Pizza is amazing. That’s fact, not opinion. Pizza is so amazing that there are more than 61,000 pizzerias in the United States and a $30 billion per year industry. Did you know that Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day? That’s three billion pizzas a year!
These days, there has been a certain shift away from the traditional, hand-tossed pepperoni – a classic in its own right – to a more artisanal craft. More and more restaurants are springing up to deliver their unique spins on pizza featuring funky cheeses, a plethora of toppings, new preparation styles, etc. These artisan pizzas, unique to their specific establishments, are a welcome addition to the fan favorite stylings of hand-tossed, deep dish, pan, Brooklyn, etc. Let’s take a moment to reflect on pizza’s origins.
Did you know that people have been putting toppings on flatbread since 500 BC? However, the tomatoes and cheese weren’t added until 1500 AD, thanks to the Neapolitans who started decorating their pies. It wasn’t until 1700 AD that people considered baking bread and toppings together to create a marvelous spectacle we now call pizza.
There are now dozens of different pizza stylings throughout the world, but let’s briefly discuss the popular ones already listed.
Hand-tossed is arguably the most traditional styling. The crust is made of standard yeast dough that’s tossed in the air and caught by hand until it flattens out to the right size and thickness.
2. Pan Pizza
Pan pizza involves less hand-eye coordination. This styling involves flattened dough balls pressed into a cast iron skillet or cake pan coated with oil to prevent sticking and a give a crispier crust. The dough rises in the pans before toppings are added.
3. Deep Dish (AKA the Chicago Slice)
Deep dish packs a punch, typically baked in a round, deep pan providing more surface area to fill with toppings. Traditionally served with the sauce on top and the toppings buried beneath, the deep dish is the cheesiest of the mentioned styles and offers more pizza per slice.
4. Brooklyn (AKA the New York Slice)
In stark contrast to the deep dish, the Brooklyn is the thinnest of the styles, requiring two hands to consume. Brooklyn style is prepared in a similar fashion to hand-tossed, only the crust is stretched much thinner.
Today’s Wordless Wednesday features pizza from Boatwerks Restaurant in Holland, Michigan! Not only does this pizza look absolutely incredible, but every Monday after 4pm, it is 50% off! Be sure to stop by and check them out!
Can we be candid for a moment? Who does not love a good pizza?! Perhaps the most common type of restaurant, pizza shops naturally need a pizza oven that fits their operations. But with so many options, how can you know you are purchasing what will fit your operation and you are getting the best value for your money? Here are some important factors to consider!
The age-old question when purchasing a pizza oven is the difference between a deck and a conveyor oven. Generally speaking, the industry has come to the consensus that deck ovens provide a better bake than conveyor ovens, but of course, there is no science to back up this claim! Major differences between deck ovens and conveyor ovens are volume, space, and amount of interaction with the product. Generally speaking, conveyor ovens are able to produce a great volume of pizzas per hour and take up more space then a deck oven, but they cut down on how much pizzas have to be touched, or moved in the baking process. Consideration of these factors will help determine the type of pizza oven that your restaurant requires!
The biggest question to consider when purchasing a pizza oven is how many pizzas you intend to cook per hour.
Does your restaurant offer pizza, but you wouldn’t consider yourselves a pizzeria? No need to purchase a specifically pizza oven. Your convection oven will do the trick! With on average 2 to 5 racks per oven, and a cook time of less than 10 minutes depending on temperature, your convection oven should have no problem turning around 20 to 50 pizzas an hour.
Deck ovens are more ideal for medium production facilities such a small pizzerias because ovens hold more pizzas at a time than convection ovens, but generally have a lower output than conveyor ovens. Deck ovens come in a range of sizes with number of decks varying from 1 up to 5. Deck ovens may require that pizzas are moved during the cooking process, so it is important to keep in mind how much you would like to touch the pizzas during the cooking process.
If your restaurant’s main focus is pizza, and you do so in large quantities, conveyor pizza ovens are you answer! Conveyor pizza ovens allow a large amount of pizzas to be produced without having added labor. A helpful hint? The longer and wider the conveyor, the greater volume of product that can be cooked due to staging products to be cooked. Conveyor pizza ovens can also be stacked to further increase production without taking a larger footprint of your kitchen. Want to bake 30% faster and at a lower temperature for a truly better taste? Check out the Middleby Marshall WOW! ovens, exclusive to Central Restaurant Products! Ask a product consultant for details!
