The Business of Pizza

Mangia, mangia … money!

So, you love pizza and make it all the time at home. Are you looking to take this love to the next level? Opening your own pizzeria might be just for you! Like any business, you have to have some good information, know-how, and a lot of hard work to make it a success. But you will being doing something you love, hopefully making a great living.

Franchise vs. Ownership
In general, there are two ways to go about getting started in the pizza business: franchising or owning your own pizza shop. There are some basic differences between the two approaches.

  • Owning a franchise means that you have limited control over some basic parts of your business operations. Menu items, pricing, marketing, supplies, and even production techniques will all be dictated by the larger corporation. When you own your own pizzeria, you are responsible for all of these decisions.

  • You will probably need more cash to buy a franchise than to start your own business. Franchises usually require cash up front, and you will be paying a franchise royalty fee as well as long as you own the business. When starting your own pizzeria, you can often purchase used equipment and save a considerable amount of money.

  • Starting up a franchise can be easier than starting your own pizzeria from scratch. You begin your business with name recognition and issues such as supplies, production, and advertising already established.

  • With an independently-owned pizzeria, you are in charge and are responsible for all the decisions. You are also responsible if things don’t go as planned. If you are inexperienced in running a business or working in the restaurant industry, this can be quite a challenge. When you purchase a franchise, the franchiser will be available to help you with financing, hiring issues, management techniques, advertising issues, and how to manage your facility. 

So, it boils down to this. If you have the spirit of a true entrepreneur, you probably would not be happy with owning a franchise. Independent ownership works well for self-starters, people with experience in the restaurant management industry, and people who have support (both in expertise and financial) from someone who has worked in this industry. A person who wants a more turn-key type operation, who is interested in having a lot of top-down support, and who wants to see larger growth at the beginning of the business is better suited for a franchise. Money is a consideration in both approaches, so if you are looking for the better deal, you will have to do your research, as there is no one answer to this question.

For a pizza lover and someone who wants to own his or her own business, what a wonderful lifelong profession this could be. Here are some great resources to check out if you are interested in starting your own pizzeria:

Pizza Today
Pizza Today was started in 1984 by a solo pizzeria owner in search of resources to grow his business. He didn’t find what he was looking for, so he started a magazine himself, Pizza Today. Emerald Expositions acquired it in 2015 and moved operations to Louisville, Kentucky with expanded operations, showcasing the pizza business through Pizza Today, the International Pizza Expo, and the National Association of Pizzeria Operators. The Pizza Today website features recipes, videos, podcasts, product information, a vendor directory, and more. Get information about front of the house, the kitchen, and business operations. 

Pizza Marketplace features information for C-level pizza executive leadership, offering information and strategies for multi-unit restaurant concepts. Here you’ll find trends, industry insights, blogs, and opportunities for networking. 

PMQ Pizza Magazine
Started by folks who grew up in the pizza business, PMQ Pizza Magazine has grown from a magazine to a large online community, app, ditial editions, and social media networking. Get information on pizza business trends, and industry videos and news. 

The Pizza Pages 
Here you’ll find the pizza industry’s largest searchable online business directory. Get information on marketing, business services, ingredients and suppliers, pizza making and kitchen equipment, and business technology. 

International Pizza Expo

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Talk about the World of Pizza … the International Pizza Expo is the largest and oldest pizza trade show in the world. Designed for pizzeria owners and operators, it is held in Las Vegas and is the place to go if you own your own pizzeria or are interesting in learning the business. It is a fantastic place to network, get deals on equipment, learn some new techniques, check out the newest innovations, and have some fun in the process.

Encompassing an area as big as five football fields, the Pizza Expo has 1,000 booths representing supplies, chains, franchises, and more. More than 10,000 attendees from all fifty states and over 40 foreign countries attend, giving you plenty of networking opportunities. The show also hosts the International Pizza Challenge and a gourmet recipe contest. The fun continues with the World Pizza Games, which feature individual events and team acrobatics. You’ll see acrobatic dough tossing and contests for the fastest dough, largest dough stretch, fastest pizza box folding, and the longest spin.

But most importantly, it is the place for you to go to learn all you can about the industry, get deals on equipment and supplies, and meet the movers and shakers in the pizza business.