Mioposto, a 48-seat pizza house located in a bucolic setting in the Mt. Baker neighborhood in Seattle, had been open for about five years when we decided to give it more of a re-direct than a straight concept update.
Open at 6:30 a.m. for espresso and pastries (did I mention that we are in Seattle?) and then we offer the daily menu from 11 a.m. to close (10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday). We are open a lot!
Our only cooking appliance is our six-foot Woodstone wood-fired oven, and we do all of our own prep (that means roasting beets, cooking meatballs, chicken, roasting butternut squash, etc.). This all needs to be done in the oven at temperatures considerably lower than the roaring 1,000 degrees for regular service.
Before changing the physical plant we went about increasing the quality of our offerings first from completely reworking the dough recipe to the tomato sauce, cheeses, meats, etc. This was the most ardouous part of the whole process. The dough alone took us three months creating new batches of dough weekly, tweaking and doing it all over again.
Then we had to adjust the labor model to become efficient. Once we had the menu research and development done and the labor model in place we took on the next problem, which was that we were too kid focused. While we love kids, it proved to be alienating for the ‘date night, let’s have a bottle of wine and appetizer crowd’ limiting us to maybe two turns and limited check average.
For the remodel we took this loud, fast paced, kid-centric cafe and turned it into a martini sipping, barolo drinking restaurant while maintaining our local customer base. Our three day, $50,000 remodel has resulted in over $200,000 in additional annual sales. Our a.m. check average has increased 20 percent and the p.m. increase is up a whopping 40 percent.
The goal of the remodel was to warm it up…make it a cozy refuge from the Seattle drizzle seasons. We went with deep browns and orange highlights. We added a tiny, full service bar and though our liquor sales are lackluster thus far, it has increased our beer and wine sales in the evenings as well as during the afternoon hours. And I can have a martini.
Seattle boasts a number of tasty pizza houses. We determined that we needed to create big flavored, low prep small plates as well as make our pies uniquely compelling to carve out a niche. For instance, out selling our pepperoni pizza is our roasted butternut squash pizza with crisp pancetta and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinaigrette. Or the bacon and egg pie with tutta calabria spicy sauce, mozzerella, pancetta fresh eggs cracked right on the raw dough, grana and breadcrumbs.
Now the hunt for new locations.
It’s still loud.