Making dough to make dough
Mike Bausch of Andolini’s Pizzeria explained why you should have pizza on your menu. During his 2016 Nightclub & Bar session in Las Vegas, Bausch broke down the ins and outs of making pizza work for you, regardless of your concept and theme. So, why should you be making pizzas?
First, people who eat at a bar or nightclub tend to stay longer. If they stay longer at your venue, they’re not at your competitors’ venues. Also, you’re able to sell them another beverage. Second, pizza adds a selling point for those who aren’t drinking (designated drivers, for instance) to be in your venue. And third, pizza is a way for you to build your bottom line.
Not convinced by just those three reasons? Then consider that pizza:
- is popular;
- is versatile and fast;
- offers guests a communal experience versus the persona experience of sandwiches and other foods;
- can be a painless addition to your menu;
- is easy to master.
So how do you make pizza work for your brand? You define your brand first, because once it has been defined pizza can’t hurt it, says Bausch. Make your pizzas work for your brand they’ll add value. You can also theme the style of pizza you make to fit your brand and concept. Irish pubs, speakeasies, nightclubs, dive bars… All of these types of bars and can benefit from pizza if operators make their creations their own. And how do you make pizza your own? You adopt a style and make it great. The great thing about pizza is that there are many styles for you to choose from:
- New York;
- St. Louis;
- Your own.
That’s right, your own style of pizza, one that works with your theme and concept, and helps define your brand. There is also the option to forego styles altogether and just offer cheese on bread. No matter what style you decide on, use quality products, make it delicious, and use your space to make it effective. Now, if you’re thinking you can’t possibly take on the “big boys” or established pizzerias to become the best pizza maker in town, you’re wrong. The big boys aren’t necessarily the best; they’re often just the best known.
Taking on the so-called big boys means producing amazing pizza. To accomplish that goal you’ll need the keys to making a simple but incredible pie:
- Good flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt and yeast.
- Non-cellulose cheese.
- Don’t buy into the water myths. Many experts and websites have debunked water myths, with several finding that crispness of crust is most important for an enjoyable pizza experience.
- Trial and error. You’re probably not going to nail it immediately, which is great because dialing in your recipe or recipes, cooking methods, and times means tasting a lot of pizza. Nothing wrong with that!
You’ll need the proper equipment to make great pizza. One of these bits of kit is the oven, or ovens. There are convection ovens, radiation ovens, and conduction ovens, and each have their pros and cons. Other things to research and consider are gas ovens, deck ovens (also known as brick gas ovens and Rotoflex ovens), and electric ovens. If you’re a small operation with a small kitchen (or no kitchen at all), don’t worry – there are solutions available. Check out the BakerStone Pizza Oven Box, the TurboChef Fire, or Merrychef Eikon ovens for fast, efficient, space-saving pizza cooking. You will also have to decide on using wood or coal, and whether or not you want to use a conveyor belt. Another crucial piece of equipment is your POS system because of the multiple modifiers inherent to pizza. Make sure you have a POS system that can handle your pizza program. Whatever equipment you choose, use your space correctly: your work should flow in a circle, you should avoid redundant or clunky workflows, and remember that less space is more.
Alright! You’ve got your equipment installed, you’ve chosen your style(s) and tied them in to your concept and brand, your recipe(s) has/have been perfected, your POS system is running like a champ… Now it’s time to let everyone know about your pizza and make money. Bausch recommends pricing your product 20% to 25% plus what the market will bear. Then market your pizza by selling the sizzle and bragging about your product. To succeed with pizza, make sure it’s placed on your menu in an easy-to-read section or sections and that everything related to it is straight to the point. Take Bausch’s pizza tips to heart and you’ll become a true pizza destination.