7 Reasons Not to Open a Pizzeria

opening a pizzeria

After eight years of writing for the the pizza industry, I’ve learned a lot of reasons why the average person should think twice about opening a pizzeria. Despite what the layperson may think, it’s far from a way to get rich quick.

Reason #1: It’s Hard Work!
The average pizza lover often looks at running a pizza shop as something fun they’d like to do when they “retire.” Let me tell you, hearing it from the operators I’ve talked to, running a pizzeria is a 24/7 business.

Reason #2: There’s More Liability Involved
Pizzerias require more insurance than regular restaurants because they’re seen as a risk due to drivers carrying cash and making “fast” deliveries.

Reason #3: The Price of Cheese is Constantly Changing
Over the past few years the price of cheese, one of pizza’s most popular ingredients, has gone up and down like a roller coaster, making it hard to keep a steady menu price.

Reason #4: The Competition is Intense
With more than 70,000 pizzerias in America, the competition, including those who will offer a similar product for half–or even a fourth–of your price, grows every day!

Reason #5: Staff is Transient
While this holds true for every restaurant, pizzerias also lose delivery drivers regularly when they have car/license troubles, etc.

Reason #6: You Will Work for Free
For those who enjoy a steady paycheck, starting a pizzeria will be a rude awakening. As with any startup, you will do all of the grunt work and make no money–likely for years.

Reason #7: Your Friends and Family Will Visit You at the Pizzeria
This one may read as a plus at first, but in reality, the pizzeria is the only place people will be able to visit you anymore, because that’s where you will be–all the time. For the first couple of years in business, most pizzeria operators have to put friends and family on hold.

Thankfully, tens of thousands of pizzeria operators have beat the odds and become successful despite the reasons I’ve pointed out above. If you’re one of them, how did you overcome all of these obstacles? Was it worth the struggle? Let me know in the comments below.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Bob Watts says:
    You missed "Start up is expensive!"

    My first year, I worked 90 hour weeks, but after 9 months, I was debt free. My second year, I invested a years salary back into the business and was debt free in 6 months (never borrow more than 50% of your investment!). You work and work yet there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.

    All your points are dead on, I read each and said, "Yep". Opening a pizza shop is all those things. But, your #1, #2, #3, etc. issues will be somehow associated with labor. I wish I had the answer to that. If I figure it out, I'll write a book, make a lot of money and probably do something really crazy like open another shop.

    Be community oriented. Don't give to every cause that walks through the door asking (or don't let it be known that you do). Pick your causes and be their champion. Be consistent. I like teachers, veterans and first responders. Never, NEVER, let anyone go hungry if you know about it. Be generous! Your food is the best advertisement – or should be – great food and great service are the price of admission into the business. Never, NEVER let a customer leave dissatisfied. A free meal is better than the negative advertising they will bring your way. Empower your employees to fix ANY issue a customer has.

    Thanks for the article.

    Bob Watts
    Facebook: Bob's Brick Oven

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Bob! You are completely right about the startup costs and labor. I just watched a video interview with you on your Facebook page and it looks like you're doing a LOT of unique things. I'm forwarding the video on to the other editors at PMQ.


  3. george says:
    So why are there 70,000 pizza stores & growing … this article is full of false statements… its the owners are always the weak link NOT the pizza business model
  4. Great comments Bob Watts!! And all so true! I think I need to go watch that video on your facebook page… :)

    Christine Crawford
    Cebella's Pizza