Diced Chicken Thigh Meat ($.60, if you cook it yourself)
4 oz. of Roasted White Onions ($.12), 12 oz. of Grande Cheese ($1.85), and 2 oz. of Smoked Mozzarella($.48), and .5 oz. of chopped garlic ($.05)
all total $4.35 food cost.

These are all great pizzas that people consider gourmet and will pay considerably more for, you will find that the gourmet topping are actually allot less per ounce than the traditional pizza toppings, and you actually can put less product on the pizza, cause the market hasn’t established what a normal topping is for them. Pizza’s like these will be somewhat unique, and this will differentiat you from all the other pizza places.

Re: Ready to build

I disagree Tommy.

Local market is as follows; 70% low median income 22k. they usualy don’t work or just enough. older homes, larger families with welfare & food stamps.

Re: Ready to build


I have allot of family in Yuba City, CA. Marysville, CA is only a stones throw away. There is plenty of wealth in the valley. In zip code 95901 there is 39000 people, with a median income of $34K. I several gourmet restaurants that do between $5k and $10K a week, and profit upwards of $80K to $120K.

The Crappy Crappy pizza might work for some but that is all about quantity, I produce quality products that I am proud of, and I make a solid profit on each one, and the customer is getting good value for there money.

In the 80’s when I worked for Dominos the average pie was selling for $6 to $7 and granted it was all we knew, and we made a whopping 70 cents profit per pizza. But I have seen the minimum wage almost triple since then, and the cost of raw good has doubled. And yet the low end still sells pizza for $6. to $7. There no real profit at the bottom of the market.

Secondly, there is alot of competition in the low end. There no competition in the gourmet market. Can you name a national chain than has gourmet products. That has more than 3 sauces, and more than 30 toppings. I can’t think of one.

For a guy just starting out. I would rather see him begin in a market where, he can run a shop by myself make 50 pizza a day, gross $1000, and profit $300, rather than make 140 pizzas for the $1000, and profit $70. He wont get burned out, and he wont have to hire a ton of labor to help him.

Re: Ready to build

In zip code 95901 there is 39000 people, with a median income of $34K.

I lam in town of Linda my friend. Its a lot different than Yuba City.

gourmet? na, no way in Linda. gotta do something different. I could not run the shop myself. so maintaining high quality could be an issue for me.
Right now I am thinking of making standard easy to make pizzas with quality ingriedinennts and sell 14" for 12.99 run specials for 9.99 what you think?

Re: Ready to build

I think you are better off doing just that.

Re: Grande Cheese? need advise!!

Tommie, is grande cheese very differen than generic?How diffrent than the PH & Domino brant cheese? And if you happen to know, how much price difference than any widely available for indepents generic cheese? My friends I know use california gold(or golden) brand. How does it compare to Grande?
And do I need a fryer?
Your expert advise will be highly appericiated.

Re: Ready to build(Do I need a Fryer?)

You have 2200sf? Is that correct? How many seats do you have I would yhink you would be able to fit about 40 seats in there unless you are doing booths. Whaqt is your concept? are you going to be full service? Quick casual? Fast food? What are your hours going to be? What do you want on your menu? You asked if you need a fryer it depends on if you need one with your menu. If your only doing wings then no you can bake them in the oven if you are going to do fries and other things like that then yes you need to. Let me know what your ideas are and I will try to help out

Re: Ready to build(Do I need a Fryer?)

I got only 1100sf right now. could expand in future. Right now 5 tables. Product & menu wise, i am copying my friends at using identical ingriedients. I do not have a concept & need some help there. J_orrk advised me to do take n bake also, and I will do it. Delivery is a must here. I will consider myself lucky if I could bypass delivery & still make good profits.
Does pick up only $6 pizza make any prifit? Would it make sence for me to do it? those r the decisions I can’t make. Sure I have the oven capacity(triple 1600). It (low price)will be a lot of free advertisement & probably encourage more pickups.
I have decided to get a pressure fryer for chichen sales.
Question of the day is, Does $6 pizza make any profit??
Thanks for your help.

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

Thanks everybody for your great support.
I have got a fryer already.
Question of the day is, Does $6 pizza make any profit?? 14" one
topping that is.
What is average cost, gross profit% for average independent operater?
I sure got oven capacity(Lincoln Triple 1600).

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

Punjabi Guy, I have heard of California Gold I think its made by F & A, or Faggio, I am not sure. From what I have heard it is the closest thing to Grande Cheese.

Grande Cheese has a very butteric flavor, and a great melt. Most cheese can’t compare. They have a special process for selection of the cows, and proccessing the curds, etc. etc. etc. It all makes Grande the best pizza cheese you can buy. However, there is a downside, PRICE. Grande is usually about $.80 cents to a Dollar over the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Block Cheese Price. Whilst most of the Part-Skim, Low moisture Mozzarella’s in the market run about $.10 to .30 cents of the CME price.

Basically, I have found you get what you pay for. Grande is a cheese that speaks loudly, and my customers recognize the difference. I recently tried “Lugano” by Caputo cheese it is very similiar, however it has a high sodium content, very dry, and very salty, and only a hint of the butteric overtones that Grande is so popular for. If Grande is the benchmark, I would put “Lugano” as a 85%.

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

I do not think I am in position to give you any advise, since I have not rolled out a single pizza yet. But, I picked an advise somewhere that I have carried in back of my head.
Adding very small ammount of parmesan cheese to mozzarella will enhance flavor significantly. I sure plan to try it when I open. unless you try and let me know its not true.
Thanks for your support.

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

punjabi guy writes:

Question of the day is, Does $6 pizza make any profit?? 14" one
topping that is.

Yes, you can make a profit selling large one topping pizzas for $6.00. All stores use different ingredients so they’re cost of goods sold will slightly differ. After saying that, the ballpark cost for a large one topping pizza is around $2.10. Selling this $2.10 pizza for $6.00 will result in a food cost of 35%. Manage your other controllables and you’ll be fine even if this was the only thing you sold in your store. -J_r0kk

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

Thanks J_rokk,
Very good information as always. you ROCk (or rokk :lol: ) I pm you other day and you provided very useful education for a new guy like me. I had e mailed you some demographic info. with facility address. Have not heard back. Would you please take a look and advise me on my best choices on the business model I should run? I will try to resend that message again.
I had also included the kind of product I am gonna coock and the probable,sample menu. What I learned from you today is that I could sell a large for $6 and it will not kill me before I know. That,It is feasible to sell a $6 pizza for me. i could start selling what I have then work on the food cost & stuff later. i have come to the point where I need to decide what kind of business model we should run. Please give me some more advise.
Thanks a lot for your kind help.

Re: Ready to build(Does $6 pizza make any profit? sence??)

You should definetly sell fried chicken. Even include chicken in the name of your store if it is not too late. I have 8 4-head henney penney fryers of which I sell tons of fried chicken. I named my store Bill’s Pizza & Chicken so I have two sources of income. Graduation partys love chicken! You can do tons of catering with sheet pizza, chicken, salads, and full pans of rigatoni. I do a coupon for a 64 pc. chicken for $55.95- sell hundreds of these every year.

Good luck!!!