The steaks (sic) are higher, it seems.

As I start working up our menu and finding the best vendors for foodstuffs, I’ve been thinking back 25 years, when I first got into the business.

It was simpler then, really. The take 'n bake craze hadn’t begun yet, LC was still doing the 2fer deals, PH was mostly dine-in, Dom’s was stressing the 30 minutes at all costs format, and wings were cheap and pretty much unwanted parts that weren’t available outside of KFC and other chicken chains. Pasta was an afterthought, too. Crusts were thick or thin or wheat. Red sauce.

What a difference today.

It makes it a little more intimidating to start now. What if we don’t do everything PH or PJs is doing? Has CPK made the designer pie stand out in even rural America’s collective mind? (I don’t think so.)
How much of the “newer”, more designer things, such as pesto sauce, more exotic toppings, stuffed crusts, will our customers demand?

Reality is slapping me in the face!

“back in MY day, I remember when pizza was Chef Boy-Ar-Dee in a box at home”

if it was easy, then everybody would be doing it.

People watch all these restuarant/cooking shows that are on all day and think just because they make a mean pie or chicken marsala in the comfort of their own home that they can pursue their “dreams.” Then reality hits and after blowing whats left in their 401k they realize it not what its cracked up to be. Anybody can open up a small shop and sling some pies with frozen dough, diced cheese, and canned sauce. What really separates the men from the boys if handling a Friday night rush without the phone ringing off the hook, 100 dine-in customers waiting and 8 delivery drivers!

Sorry to rant and dont mean to be a Debby Downer but I think this industry has alot of people here that have no business in the game. Competition will just weed out the players that should not be here in the first place.

And who is dictating that every pizza place has to stay ahead of the curve with new and innovative things? What is wrong with the classic pie that took this industry to where it is today?
The places I see with the longest wait times, and lines of people out the door to get their product, are the ones who do not offer multiple choices of crusts, multiple sauces to choose from, and all the other reinventions of the pizza that I see all the time.
Sure, these trendy items get an initial hit of curious customers, but most of them fade quickly too.

I love pizza, I could eat it every single day and never get bored with it, and we will drive 4 hours or so every couple of months to go get the classic pizza that we love.
The places we go to have all been around for 50 years, and turn out the same style pizza they have been doing for the last 50 years successfully. The only thing that has changed is that they are so much busier now than they used to be. Even though the market is oversaturated with trendy places with multiple choices of crust and sauces, all it did is make the classic places even busier from my observations.
My background is not all 100% pizza like most of you guys here, though I have been in the restaurant industry for close to 30 years now (holy crap, I’m getting old!). during these last few years of seeing healthier options of everything available. It is the classic comfort food places who are seeing growth.