Every neighborhood needs a local pizzeria on the corner serving the residents of the community with their delicious fresh-baked pies. Starting a pizza business is a smart business investment since 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, and pizzerias are known to have one of the lowest closure rates among restaurant categories.

Starting a business is an extensive undertaking that requires a laundry list of supplies, a thorough administrative checklist, licensing, attention to detail, and of course, award-winning recipes. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of starting your own pizza business.

The Business Checklist for Opening a Pizza Shop

The scope of popularity for pizzerias is so daunting that when you break down the statistics of how much pizza Americans consume per day, you’re looking at approximately 350 slices per second or 100 acres worth of pizza per day. There is a reason pizza shops account for 17% of the restaurants in the nation. In fact, the most popular pizzeria is located in Anchorage, Alaska grosses $6 million annually.

Create a Business Plan

man thinking in front of a chalk board

The first thing to do when starting any business, regardless of the industry, is to create a business plan. A business plan will look different for each business, but it will allow you to set your goals and objectives for your pizza shop. It will act as an operational, marketing, and financial roadmap. It can also be a tool used to attract investors or secure financing through a banking institution.

There is an essential structure to any successful business plan. There are seven primary elements, though not all may apply to every business. In the case of a pizza shop, all are needed, with supporting documentation and data.

Get Your Pizza Shop Registered

After completing the business plan for your pizza shop, you can start registering your business. For this, you will need to choose a business entity and acquire your employer identification number (EIN), also known as a business tax ID number. Visit the IRS website and register to get EIN online almost instantly.

Once you’ve acquired your EIN, you can register your business. Every state has a different process, but many offer an online database to see if your desired business name is available. If so, simply follow the guidelines to register your pizza shop under that name.

Get Your Permits and Licensing

lady reading a permit form

Every business needs certain permits and licenses to sell its product, especially if your product is a hot and tasty slice of pizza. Food safety is always a top priority and will require special permits to serve. The requirements for these permits and licensing will vary from state to state but typically include a food handler’s permit for each employee, a food service license for the business, and a building health permit for the physical location. If you plan on serving alcohol at your pizzeria, you will also need a liquor license.

Be sure to obtain all these permits and licenses before opening your doors or serving a single customer. Not only will it cover you legally, but it will give your customers peace of mind about the product they’re receiving.

Obtain Funding for Your Pizza Shop

A financial plan was a crucial step in your business plan that should have been completed before registering your business or getting your permits and licensing. Opening a simple pizza counter with a few booths for customers can cost between $75,000 to $100,000. The cost rises if you want to open a full-scale, sit-down pizza restaurant or add elevated equipment like a wood-burning pizza oven.

Here are some expenses to keep in mind when securing funding and creating a budget:

Fortunately, there are various options for financing, like business loans and credit cards. You can even finance equipment for your pizza shop. At this step, your business plan will come in handy. Any financial institution or potential investor will want to see that you have a solid, throughout business plan.

Open a Bank Account for Your Pizza Shop

national bank of the united state

Once you obtain your financing, you’ll need a business bank account for the funds to keep track of expenses, especially for tax purposes. Opening up a business bank account will also allow you to keep your personal expenses from those pertaining to your business. Being able to differentiate will also assist in building your business credit score. A business credit score is also a good reason to obtain your EIN, regardless of whether your pizza shop absolutely needs one.

To start, your pizzeria will need a business checking account and business credit card. Once they’re set up, be sure to only use them for business expenses pertaining to the pizza shop. Expenses include payroll, supplies, bills, and so on.

Operational Checklist for Opening a Pizza Shop

Some steps you’ll take in opening your pizza shop overlap with others. For example, you will have to decide on a concept before you can create a business plan for your pizza shop. Not only will this help you with licensing and permits, but it will help determine a realistic budget for your venture. Creating your business branding will take place in writing out your business plan as you’re looking at marketing.

Choose a Concept for Your Pizza Shop

pizza stand, pizza delivery guy, pizza on dinning table

There are several dining options when it comes to pizza. Looking at the geographical area you desire to place your business or the concepts of your competitors could assist in determining what concept will work best for you. Always be aware of your financial options as you dream up your ideal pizza shop.

Some of the options for dining are as follows:

Decide on a Pizza Shop Location

If you opt for a storefront instead of a ghost kitchen, you’ll need to scout a location. In your search, there are points you’ll need to consider and questions you’ll need to answer. These steps will help you find a location that is primed for a successful business.

