5 Decisions to Make Before Scaling Your Pizza Restaurant

Posted by Brandon Tucker

Brandon was the Marketing Content Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2019 to 2022. He ensured the content we provided was the top-notch quality we are known for by staying up to date on industry trends, tips, tricks, and best practices to help our customers' businesses grow.

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Interested in having a pizza empire? Of course, you are! But to do it, you’ll need to grow from a single location or a handful of small locations until you have a sizeable army of pizza restaurants on your hands.

The problem with scaling a pizza restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, is that it is so easy to make the wrong decisions and turn your expansion endeavor into a disaster. And even if you manage to make all of the right decisions when expanding, you could be attempting to do it at the wrong time and it could still all go to waste.

With the help of this blog post, you’ll soon learn about the five most important decisions that you need to make before you attempt to scale your pizza restaurant. By following this advice, you should find it much easier to successfully navigate the minefield that is scaling a pizza restaurant.


1. Location of Additional Stores

It’s not just the real estate industry that is all about “location, location, location.” When it comes to growing your chain, the location of your next restaurant is a massive factor in the success of the expansion. But where do you go?

Do you lease a building downtown where you’ll get excellent foot traffic but also pay out the nose in rent each month? Or do you try to find a more reasonably priced location in a different neighborhood and hope that there is enough demand in that area to support your new location? 

Unfortunately, there’s no single right answer here. But by taking advantage of online tools like Statistica, the U.S. Census Bureau, and various parking apps to check vehicle accessibility, you should be able to get your hands on most of the information that you need.

Here are the most important factors when deciding on a location for your new restaurant location:

  • The average age of residents in the area
  • The average income of residents in the area
  • The amount of nearby parking
  • The amount of foot and vehicle traffic
  • The proximity to popular attractions or busy locations (i.e. multi-level office buildings,  government buildings, or a campus)
  • The affordability of lease or ownership of the space


2. Division of Current Workforce

If you’re exploring the idea of scaling up your restaurant, then chances are that you’ve been in business for a few years. During that time, you’ve likely established quite a close connection with various cooks, kitchen managers, and sous chefs that work for you. To the point where you trust them enough to uphold your restaurant’s best practices and do everything to the best of their ability, even when you’re not around. 

The problem is that scaling up will also mean having to hire new staff with whom you have no prior connection. So do you put all of this new staff into the additional location and hope that a few weeks of training will be enough to bring them up to speed? Or do you have some of your current experienced staff transfer over to the new location in order to have someone trusted to oversee the operations?

Speedy Tip

You can optimize scheduling and labor costs through the various Labor Reports on SpeedLine.

Inconsistency is one of the biggest reasons why restaurants lose customers. Therefore, you’ll want to move some more experienced members of your team to the new location (at least for the first few months). This will ensure that your customers are getting the same quality of experience, no matter which location they visit. 


3. Standardizing Your Recipes

When you operate a single location, achieving consistency with your customer experiences is well within reach. However, this becomes significantly more difficult once you’re talking about operating two, three, or even four different locations.

Maybe your regular cooks at your primary location tend to go a little heavy on the cheese or leave the pizza in the oven for an extra couple of minutes in order to ensure a crispier crust. These small differences in food preparation will add up and result in customers receiving vastly different experiences when visiting your new locations.

Get ahead of this problem by standardizing your recipes and training material before ever scaling up your business. With unlearning being much more difficult than learning, you can make it a lot easier for everyone by having standardized recipes and training materials for new staff to read as soon as they start.


4. Streamlining BOH and FOH Operations

Scaling up your pizza restaurant will magnify any problems that may currently exist with your back of the house (BOH) and front of house (FOH) operations. With only one location, having a lack of an online ordering system or using an outdated one may not seem like a big deal because it could be costing you only $1,000 to $1,500 in sales per month. But if you include a second location, suddenly this problem is costing you upwards of $2,000 or even $3,000 per month in lost sales. It’s much better to address these operational issues before scaling up, whether it is the online ordering system, point of sale, or delivery system that’s the problem.


5. Franchising vs. Company Owned

There are a few different ways that you can go about adding new locations. The first method is franchising, which involves allowing outside individuals to pay a franchising fee in order to start up a new location using your brand’s identity and products. The other option is to open up additional company-owned locations without the help of outside individuals. What are the biggest differences between these two options? Ownership and financial risk.

With franchising, ownership belongs to the franchisee and they simply pay you a regular royalty fee for whatever sales they make. Since they own the restaurant, it also means that the franchisee takes on the financial risk associated with starting up the new restaurant location.

If you decide to pursue a company-owned expansion, then it’s a model where you get 100% of the rewards but you also take on 100% of the risk. You maintain complete ownership of your new locations but you will also need to pay all of the fees out of your own pocket. It really comes down to whether or not you are willing to trade ownership and profits in order to expand much faster and do it for virtually no cost.

So if scaling is something that intrigues you, remember to first give some thought to where you’ll open up new locations, whether or not you’ll split up your existing team, how you can standardize your recipes and training materials, how you can streamline your operations, and whether you want to franchise or expand with company-owned locations. Once you’ve made these five crucial decisions, you’ll be much better prepared to successfully scale up your pizza restaurant.


Settling the Great Franchising Debate



Posted on Thu, Oct 22, 2020 @ 08:10 AM.
Updated on June 1, 2021 @ 3:57 PM PST.

Tags: Expansion, Franchise, Restaurant Operations

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