How to Start a Cheap Pizza Business

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Every neighborhood seems to have its own signature cheap pizzeria. Pizza restraurants are popular with entrepreneurs because pizzas require a limited range of ingredients and less training for cooks. After a few months of operation, your pizzeria could become the community’s favorite choice for fresh and affordable “Italian pie.” Operating a franchise could add to your costs, but the affiliation will give your restaurant important name recognition. Alternately, opening an independent pizzeria will allow you to spend that money on your own restaurant and choose your own ingredients.

Draft a business plan, which will give you a sense of how many employees you can hire, what kind of clientele you will need to attract, and how much business you need to acquire to break even. It might cost you several thousand dollars to rent and operate a space, depending on cost-of-living and real estate prices in the area. You can decide from these factors whether having a dine-in option is preferrable.

Rent a restaurant space. The kitchen will need to be in line with food and safety codes, so a recently-vacated restaurant would be ideal because the space is already outfitted for restraurant use--and you can sometimes purchase kitchen equipment as part of the deal. Adapting buildings that have been used for other purposes can be expensive and time-consuming.

Acquire restaurant furnishings, if your restaurant includes a dining-in option. Your restaurant will need a wide oven, which you can find relatively inexpensive on the secondary market, and the dining areas will need to be outfitted with tables, chairs, and a countertop for the cash register. If you choose to open a take-out only restaurant, you only need a limited waiting area, a countertop, and kitchen space.

Schedule an inspection with your city or county's health department. The inspectors make sure that the building is compliant with health and safety regulations. You should also be approved by the fire marshall, who will set a maximum number of people who can be in the building at any single time.

Attach a sign to the building’s facade, with the restaurant’s name. Also provide the restaurant’s hours to the front windows. The sign does not have to be intricate, but it should make it clear that it is a restaurant. Many pizzerias take Italian names.

Design the pizzeria’s menu. The menu should list appetizers, specialties, and drinks, as well as any discounts. Print and laminate a menu for each seat in your pizzeria, and also print cheap fliers to distribute for call-in orders and as advertisements. The fliers should have the hours of the restaurant.

Hire cooks and waiting staff. Cooks should have experience preparing food and be accountable for cleanliness and food regulations. Cooks will have to handle extreme heat, and lift boxes of supplies, so they should be able to lift weight from 20 to 50 pounds without straining. Waiters in a pizzeria are optional, but might make the restaurant more efficient by speeding service up and more attractive by providing the personal touch to customers. If you do not have experience in commercial cooking, consider hiring a chef, who can direct the kitchen staff and manage supplies. You might save expense by not hiring a chef, but a qualified, modestly-paid chef can make your kitchen and supply-purchasing more efficient and raise overall production.

Purchase the supplies. You can purchase supplies at the numerous wholesale food suppliers. You will need pizza dough and various pizza ingredients, cooking supplies like oil, and drinks. You can also buy plates, disposable boxes for leftovers, and glasses. Many pizzerias save time by using paper plates and plastic cups instead of reusable plates and glasses.

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About the Author

John Yargo is a sports writer, living in Orlando, Fla. His work regularly appears in the "Jackson Free Press," and he has published articles on theater, fiction and art history. He has also received a master's degree in English.

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