Digital kiosk: Over the past few decades, the prepared food industry has boomed as consumers increasingly rely on quick and easy meals to accommodate their busy schedules. Pizza, one of the most popular prepared foods, can be tailored to fit numerous tastes and has become a staple product of thousands of take-out and delivery pizza businesses. However, it’s important for any entrepreneur to be aware that the majority of new prepared food businesses fail in their first year due to lack of essential business strategy and management skills.
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1. Gain culinary experience.
Though you don’t need any certification to start a pizza business, it’s a good idea to attend a culinary trade school where you’ll learn to cook more than pizza. Offering additional dishes on the menu could attract more customers for your own pizza business.
- Whether you actually attend culinary school or spend years working in a pizzeria, the important thing is to gather the experience you’ll need to help your business be successful. This could be done through formal education or through hands-on experience.
- Some pizza chefs recommend traveling to Italy for an apprenticeship to learn the original art of making delicious pizza.
2. Take some business classes.
Even though you will be involved in the food industry, it is still important to have some kind of business savvy under your belt. You will be responsible for ensuring your business runs smoothly and providing your employees with reliable income. So it will be beneficial for you to gain some insight on the business aspects of running a pizza place.
3. Get experience in the industry.
Check out other pizza businesses and see how they run. Spend some time learning the ropes at another pizza business and do your research. The insights you’ll gain about not only how to make a good pizza, but also how to run a business, will be useful for your own endeavour.
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4. Figure out what kind of pizza place you want to open.
Write a business plan that includes a description of your pizza business, the market you intend to sell to, your marketing strategy, projected revenue, taxes, and start-up costs.
- There are many types of pizzerias, so spend some time thinking about what kind you want to create. There are family-style pizza joints, pizzerias with traditional wood stoves, buffet style pizza places, pizza by the slice, among others. You should also choose whether you want to offer delivery service or dine in and take out only.
- There are also many styles of pizza to choose between – like Chicago-style deep dish, Sicilian, Neopolitan, thin crust, gourmet, etc.
- Deciding what kinds of food you want to serve is important, but remember that most pizza consumers prefer quality over quantity.
- You will also need to decide on what complementary food to serve. You may want to include salads for your more health-conscious customers. Or maybe you’ll want to include an excellent dessert menu with tiramisu and flan. Some more common menu items at pizza restaurants are varieties of pasta dishes, breadsticks, calzones.
5. Figure out a way to set your business apart.
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6. Choose between a franchise or an independent operation.
7. Choose a logo.
8. Enlist the help of a realtor.
- Try to choose a realtor that has experience with commercial property, especially in dealing with restaurant locations.
- When choosing a location, it is important to know the area and keep your expected clientele in mind. For example, if you choose a location in a low-income area and decide to open a gourmet pizza place with expensive pies, your business may suffer.
9. Look at available properties in your budget.
- Your pizza business itself may require some renovations – like installing wood pizza ovens or additional seating for customers.
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10. Think about visibility and access.
Choose a location for your pizza business that is accessible, visible, and provides plenty of traffic to attract customers. Check with your city to see if it’s zoned for a food company before you sign any lease agreement.
- A good location is crucial, especially for a successful restaurant. Because pizza is such a popular food, a great location for your pizzeria would be in high traffic areas – like busy downtown streets, near shopping malls, close to college campuses, etc.
11. Make sure you are compliant with all laws.
- Additionally, keep in mind that you will need to acquire a liquor license if you want to be able to serve alcohol at your pizza establishment. This is another thing you will need to look into with your local health and safety authority, as regulations vary from state to state.
- If you are interested in starting a pizza business in your home, you can do so as long as you make sure you apply for a proper food license. Without this license, it will be illegal for you to prepare and serve food to people for money – so don’t skip this step. Check with your local city hall to find out exactly what attaining the license entails since regulations can vary from place to place.
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12. Determine how much start-up money you need.
- These costs include rent and utilities at your location, equipment costs, supply costs, advertising fees, employee salaries, among other things.
13. Get a business loan.
Go to your bank and see if you can get approved for a business loan. You will need to provide the loan officer with a detailed business plan including expected costs and the eventual rate of return as well as projections regarding eventual profit.
- Additionally, look into grants and loans from the Small Business Administration.
- Check out Get a Business Loan, Get a Small Business Loan, or Get SBA Small Business Loans for more information.
14. Check out what support your city offers for small businesses.
Many cities offer financial support for small businesses in their area. You should go to your local chamber of commerce and find out what kind of assistance you are eligible for.
15. Borrow from private investors.
Obtain the capital you need from private investors. These are people who are willing to finance your business.
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16. Acquire the necessary equipment.
Buy equipment for your pizza business. You’ll need a refrigerator and freezer, gas ovens, a dough mixer, a butcher block table, pans and racks, measuring cups, flat bottom ladles, pizza boxes, napkins, and if you’re planning to deliver pizzas, a delivery vehicle.
- This list, however, is not comprehensive. You should consider asking someone who already owns a pizza business for a complete listing of all the equipment they use on a daily basis in their business.
17. Create a menu.
Decide what kinds of foods and beverages you will sell and create a menu. You should consider including assorted pizzas as well as other Italian dishes. Be clear and plan the design carefully. Make sure you proof your menu for errors.
18. Hire employees.
You’ll need a dependable staff to maintain a smoothly running business. Interview employees, and hire those that are reliable, personable, and efficient.
19. Fill out all necessary forms and applications.
You should apply for an employer’s identification number (EIN) from the appropriate tax authority. You’ll need an EIN to legally hire employees.
- Also make sure to register your pizza business with your city if necessary to obtain a business license.
20. Make ads.
Design advertisements that are pleasing to look at and offer all of the necessary information about your business – the location, the goods you provide (pizza), your contact information, etc
21. Advertise in local newspapers or on the internet.
Advertise your pizza business in the local media, on flyers, and on the Internet. It is important for people to see your advertisements so that you can start drawing more business.
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22. Word of mouth.
Tell all of your friends about your new pizza business. Ask them to come try your food. The fastest way for your business to gain popularity is by people telling others about it.X
23. Offer discounts.
A good way to get people to try a new restaurant is by luring them in with discounts and great deals. Include coupons or other discounts in your paper or online advertisements. However, understand that this is a temporary push to gain new customers, not a long term fix. If you continue offering discounts for too long, it will negatively impact your brand image.
24. Things You’ll Need
- Business plan
- Investment capital
- Employer’s identification number
- Health and safety permit and business license
- Refrigerator and freezer
- Gas ovens
- Dough mixer
- Butcher block table
- Pans and racks
- Measuring cups
- Flat bottom ladles
- Pizza boxes and napkins
- Delivery vehicle
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25. More tips
Make sure to have a website so that customers can check out what your business has to offer, your prices, etc.
Promote your pizza business by offering samples at local events, in supermarkets, and anywhere on the street.