A new trend within restaurants is having an “open kitchen” where customers are able to see their food being prepared. If your restaurant does this or plans to utilize this concept, consider ovens that either genuinely allow the process to be viewed, such as a conveyor oven, or give the illusion of a brick fire oven with Marsal and Son’s line of deck ovens! These gas deck ovens function just the same, but offer a great decorative facade.
Still not sure which direction to go? We are happy to walk you through the decision process! Give us a call at 800-215-9293 to speak with one of our helpful product consultants!
Each month we will feature Central customers to showcase their business and provide tips and ideas for any of you in the restaurant industry! This month’s article features David’s Pizza.
Family owned pizzeria, David’s Pizza, has been in business in Lebanon, Tennessee for over 50 years. Originally founded by the late David Foster, today the restaurant is owned by David’s nephew Brandon Chastain and his wife Teri. Brandon’s younger brother, Jared, and Teri’s younger brother, Ryan, also work at the restaurant.
Teri started working for David in 1999, where he taught her how to be a chef and the importance of the fine details. David’s Pizza was also where Teri and Brandon met!
Being Family Owned
Mixing family and work can get hectic for some, but this family makes it work. They don’t play favorites, and Brandon said he actually expects more from family that works there because they know what is on the line. It’s become a tight knit group.
“We have several non-family employees that we basically adopt,” Brandon said. “I like my team to be a one for all and all for one team.”
And while he may own the restaurant, he considers himself to be more of a team leader instead of a “boss.”
“My team understands if you take care of me by offering their best efforts, I’ll take care of them with mine.”
Dedicated Customer Base
One of the great things about being in business for over five decades are the dedicated customers.
“My customers are multi-generational,” said Brandon. “They are loyal the David’s brand and will stand up for what they believe in.”
In fact, David’s Pizza sells t-shirts that say “best pizza in town” which their customers love!
On a typical day, Brandon said they see quite a few of the same people.
“It’s to the point if Mr. or Mrs. doesn’t come in, you kinda worry about them,” he said.
Customers of David’s Pizza know they can get the freshest products around. This pizzeria uses garden-fresh vegetables, 100% real whole milk mozzarella cheese and sausage that is never frozen.
They also have original crusts locally made with hand-tossed dough that is made from scratch.
“No one produces an 18″ XL hand tossed like David’s!” they said. “We’ve been using the same original thin and crispy crust since David’s first opened. It’s a local favorite for sure!”
David’s Pizza’s most popular pizza is the “House Special,” which is loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, green and black olives and topped with banana peppers.
Brandon admits it’s a bold combination but once you try it, you’re hooked!
“Customers say more will fall off a slice than what another shop would put on,” said Brandon. “Then they spoon up the extra almost like a side dish.”
The Equipment to Get the Job Done
When it comes to getting the job done, a restaurant really needs the right equipment.
“Equipment in the kitchen from Central has a special spot with us,” Brandon explained. “No joke, items like work tables, fryers, slice/dice slammers all make the job easier, faster and more consistent. You save on time and money with the effective efficiency so it all becomes an increase in profits.”
Brandon’s personal favorite item in his kitchen is his uncle David’s old bread knife that he had when he started the business.
“It’s old and kinda beat up,” he said. “Started as a serrated blade but has been sharpened till it’s a razor sharp edge. Cuts bread like butter with a hot knife.”
Next, their kitchen frequently use slice/dice slammers which makes it easy to prepare the two bushels of green peppers and 100 pounds of onions each week. It drastically speeds up prep time and is also safer as well.
Since their early days 50 years ago, David’s Pizza has been able to support many non-profit organizations, such as schools, sporting events and other causes. It’s very important to them and they are able to provide special pricing for those that serve both their community or the country, as well as surrounding schools and those who have fallen on hard times.
“Sometimes we are just a blessing in silence,” explained Brandon. “We don’t feel we need a pat on the back for everything we do. It just feels good being blessed enough to help. That’s rewarding enough.”
Brandon has found being an asset to a community also becomes an asset for your business.
“You become a part of the community, not just another restaurant on the strip,” he said. “It helps in brand building cheaper than any other form of advertising out there.”
For Those in the Restaurant Industry…
When asked about the restaurant business in general, Brandon acknowledged it’s a tough business to be in.
“There are always different things you can do to improve on,”he said, whether it be a customer service or kitchen technique. “Restaurant life will take every second of your life if you let it.”
Brandon advises those in the industry to give themselves time to grow and time to rest. Don’t get burned out and let it be a fun adventure and not something you do just because!
In recent food industry articles, it has been argued that there is not a traditional sandwich anymore. Sandwiches are no longer just two slices of bread with some kind of filling in the middle. Has the traditional pizza joined the traditional sandwich as a food of the past? The most common toppings of cheese, pepperoni and sausage still reign supreme, but there are menus around the world that offer some interesting choices to add to a pizza pie. With the push towards revamping pizza toppings, pizzerias and restaurants have the opportunity to introduce their own innovated creations.
Creating a Masterpiece
When deciding on a new pizza creation, there are multiple factors that play a role. First, a decision has to be made of what type of sauce. Marinara or tomato may be in the top of the class, but there are other options available like Alfredo or even no sauce at all that can spice up a pizza. The sauce of the pizza can be almost anything your heart desires. After making that crucial decision, it could be a good idea to give a theme to the pizza. Many pizzerias will have pizza themes based on the city’s beloved sports team or famous actor/actress. Having a theme for the pizza will help tie all the ingrediants together and help it resonate with your customers.
The theme can help decide what vegetables will be on the pizza. With vegetables, the options are endless. Onions, green peppers , spinach and even brussel sprouts, there are no limits here. Vegetables are not always needed to make a masterpiece. Maybe it is the meat you decide you want to shine in the new pizza pie you add to your menu. Pepperoni and sausage are not the only meats making their way onto pizzas across the country anymore. Chicken, fish and other types of seafood are becoming more prevelant as a topping choice. Check out the article 101 Best Pizzas in America by The Daily Meal, to find out more about some unique combinations making their way onto menu’s.
Pizza for Every Meal
Pizza is not just for dinner anymore, but can also make a tasty breakfast or dessert. Breakfast pizza can be a easy way to incorporate all your favorite mornings foods together. Pizza can also make a tasty dessert. Dessert pizza can be made in the same shape as the traditional pizza. For the base, instead of using traditional dough, you can try it out with your favorite cookie dough. The possibilities are endless with fruit toppings, candy, chocolate and more. Pillsbury has even gone as far as introducing a pizza cake recipe! Whether making it with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni or making it dessert style, the pizza cake is definitely a game changer!
Thinking about adding interesting and unique pizza creations to your menu, but unsure if you have the right equipment to do so? From insulated delivery bags, pizza dough boxes and pizza peels, Central has an assortment of products to fit your pizzeria or restaurant’s pizza needs! Check out our website or call one of our helpful Product Consultants at 800-215-9293.
It’s that time of year again: The Super Bowl. The big game is one of the restaurant and retail industry’s largest revenue sources driving in massive amounts of traffic and increasing sales in food, apparel, televisions and more.
According to the National Retail Federation, total spending is estimated to reach $12.3 billion with 77 percent of that being food related.
“Restaurants and bars will see their share of fans; the survey found 10 million fans will enjoy the game from their favorite local establishment,” they said.
From their research, 39 million Americans will throw a Super Bowl party of sorts for the event and 62 million will attend one.
Fan Favorites and Boosts in Sales
To gear up for the Super Bowl, restaurants have to be prepared to serve customer favorites, one of those favorites being chicken wings.
Chicken wings have become a top menu item among Super Bowl viewers. In fact, the National Chicken Council said 1.25 billion wings will be consumed for the 2014 game; 20 million more than in 2013. This also means the ranch and bleu cheese will be flowing.
Pizzerias also see a massive boom for the Super Bowl as it is one of their highest sales days of the year. Not only do the pizzas sell fast, it is a great opportunity for delivery drivers too.
“Delivery sales of pizza spike the most during close Super Bowl games,” explained Pizza.com. “On Super Bowl Sunday, pizza delivery drivers can expect $2 tips to sometimes soar as high as $20.”
Among the wings, pizzas, dips and other staples of Super Bowl parties, a drink of choice among restaurant guests and party goers is alcohol. One might think beer would top the list, which it does, but according to QSR Magazine, craft beers, hard ciders, sparking wins and flavored liquors will be requested this year too.
Cities that host a Super Bowl experience more traffic and exposure than they could ever imagine. This exposure builds in the months leading up to the game and peaks the week of. Restaurant business in particular sees a massive boom from area residents and out-of-town guests participating in activities and events.
This year is East Rutherford, N.J.’s year to shine at Metlife Stadium, however, being just a skip, hop and jump away from New York, N.Y. has caused some confusion. The media and television personalities have referred to this year’s big game as being held in New York, which is untrue.
The distance between the two cities brings on a situation unlike any other state–both cities share efforts and reap the benefits. One possibly more than the other.
“The official Super Bowl Host Committee estimates the game will bring in between $550 and $600 million in revenue to New York and New Jersey,” CNN reported.
With quite a bit of the spotlight on New York, East Rutherford’s Mayor, James Cassella, hopes the town just breaks even, despite hosting the actual game and more events.
Either way, restaurants in both states will see a boost in traffic. Central Restaurant Products’ hometown, Indianapolis, hosted the 2012 Super Bowl and it has really changed the vibe of the city since. And in terms of restaurant sales, they skyrocketed for the locations close to festivities, but even jumped for restaurants over an hour away.
Just as Indy and all other Super Bowl hosting cities have experienced, New Jersey and New York will have this great opportunity to showcase their cuisine and show their residents and guests from all over the world what they are all about.
New York will have pop-up restaurant Forty Ate, a creation of Danny Meyer, for the week. It is a modern steakhouse that will serve lunch and dinner, as well as “bar bites” throughout the day.
“Forty Ate will provide diners the ultimate Super Bowl experience,” their website said. “Danny Meyer’s renowned Union Square Events (USE) in collaboration with the Renaissance New York Times Square hotel will operate the Dining Room and Bar, which is designed by GMR marketing.”
The website added Forty Ate will feature NFL artifacts, the full set of 47 Super Bowl rings and appearances from NFL players who will be dining there.
Over the last couple weeks we’ve continued to see the effects of the drought on the nation’s heartland and have heard many speculations as to how it will impact food prices. According to U.S. Drought Monitor, updated last on Thursday August 30, many states are still categorized at the D4 level, the most intense type of drought on the scale. This may change over the next few days as many Midwest states will receive much needed rainfall with the remnants of Hurricane Issac. However according to a Chicago Tribune article, an agricultural meteorologist said the remnants will stall crop harvests and could cause some localized damage.
National Restaurant Association to Kick Off National Food Safety Month
“Be safe, don’t cross-contaminate” says the National Restaurant Association, who kicks off their 18th annual National Food Safety Month on September 1. NFSM is an annual NRA campaign that brings more awareness to food safety. Through the campaign, NRA offers a variety of tools for restaurants such as training activities and posters. All materials are free and can be found on the Serv Safe website.
Registration Has Begun for the US Pizza Team Trials and American Pizza Championship
Does your pizzaria have something special that others don’t? Do you have a special technique that puts you ahead of your competition? You can use all the skills that make your pizza place special at this year’s US Pizza Team Trials and American Pizza Championship. According to the U.S. Pizza Team website, “The U.S. Pizza Team was established in 2000 as a vehicle to further promote the pizza industry and independent pizzerias through friendly competition, live and televised performances, team and individual appearances and more.” They added attending team members gain a sense of camaraderie with others providing an overall positive outcome for customers.
Last Chance to Sign Up for September’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry
For restaurants, both independent and multi-units, looking to increase sales and raise money for a great cause, Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry™ is the perfect fundraiser. Dine Out For No Kid Hungry enables restaurants to donate a portion of sales to help end childhood hunger. There’s no registration fee or minimum donation amount to join and Share Our Strength has literally done all the work enabling restaurants to get started quickly with little effort on their part. While the official week for the event is September 16-22, Share Our Strength® welcomes and encourages restaurants to participate anytime and for as long as they’d like during the month of September. The last day to sign up is Friday September 7. Register today! Contact Share Our Strength Senior Manager Jessie Sherrer at 202-478-6505 with questions.
Labor Day Weekend Restaurant Sales and Promotions
Looking to dine out this weekend? We’ve looked all over the web and found some deals going on this weekend so you can dine out, boost restaurant sales and save some money at the same time.