Here are some points to consider when searching for a pizza shop location:

Some of the questions you’ll be asking yourself through this time have to do with the market in your desired location, foot traffic, condition of the desired location, and target demographic. Questions like, are there important landmarks, venues, or destinations in the area? Is there enough foot traffic for business? Who are my competitors, and how will their business affect mine?

Design the Branding of Your Pizza Shop

guy thinking of a brand

Getting stable business requires more than the occasional passerby or word of mouth of previous customers; you need to properly market your pizzeria. How you advertise your product is part of your marketing strategy. The first step in formulating that strategy is figuring out what your business offers and who your ideal customer is. Once you’ve collected that data, you can begin to think of how to appeal to your target demographic.

Your target demographic will determine the aesthetic you select for all your branding. The point is to make advertisements that are appealing to your ideal customer. It will also help you to decide what platforms to use for your marketing.

Some of the questions you might come across in this process are as follows:

Technology has made leaps and bounds in enabling us to reach a wider audience than we may be able to physically. A strong presence on social media connects you to thousands, if not millions of people. Social media will give you the opportunity to not only talk about your pizza but also show your pizza. The best part is that the majority of social media apps are free.

Plan your Pizza Shop Menu

couple checking a restaurant menu

The type of restaurant format you decide on will often dictate what kind of food you’re going to sell. The primary product will always be pizza, but there are other items to consider as well. Start with your best pizza recipe and go from there.

A couple of areas that are commonly seen on a pizza shop menu and would easily integrate into your menu are as follows:

Put together a concise list, build an aesthetic around the menu, bringing in the market research from a previous step. Be sure the menu reflects the branding of the business and goes hand in hand with the marketing campaigns you’ve created.

Secure Your Supplies

supply delivery

Once you know what food you’ll be selling out of your Pizza shop, you can make a list of the ingredients and materials you’ll need to make those menu items. After you’ve made your exhaustive list, you can start the hunt for an inventory supplier.

There are various wholesale suppliers for the food industry that would meet all your inventory needs, but there is also the option of sourcing locally. Using local retailers is entirely dependent on your location and what is available in your area.

Before making a decision on a supplier, be sure to do your research and learn about other customers’ experiences with that supplier. Reading reviews and chatting with other industry professionals could help you avoid miscommunications or inventory delays.

Set Up your System

To run a successful business, you need to be able to keep track of your inventory, easily order your supplies, keep account of your spending, and exchange goods for currency with your customer. All of these processes involve incorporating technology through software like a Point of Sale (POS) system. Other considerations are accounting software, restaurant inventory management, and more.

A good POS should allow you to program your regular menu items while allowing for customization. You’ll also need a system that accommodates promotions and discounts, including coupon codes, customer rewards programs, dynamic pricing, and delivery and curbside capabilities.

Design Your Pizza Shop

man holding an architectural plan

This is the step where you really get to stretch your creative muscles and design the look and feel of your pizza shop. You’ll start with your restaurant floor plan and layout. As the owner, this is your opportunity to put your unique thumbprint on the business.

Personal design preferences aside, you want to make sure your pizzeria is inviting and pleasing. You want to create a space where people will want to sit down and have a meal. A place that is warm and beckons customers to linger and continue to enjoy the delicious food being sold.

There is a long checklist of equipment and furniture you will need to accommodate your customers. Here are a few to consider:

When you’re designing the layout of all these items, especially on the restaurant floor, be mindful of the windows, doors, and exits. You want to make sure the layout doesn’t cause any obstructions or hinder any customer from swiftly exiting in the event of an emergency.

Hire Your Pizza Shop Staff

a cashier, a pizza man, and a pizza delivery guy(pizzeria staffs)

Recruiting and hiring the right crew to work and manage your pizza shop can be the factor that makes or breaks your business. Customer service is always the top priority of any business, and good customer service comes from friendly, knowledgeable, and capable employees.

Though recruiting can seem overwhelming, there are simple steps to follow to break it down easily:

Final Thoughts

Accomplishing all the steps laid out in this article will have your pizza business up and running successfully in no time. You’ll have the pizzeria of your dreams with a personally designed aesthetic, wonderful food, a fantastic location, and a staff that feels more like family than employees.

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