The Great Cheese Debate...........

Grande vs. Saputo vs. Burnette

Those are the three that I am struggling with now. What do you guys/gals use and why? One of my vendors is pushing the Burnette…he says that it is almost as good as Grande…but cheaper. I have heard that alot of people use the Saputo. If you don’t use one of the above…tell me what you do use and why you chose it for your place. Thanks. And, Nick, pizza IS light brother. Bake on.

I’ve always had to blend Grande w/something…cost/appearance - can be quite oily 4 some…

I’m using Saputo diced now & very happy…used it & Sorrento & like 'em both…

no experience w/Burnette…

go w/one that fits your price point, customer perception & oven…

Tried saputo sample. Great taste, but I couldn’t get a good looking pie with my oven and dough. It just was to splotchy compared to the browning profile I get with the house label cheese we use now. I am going to sample some Grande next week or two and see if we can cut that into our cheese mix to get a good flavor improvement with lower cost. I REALLY want to get diced cheese, but am only getting shredded.

I’m using Saputo diced now and LOVE it, better price and the only thing I see is grande looks better after an hour! (if you have had a mistake sitting out over a period of time I think grande retains its color and flavor longer)
Nick, I saw a substancial savings in diced. think you should consider that if it is Saputo shredded verse grande diced then cost may be close…grande can get better coverage

While I have only worked in franchises and have never had the “ordering” duties in my managing experience to be able to quote brands, I can tell you as a cook, that I enjoy the diced cheese MUCH better than the shredded cheese.

The coverage is great and when you have to use the cup method to top your pie, the diced works so much better.

When the make table is left open during a rush, it doesn’t “wilt down” as badly as the shredded either.

The results after baking are nice. The cheese has brown spots but not too many…and can handle the heat a little longer (in the case of a backed up oven) before going to burn.

I guess the point I’m making is that regardless of what brand, if diced is an option you don’t use now, ask for a sample. I think you’ll be pleased. It’s been my experience, anyway.

I’ve had great success with Burnett.

I read these posts from time to time and I never put my two cents in.

I laugh seeing fellow operators scramble to cut costs, sometimes thinking that a cheaper product is the way to go…cheese, sauce, flour…whatever, and the fact of the matter is that there is no “oasis” of cheap product out there that is consistent and a “smart” business decision. When it comes to anything in the restaurant business, buy the best and charge for it accordingly. If you’re utilizing portion control, you can afford to use the best of anything. A vendor will always push what they have…they will have nothing to gain by pushing a superior product that they do not carry…“Why would they?” When it comes to food; you’re only as good as the products you use. When it comes to cost, don’t be foolish and buy on price, we’re in this business to sell more pies and make money, we’re not in it to save money. If you want to save money, spend your days and nights clipping coupons from the Sunday paper.

Eatmore, please share, as you are laughing at us, a direction towards those best products(cheese, sauce, flour, whatever) out there? Should we all just agree to buy the most expensive product and assume it is the best, regardless of how it performs in our equipment. Please let us know, how you would decide between the three options the post was started about. Please don’t just laugh at us, tell us to spend more, cut coupons less, and expect us to understand your source of humor. Please expand!!!

If only it were so that there was a direct, consistant connection between price and quality. Life would be so simple. The world (and the pizza business) is full of examples where what the customer buys is hype while a superior AND less expensive product is right there in front of them.

Get your samples. Cook up some pies and invite your neighbors in to taste-test. You may be suprised what they really like when they are given no information or product names and not shown the packaging. Also, when tasting yourself, get an employee to make up the pies and give them to you to taste without telling you before hand which is which. Make sure there are at least three candidates in the test. If you are testing cheese, don’t put ANY toppings on the pizza and use the same sauce on all of them. If you are testing sauce, be sure to use the same cheese and again, no toppings.

I agree with the posters above on diced cheese. It is quite a bit easier to handle than shreded and provided better coverage and easier cost/portion control. We use a Stefan machine for our cheese and dough, it is not a perfect diced product like you can buy, but it produces a consistent chop and allows me to buy block which tends to run about 10-15 cents a pound cheaper than shredded and has a better shelf life.

I am with you to a point here, eatmore. For me, there is a balance of quality and “price the market will bear”. I acquire the best quality products I can afford. If the marketplace will tolerate a higher price, then I can buy higher priced ingredients where necessary.

I, for one, would GLADLY cut coupons in the Sunday paper if they included the products I sell in my shop. Refusing a coupon is an insipid waste of money if it is a product used. I don’t leave money on the table. I am in the business to reduce costs in my expense profile wherever possible to provide a better opportunity for the market to sustain my business and throw a potential profit. Wow . . . if we aren’t supposed “to save money”, then buying an identical product from a different vendor for less money would be out of the question as well.

