September 12, 2012

Going Deep?

If your fall/winter menu is going to include a deep-dish pizza, then you’re going to need to get a grip on some specialized dough management procedures ASAP. Deep-dish dough brings a unique set of challenges, according to our very own Dough Doctor, Tom Lehmann.

“These pizzas need to be proofed for a period of time between panning and baking,” Lehmann explains. And that’s where things can get hairy for operators who haven’t worked with deep-dish dough often.

Lunch Rush

While most pizzerias will do a substantial percentage of their sales between the hours of 5-8 p.m., the lunch rush can be quite a busy time as well. If you’re located near an office park, on a street with lots of foot traffic or if you’ve marketed a lunch special, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. can be another sweet spot in your day.

Handling the lunch rush with ease takes solid preparation in advance. Your customers don’t have time to linger at lunch, so you need to service them well while still getting them out the door quickly.

For a list of lunch rush “do’s and don’ts” from Pat Bruno, click here.

Calculating Ingredient Costs

Do you know exactly what it costs you to make each of your pizzas? If not, your price structure may not be as ideal as it should be. You can’t begin to calculate your food costs without understanding your ingredient costs.

So the first step is to write down all the ingredients used in a given pizza (or other food product). Next, look at your invoice to see what you are paying for each of the ingredients. Determine the number of ounces in each order so that you can ascertain the price per ounce that you pay for each ingredient.

Once you have that, you’re ready to go.

Begin by weighing your ingredients as you make your pizza and recording the number of ounces you use for each ingredient (dough, sauce, cheese, meat and veggie toppings).

Now, take the number of ounces for each ingredient and multiply that by the ingredient’s respective cost per ounce. For example, if your sauce costs 10 cents per ounce (a purely hypothetical example using round numbers to make the math simple) and you use 7 ounces of sauce on the pizza you are pricing, that means you put 70 cents worth of sauce onto that pizza.

Repeat this method for all ingredients, then add the numbers together for your grand total. Don’t forget to add the price of your boxes if you offer carryout or delivery!

Once you know precisely what each menu item costs you to make, you’re now armed to adjust your prices to maximize profits and keep food costs percentages in check.

Slice of Hope Effort in Full Swing

Last year Pizza Today Editor-in-Chief Jeremy White and Art Director Josh Keown cycled from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle to raise money for the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps fund the most promising breast cancer research and treatment studies nationwide. More than 200 pizzerias took part in the initiative. Together, over \$100,000 was raised for this very worthy cause.

It was such a success that we’re doing it again! This year White, Keown, Pizza Today publisher Pete Lachapelle and a team of cyclists will bike from Lakeland, Florida to Naples, Florida October 9-12. Slice of Hope needs your involvement. Together, let’s work as an industry to battle a disease that impacts just about everyone in one way or another.

Featured Recipe — Mixed Berry Dessert Pizza

Dessert pizzas were one of the fastest growing menu items last year. Capitalize on the trend by offering your own tasty treat to customers!

Mixed Berry Dessert Pizza

16-inch pizza crust
2 cups ricotta cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted