How to open a fast casual pizza chain

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Team Andrew

How to open a fast casual pizza chain

The fast Casual pizza world is growing in leaps and bounds. With all the successes out there with companies like Chipoltli ,  Smash burger and new comers like Blaze pizza it seems to be a no -brainer for many entrepreneurs  to take the plunge and the challenge.

Lets face it ease of operation limited skilled labor and hopefully a great product to sell like pizza “should be” easy! With national sales of about $40,000,000.00 that’s a lot of zeros (and pepperonis)   it’s one of Americas favorites when it comes to fast food.  So what does it take to make it happen.?  First and foremost it takes the commitment. Some people don’t realize the amount of energy needed weather that be financially,  mentally and of time I assure you its all the above and it can be pleasure or not.

Capital is always important being properly financed is the way to go. The first thing to do is a business plan.  That’s correct a business plan to see what it will cost to open how many pizzas do i have to sell to break even, whats my food cost what my labor   and crunch those numbers

If you can get a great business plan template it will cover all the bases. It will provide you with important things like  your costs for equipment, real estate, renovations, signage, plumbing, electric, deposits for utilities, insurance avg ticket per person food cost, labor taxes, sales forecasts, how many seats  and  all types of things you might not be thinking with or budgeting. There  is nothing worse then running out of monies when pursuing your dreams.

After you have a grip on the numbers, investments, and been enlightened. You might want to go visit some successful concepts and see what you see!  Why are they busy?  what do people purchase? ,what are the price points? what about the location the brand identity? You need to think! .

After you decide to make the commitment  (take the plunge)  your going to need  a great location and a good strong lease  ( and  negotiation skills that will will allow you to have good terms and not problems) with your land lord.  Your lease should always  be reviewed  by your attorney because the fine print is their for the land lords sake not yours.   You have heard location, location ,location before. Well that is because it’s usually all  about location location ,location especially for a fast casual pizza place!  Many people make the mistake of the cheaper rent trap. They don’t realize that it takes people traffic,  volume and at the same time limited competition or you can say alternative dining choices to win the fast casual game. They say we have this location its pretty good about a couple miles away from  the main action the rent is a little better and I think  people will come and drive. I say not!  Higher rent  like 1000.00  or more can mean 50 people more a day lets say $15,000 in sales more a month as an example verses just breaking even or not even that.  When your looking around you should realize that the people have to be eating somewhere nearby and you want to take away a bunch of that business no matter who it is and that’s what your going to do!

That’s when you put together “who you are”. A great logo, a great color scheme, some great graphics and your culture all this is said by how you portray yourself in all areas, and  of course some great pizza!!  You might want to hire a good consultant who can provide you with what you need on interior design and an restaurant designer who knows how to design restaurants not just a local Architect

That’s also  when you say to your self “can I really   make better pizza then them? Or “How can I learn to do that? ” We always recommend professional one on one training  from the  The Pizza School of New York  They help launch more fast casual concepts then anyone in the pizza business. If your going to learn you might as well invest a few dollars in the best training  money can buy!

The road is long and some times takes much longer then one would think. Getting permits good contractors and architects who can work together to get things done is crucial be  sure you have dead lines and hold them accountable for delays or you will be paying rent in know time adding cost and stress to you budget.

A note on equipment  shop around find the best deals you can bulk deals can usually  get you better prices with equipment dealers and getting most of your stuff from one reliable source can make your life a lot easier when it comes to installations and timing.

Avoid used regeneration its usually winds up costing you more in the long run the its worth. The only used equipment that i have seen last for ever is a Hobart Mixer Refurbished is best they last for ever!  Talk about service warranties, installation cost and remember one thing you get what you pay for! .

There are a lot of great web sites out there to help but a good consultant can really help you too!   We get a lot of calls from people who want to purchase an oven and want to open a fast casual pizza chain etc. They love to talk about their dreams and tell me all about the concept. I think it’s great and I always  engage them to tell me what they are doing  and see what they are missing or thinking ! A lot of times it’s the” estimated budget” that they don’t have correctly, or the ability to make great pizza that’s a true concern. they will talk all day about there ideas and dreams and I always love to hear it!  We always invite them down show them how to cook and test the oven too. Its a great time for the pizza world!

Scot Cosentino

President New York Brick Oven Company





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