If your point is about sacrificing the established quality of the product and brand your business has built, just to save a few pennies, then I am right beside you carrying the banner. If you are also including refusing to research cheese and other commodities in the marketplace that have reached historical highs by STEEP increases in the last 10 months, then I may be on a different track. Mindless marriage to an expensive brand of cheese when the price has climbed 60% . . . and menu pricing cannot match that sort of steep climb in any marketplace we’ve heard from so far . . . is a recipe for disaster.

One must cut costs somewhere, and pizzerias around the country are finally being pushed to explore other alternative brands of food products. While Grande is a great cheese manufacturer, it is not the end-all be-all of cheeses for all businesses in all markets. People who used it are getting priced into exploring other brands and styles of cheese. By extension, Rolls-Royce is held by large numbers of people to be a fine, high-quality automobile that is very desirable . . . it is folly for me to buy one because my income level simply will not support my buying it. Period.

Aim high, and stay within one’s budget. OR, for those in the high-volume, discount price market, the whole discussion is a different creature of a different species. Price of Grande would bankrupt many LC franchisees.

i have optimum whole milk… anyone use this??? it expensive down here… but the b est

Short term thinking is very dangerous! It is important to understand that the last 20 years have been considered (by economists) as a “bear” commodity market: meaning commodities have been priced below fair market value. Everything in our shops (just about) is a commodity. With that being said, and the expectation of a possible decade+ “bull” commodity market ahead of us, we need to consider the long term. The long term thinker needs to stay the course and understand that they can no longer charge below fair market value. If you built a pizza on the absolute lowest cost products on the market (cheapest mozz, cheapest flour, cheapest sauce) you would be paying about $2.18 per 16" pizza (cost of ingredients). This is based on $2.40 p/lb cheese using 12oz. ($1.80), 20 oz. doughball at .01 per oz.=20 cents, and cheap sauce at about 3 cents per ounce w/ 6 ounces on the pie = 18 cents. My pie using top notch product (runs as of today) $2.56 per pizza. I get $11.99 all day long…7 days per week…12 hours per day. My customers are happy and I’m happy. My father retired from Boeing 3 weeks ago and he has always said: “your business ain’t rocket science…don’t try to make is as such”.

Short term thinking is very dangerous! It is important to understand that the last 20 years have been considered (by economists) as a “bear” commodity market: meaning commodities have been priced below fair market value. Everything in our shops (just about) is a commodity. With that being said, and the expectation of a possible decade+ “bull” commodity market ahead of us, we need to consider the long term. The long term thinker needs to stay the course and understand that they can no longer charge below fair market value. If you built a pizza on the absolute lowest cost products on the market (cheapest mozz, cheapest flour, cheapest sauce) you would be paying about $2.18 per 16" pizza (cost of ingredients). This is based on $2.40 p/lb cheese using 12oz. ($1.80), 20 oz. doughball at .01 per oz.=20 cents, and cheap sauce at about 3 cents per ounce w/ 6 ounces on the pie = 18 cents. My pie using top notch product (runs as of today) $2.56 per pizza. I get $11.99 all day long…7 days per week…12 hours per day. My customers are happy and I’m happy. My father retired from Boeing 3 weeks ago and he has always said: “your business ain’t rocket science…don’t try to make it as such”.

My point really is “be the best you can be”. If we spend more time trying to make money and less time trying to save money, we would be better off. My philosophy is to be the best: it’s is the ultimate insurance policy.

As for the low cost, high volume operators… 4 w/in 3 miles of my shop have closed in the last 4 months. Coincidence? … or a flawed business model? I have certainly had the benefit of higher sales because of the closures and the opportunity to educate the consumers (new customers) of why my product is better.

This all depends on your market place - being ‘the best’ and having ‘the best’ ingredients does not automatically mean you will succeed. Indeed we’ve seen recently Kyle close his doors after trying to buck his local ‘cheap is good’ market place - of course I’m no expert on ‘exactly’ what happened to him. In my market I’m at the top end of my price range as I use good quality ingredients. Do I use the ‘best’? no, I use a combination that fits my price range.

Many very successful business do not have the ‘best’ products or use the ‘best’ ingredients - Mc’d ( i know they are not pizza but I think we can all agree there are much better burgers), LC and dare I say PH, PJ and DP. So maybe you are laughing a little too soon??? or perhaps you are suggesting they have flawed business models??

Consistent, good quality hot pizza, delivered quickly - is always a winner.

McD’s was losing market share for year until recently. They realized that their business model had to change in order to deliver returns to their shareholders. As you may know, they added premium salads, focused on healthier menu items, and are now adding latte’s and gourmet coffee to their menu. Many franchisees are upset because they are being forced to add 100k in equipment upgrades to meet this new initiative. No doubt McD’s had to revamp and meet quality trends in order to regain their customer’s confidence.