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Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

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  • Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

    So I have had a few pizza get togethers and everyone has loved my pies (my dessert pies did not receive a great welcome) and everyone says the same thing, "you ought to open up a restaurant" so I am seriously considering it.

    I was thinking of a small place, maybe 4 or 5 tables, try to push the take out and delivery side of it. Use fresh, local ingredients from our local farmers' market.
    Stick to a few toppings, fresh mozz stretched on site from curds, Caputo 00...
    I plan on mixing and kneading the dough the night before and letting it proof overnight, open the restaurant at 10:30 am to 10:30 PM

    Our town population is about 14,000 people. There is no competition for real pizza, all we have is Pizza Hut, Domino's, Little Ceaser's, Johnny's and Fox pizza. The most popular is Johnny's, they do very well and have two restaurants in town. But it is just your typical American pizza.

    I also have a lead on flavored olive oil and can get a personalized label so I would have some on the tables and also sell the bottles.

    I have some questions and was hoping others here who have gone from hobbyist to professional pizza makers can answer them.

    1. How much dough would be good to mix for an opening day?

    2. What size dough mixer would be recommended? 30qt, 60qt?

    3. What is a must have piece of equipment?

    4. What is a good POS system?

    5. Do I buy a fountain drink machine or just sell bottled drinks?

  • #2
    Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

    Joey,
    I'm sure that there are some on this site that can reply to your question. If you don't get all the answers you need I would visit this site Pizza Making Forum - Index

    There are a lot of knowledgeable folks there that can help you out.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

      Actually, for those questions I was thinking this site would be more appropriate. Pizzamaking.com is a very good site, but I think it's more about pizza than the function of a store.

      Now, for what it's worth, I would go with the fountain drink machine as it takes less space for the amount of drink you can sell.
      My oven (for now):
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f43/...ven-14269.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

        Thanks guys, you both sent me to the same site so it should be where I need to be.
        also makes sense with the fountain vs bottled.

        Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

          Joey,

          For pizza industry Q & A try this.

          PMQ.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

            Actually my link is for PMQ, not pizzamaking.

            Just curious, if you're only going for that low number of tables, why not just get a mobile trailer set-up and do farmers markets? Way more flexibility...
            My oven (for now):
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f43/...ven-14269.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

              I looked into it, but in Louisiana if you're not vending hot dogs you need a commissary, so i am going to use the pizza shop as my commissary to my mobile unit. In return my mobile unit will be a great way to spread the word for the pizza shop.

              any thoughts?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

                I have a small italian / pizza joint in rural nebraska - town of 5000, and let me tell you - competition or no, select one thing and do it right - wood fire pizza and five tables - just be the best. And do not do delivery or take out. Just be high class, if the competition is fast food - be the opposite, follow a model of Pizzaria Bianco in Arizona. Simple local menu, amazing atmosphere, personal service. MHO. Cheers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

                  Originally posted by flippinsweet View Post
                  I have a small italian / pizza joint in rural nebraska - town of 5000, and let me tell you - competition or no, select one thing and do it right - wood fire pizza and five tables - just be the best. And do not do delivery or take out. Just be high class, if the competition is fast food - be the opposite, follow a model of Pizzaria Bianco in Arizona. Simple local menu, amazing atmosphere, personal service. MHO. Cheers.
                  You make alot of sense. Thx!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

                    My pizzeria is 4 months old, and growing in sales steadily. I agree with flippinsweet, do things right and people will come back. Start out small is also good, you'll grow with your learning curve.

                    For 5 tables you don't need a POS system, your max rush will be 5 tables. 20+ is a harder number to do by hand. Just get a cash register.

                    You need good food and good atmosphere... but most important - restaurant business is nickel and dime. Get your food cost done properly, and have some good charts in excel. Figure out the number of tables per day to break even, and always figure worst case scenarios.... Businesses don't always start out in the blue.

                    There's lots more I could say, but not much time. If you go for it, good luck!
                    May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

                      You posted 5 or 6 months ago, so hopefully you are on your way by now..

                      flippinsweet and Tenorio have a handle on it...don't compete with the other guys, you are already in a higher tier of food service offerings...but, be aware that most of us (small business people) don't make it in our "hobby-turned-pro" because although we make a killer product, we aren't tough enough in "business-think" to cut it.

                      That being said, not to discourage you, but to make sure you are ready for the ride. Are you already self employed in some other field? Do you have a great income/cash flow to pump into this project? Are you surrounded by family/spouse/friend that will help or at least be supportive? What are your goals for this shop? Total income to support you, hobby income to play with, to what degree does the success of this shop matter to you?All of that matters to a degree, but in the end, it's the strength of your heart that will pull you through or not.

                      Buy everything used, except where noted;
                      -hobart 60 qt is minimal, 125 qt. spiral suggested, (you will grow into it)
                      -manual baker's scale for dough table, faster than digital.
                      -digital scale for prep/make up table cheese control (eTundra.com Yamato PB200 for $210, LOVE mine)
                      -can you buy a house and convert to your shop in your town? How is the zoning/building dept? Who will do the work to convert from present use to your commercial use? Public entry buildings are a PITA about compliance/safety etc with the state..
                      -buy your prep table new or very new...refrigeration can be tempermental and costly to repair on older "good deals" by the time you replace compressors, door gaskets, bad hinges, wheels..you're into some pretty good money, unless you get a great table at a fair price, this monster Randell would be a so-so deal at $1,600 RANDELL MEGA PIZZA REFIGERATED PREP TABLE | eBay
                      or you could look at the Leader brand, lot of bang for the buck, new from this ebay seller;
                      120" Leader Pizza Prep Table | eBay

                      or this seller; NEW 96" LEADER Pizza Prep Table | eBay

                      -make a whole batch of dough, at least 25 lb/half bag, it will keep for 4 days if your refrigeration is good and you use cold enough water. Will you use sheet pans with trash bag covers, dough boxes, how will you store dough?
                      -no POS to start with, pad, pen, calculator and a cash drawer...remember, you are trying to make money, not spend it at this point and POS aint' cheap.
                      -cans of pop/drinks...the fountain is a pain, not as profitable and requires an ice machine, more complications. Pop you can buy on sale, put anything you want in (teas, waters, energy, juice...and way more profitable.
                      -tables and chairs are at every online equipment auction...auctionwave, bidfta.com, even ebay and craigslist have em all the time...restaurants are going belly-up faster than I have ever seen in my life...plenty of equipment to choose from at fair prices...Some are corporate stores pruning down (no tears for those guys) and some are mom and pop stores going bust because someone told them they made good food and encouraged them to get into business (I see this happen all the time)...something to think about !

                      The MAIN piece of "must have equipment" is a big pair of balls if you are going into business for yourself, in this economy, but you must start somewhere. Don't take that as a wet blanket on your idea, there is no one that believes in the self employed dream more than I, but it's hard work 24-7 and I wouldn't have it any other way.
                      Good Luck to you !
                      Trying to learn what I can about flours, fermentation and flames...

                      My 81 inch first build; http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f37/...ost-11354.html

                      My 52 inch mobile; http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f37/...ing-20874.html

                      our FB page; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Artys...20079718042660

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Thinking of opening up a small WFO pizza joint

                        I'm kinda in the same position you are, the comessary is necessary in wa. st.
                        I'm going to look for space to rent . In Seattle there is a company that leases out prep space for about 20 small business, and as far as I know the they all have a mobile.
                        Bottom line the expense will probaly be less going this way. Good luck

                        Comment

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