How do I Open my Own Pizza Restaurant?

Dee S.

For those people with an entrepreneurial spirit and a love for pizza, owning a pizza restaurant may be a dream come true. There are several factors that must come into play and many decisions that must be made before the restaurant can open. Planning and foresight are important qualities that the owner must possess to ensure the success of the business.

A pizza in an oven.
A pizza in an oven.

A sound business plan will set any potential owner in the right direction, allowing her to think about how many restaurants she wants and how to go about reaching her goals. A business plan is essential to calculating the start-up costs, which can reach the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the royalty fees, franchise fees, and store deposit fees if a franchise is in the plans. Many times, a franchise requires that the owner must personally qualify for a certain net worth and have a certain amount of liquid assets, as well.

Pizza parlors are very common franchises.
Pizza parlors are very common franchises.

First, a few basic decisions must be made. The pizza restaurant will either be a “family-owned” business or it will be part of a franchise. If it is a “family-owned” business, several additional considerations must be made. For example, what style of pizza will be available — New York style, Chicago Style, or St. Louis style to name just a few. Also, branding and marketing will be essential for a pizza restaurant that is not part of a well-known franchise.

Gourmet and upscale pizza parlors are not expected to deliver pizzas, however customers expect this option from regular take out parlors.
Gourmet and upscale pizza parlors are not expected to deliver pizzas, however customers expect this option from regular take out parlors.

Next, for both “family-owned” pizza restaurants and franchises, location is one of the most important factors. The perfect location will have plenty of traffic – not too far off of the beaten path. The people in the area will have an affinity for pizza. For example, an area surrounded nursing homes or assisted-living condos may not be the best idea. However, an area with plenty of college students, families, and busy workers may be great.

Once the location is determined, the actual restaurant space must be found. Typically, a carry-out and delivery pizza restaurant should be around 1,200 to 1,400 square feet (366 – 427 square meters). If there is going to be a sit-down area in the restaurant, it must be much larger.

Finding food suppliers and equipment is next on the list. With a franchise, those decisions are typically pre-made by the parent company. However, they can still be a true expense – regardless of whether a restaurant is a franchise or a “family-owned” business. Food, boxes, flatware (whether plastic or metal), condiments, furniture, computers, telephones, ovens, refrigerators, menus, coupons, advertising, and much more goes into making a successful pizza restaurant. In addition, time must be spent finding reliable workers, and then, having the ability to pay them their wages.

Opening a pizza franchise often requires several hundred thousand dollars in assets and cash.
Opening a pizza franchise often requires several hundred thousand dollars in assets and cash.

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