General Question

mrlaconic's avatar

What are some considerations for opening a pizzeria?

Asked by mrlaconic (3985points) August 16th, 2012

I currently work in an industrial area that does not have a lot of restaurants. I am somewhat getting sick of my job and as I was out walking to get lunch today I decided that maybe It might be time to do something about the lack of eateries.

I would like to open a pizzeria where people can come and get a a slice or two or a whole pie if they want.

The think the biggest thing to consider is would I have enough customers to sustain. I think I would. Like I said this is a industrial area with lots of construction going on and several established businesses (including the starbucks hq) in the area.

What are other considerations for running a shop?

Finally if I were to try and use kickstarter to try and get funding what are the price points I should set and what are the rewards I should offer at each price point?

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23 Answers

Qingu's avatar

What is your crust recipe? A pizza without a good crust is like a house without a good foundation.

Are there pizza chain restaurants nearby? Dominos, Pizza Hut, etc? More broadly, who is your competition?

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, it has been said that “Opening a restaurant is the best way to make a small fortune. Provided you start with a large one.”

To build on what @Qingu has started: What do you know about making pizza?

fremen_warrior's avatar

If it’s an industrial area figure out who you should be paying for ehm… protection…

jca's avatar

I think with restaurants, location location location is key.

I also think restaurants go out of business often, change hands often. People I know that own restaurants tell me it’s a lot of work because you need to be there many hours watching and working unless you have trustworthy people helping you. I think a restaurant job would be an easy way for someone to skim money from, so you need trustworthy people for sure.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Check out to see classified ads and advice for independent pizza palor operations. The rule of thumb use to be a population of 925 to 975 people within the neighborhood for pizza place. What do you know about running a restaurant ? Or making pizzas ?

_Whitetigress's avatar

What city are you in? A kickstarter won’t qualify for opening a pizza shop I believe it has to be a certain product like this for instance

Restaurants need investors, money for training, and money for food cost. There are “fixed costs” and “variable costs.”

In San Diego a common combo is 6 dollars for two slices and a can of soda. I would probably go the route of having actual soda machines. I think it’s like 6 cents per oz and you sell those bad boys for like a $1.50.

Make sure your customer service is above up to par, being a small time joint you need to be firing on all cylinders in order for people to love that first impression.

Try and stick to a certain style of pizza too. Maybe you can make it very “localized”. For instance if you are in Denver, throw a ton of Denver related artists, musicians, and sports icons around.

Here is an online index of pizza styles

Also, don’t forget to serve what you love to eat yourself. Stand by your product. But have others test taste it and when I say others have like 50 people try and respond to it. Good pizza is like a good book, many people can agree to it. Also during opening, to drive traffic in and out you can have someone stand outside handing out sample square slices. Good luck and always follow your passion. Do it 125% to your ability and keep on grinding.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes, first of all, you need to know how to make Pizza. Not just passable Pizza you would eat at home, but really good Pizza that even an Italian would approve of. Or get a properly trained chef that does.
And do not just offer Pizza. You need to diversify a bit. Offer Pasta as well, and other authentic Italian dishes. Which leads back to the first point: Get a chef that is a pro in Italian cuisine.

mrlaconic's avatar

I live in Seattle. I do not know anything about making crust but I do make my own red sauce that I have won awards for. I know that I will need help and ideally I would like to hire an old world Italian to fine tune the recipes. I know quite about running a restaurant as my aunt has been working in the restaurant industry for many years and is now a regional manager for chain of sit down joints. I have learned quite a bit from her and I know that she would help me.

tom_g's avatar

First, your pizza has to be amazing. Second, don’t do what everyone else is doing. Here in Massachusetts, you can’t drive 1 mile without coming across a sh*tty New England Greek-style pizza joint (sweet sauce, greasy, etc). There are many towns or areas that really have no choice. You can pick any random pizza place and you will receive the same crap product.

