January 25, 2012
Adding a Coffee Bar?
Americans are in love with their coffee more than ever. The decade-long trend of consuming high-end espressos, lattes and cappuccinos shows no sign of slowing, and smart restaurateurs are getting into the act by using coffee bars as a growth tool.
At many of the nation’s hottest Neapolitan pizzerias, such as Spacca Napoli in Chicago or Marco’s in Denver, an espresso lineup is more than an afterthought. Realizing coffee goes hand in hand with Italian cuisine and culture, pizzerias of this ilk have found a way to turn a coffee menu into a strong revenue stream. Nick Strawhecker, chef/owner of Dante Pizzeria in Omaha, Nebraska, says, “I can’t even imagine working in a restaurant without espresso.”
If you’d like to add a coffee bar to your pizzeria, start with a high quality product, such as an Italian espresso. Drip coffee may have worked in a 1960s diner, but it’s not going to cut it here. Many coffee companies will supply you with an espresso machine and mugs, saucers, etc. so long as you commit to purchasing their beans. It’s a great way to start as long as you don’t mind missing the branding opportunity that comes with having your own mugs.
Getting the word out is a key component to a successful coffee program. For tips on marketing your new coffee offerings, click here.
Chicago-style deep-dish pizza may have been invented in the Midwest, but its popularity is nearly universal in the United States. A hearty, filling pizza, this style is without question a delicious offering customers enjoy. That said, making them for the masses on a daily basis comes with a unique set of challenges. From long cooking times to special dough considerations, there’s a lot to take into account before adding a deep-dish pie to your menu.
Let’s start with the dough. To pull off this style, says our very own Chicago pizza expert, Pat Bruno, you’re going to need to use more oil in the recipe and go with a low protein flour. Seasoned pans, two inches in depth, are another must.
To see Bruno’s 10 steps to a perfect deep-dish pizza, complete with a deep-dish dough recipe, click here.
Running Inventory Like a Champ
How often do you take inventory of key ingredients? Probably not often enough. According to International Pizza Expo speaker Jim Laube, a running inventory is something every pizzeria operator should be doing. It not only helps with food costs, he insists, but it also has a “psychological and behavioral impact” on employees. When employees notice constant, tight controls, they think twice before walking home with a pound of sausage for their Sunday brunch.
Laube advises a running inventory be kept on 10-12 high-cost and high-use items. Still, he acknowledges it is difficult to jump into a running inventory of a dozen items from the get-go. As a result, he advises operators to begin with one ingredient and ease others into the mix over a period of time.
To learn more about keeping a running inventory, click here.
With lenders tightening their belts, pizzerias have had a difficult time acquiring funding for growth and expansion projects in recent years. As the scene becomes increasingly competitive, only the most organized operators stand a chance at getting the bank to invest in their businesses.
It starts with being able to demonstrate a proven track record with quantifiable numbers, Pizza Today freelance writer Daniel Smith recently discovered when researching an article for the current issue of Pizza Today. This means having at least three years of tax returns, a personal financial statement and year-to-date financials for your business readily available for review. These should accompany well-researched projections as well as a top-notch, complete business plan that details everything from the concept’s marketing approach to how it will repay the loan, Smith found.
For more insight on acquiring capital to help grow your pizza business, click here.
Featured Recipe — Hot Pizza Wrap
Wraps are hot right now because they pair healthful, less filling options with bold flavors and portability/convenience. Thankfully, a wrap can make a great base for a pizza, as this recipe demonstrates.
Hot Pizza Wrap
12-inch flavored tortilla shell
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
1 ounce thinly sliced provolone cheese
1 ounce thinly sliced pepperoni
For the rest of this delicious recipe, click here.