So, make an amazing pizza, and make it in a style that is different for your part of the country.

mrlaconic's avatar

@ragingloli I don’t know how I feel about having other offerings. I think if I were in a residential area I would. However no one lives in this area (there are no houses and no apartments). I would probably be open from like 11:00AM to 6:00PM except on game nights (the baseball and football statdiums are right now the street and there are negotiations to build a new basketball . hockey arena in the area). I really think people will just come in for some pizza on lunch or before / after a game and bounce.

marinelife's avatar

First, consider that evenings and weekends will be shot for the next dew years while you are running your restaurant.

Next, how industril is your area? Will you have enough non-wor hours population to sustain the business?

mrlaconic's avatar

@marinelife – I partially answer your question in my answer to @ragingloli

As for the nights and weekends I am fine with that. I work like 80 or 90 hours a week right now and I am brunt out. While I am sure it will be tough I really feel I would have a lot more fun.

mrlaconic's avatar

@tom_g there are no other pizza joints the area. I think there is a dominos a few blocks up but you can’t get slices there. The closest thing to what I Want to do is about a 1¾ mile drive / walk

CWOTUS's avatar

Before you commit yourself to a lease and a lot of expensive equipment and staff, consider getting started in the restaurant business by investing in a food truck or cart.

I know #7 on this list pretty well, since I helped to finance its construction. That’s not even a truck, but a trailer she pulls every day with a Jeep Comanche.

mrlaconic's avatar

@CWOTUS great suggestion. The last thing I would want is to find myself in a lease with a failing business. Unfortunately, Seattle has weird rules about food trucks. There are so many people operating them and so few places you can park them. There are no two days that you see the same food trucks… they operate on a rotating schedule.

LostInParadise's avatar

Have you considered buying into a franchise? I know it is not as glamorous as starting your own place, but the parent company might be able to make starting up go a bit smoother.

mrlaconic's avatar

There are no franchises out here. I mean we have a lot domino’s and pizza hut but that’s not what I want. We don’t have establishments like ray’s (NY) or Regina Pizzeria (MA) where you can get a good slice (and honestly I really don’t think either rays or regina are that good – I have had better at 1 spot mom and pop shops)

_Whitetigress's avatar

I say go for it. Get yourself a lawyer buddy to figure out the legalities of hiring workers and get in the know of state regulations regarding the work place. Experiment with your fixed costs and variable costs.

YARNLADY's avatar

Did you know you can purchase a pizza franchise from an established company such as Domino’s and then hire an experienced manager and workers?

hug_of_war's avatar

One thing to consider is, are you the entrepreneurial type? Does the idea of having very little free time for the next few years (at least) scare you? Do you have the ambition to work from sun up to sun down for days and days on end without knowing if you will be a success or not? Do you know anything about marketing and advertising? Do you know how expensive it is to start an eatery?

Do you have any experience in a professional kitchen? Do you know anything about requirements for commercial kitchens? Do you have any money to put into it? How many kinds of pizza will you offer? How are your “people skills”? In the beginning you may not be able to hire someone to manage (or at least not all the time) so do you know how to manage employees?

Have you asked around, collected any data on if people are interested in that type of thing? Do you have a business plan? Done any research on eateries? Know anything about food costs for businesses?

There is a lot to think about. A LOT. Are there any locations currently available for lease? Location is everything. Not just “is this a generally busy area”, but when is traffic the highest? Is there a huge need for lunch places but not so much for dinner? You need to know that.

Qingu's avatar

If you are serious about doing this, let me tell you—a good red sauce is not going to cut it. Not even close. There is so much more to making good pizza than slopping sauce and cheese on dough. Add to the fact that you’ll be competing against Dominos, with all the benefits of a corporate chain, and that most people have no taste and are conditioned to like fast food, and what you’re suggesting sounds very daunting.

The best pizza I have ever eaten is one I made myself, from Cook’s Illustrated’s New York-style thin-crust pizza recipe. I would highly suggest trying to make this yourself. It’s ideal for serving as slices, too.

The key to this recipe is resting the dough overnight so that the yeast slowly ferments and develops more flavor. That time commitment would be something to consider for restaurant logistics.

jca's avatar

If it’s an industrial area, you have to consider that many blue collar people will often be broke. Something to take into consideration. Paydays and the day after, maybe you’ll be busy. Other days, you’re taking your chances.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Would you mind updating us on the pizza business idea?

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