Build a Business With a Pizza Oven…Possible? Yes!
Pizza is a universally loved, wonderful creation. Starting a business involving pizza is a great idea because people almost everywhere love eating pizza and will give you money for it almost without question.
Just about every angle of selling pizza has been done from corner pizza joints to National franchises parlors, to ingredient packaging and marketing. Here’s an idea that may or may not be overdone in your area, and it may have everything to do with geography. What am I talking about? Well, it’s the idea of building a viable business with a portable pizza oven?
This is completely doable and could lead to a fun and profitable endeavor if done correctly. There are many important considerations when starting a new business. This guide will help you to identify the important steps and questions you will need to address in order to make your dream a reality. First, you want to create a reasonable business plan, taking careful consideration of the amount of cash or investment capital available to you.
Then you need to consider building your brand, creating and standing by your mission statement as well as the details of your portable pizza business.
Is it Viable?
Before I get into details, let me just say that in my little neck of the woods geographically, there is a young family (but mostly the dad) who decided to start a business of dragging around a cool-looking outdoor oven. It bakes pizza but he specializes in artisanal bread which he bakes on-site at high-end outdoor galas, parties, and weddings. It started as a hobby, and it is now is “more-than-full-time” business.
It involves a pickup truck, small trailer and an outdoor oven which never actually leaves the trailer. Easy, fun and profitable!!
Creating a Business Plan
A well thought out business plan can make or break your dreams of owning a portable pizza business. A business plan is essentially a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and how you plan to achieve them. It’s necessary for planning but also for securing loans and investors and for internal organization. Some important questions and considerations to ask yourself are: how much money will I be investing into the business for start-up costs, equipment and accessories?
Will I hire employees? What forms of payment will I accept? Will I be taking on large corporate jobs and weddings? How will I price my products and/or services? What’s the cost of ingredients and what’s my source for ingredients? And that’s just for starters! Business plans can be daunting and intimidating, but they really don’t need to be. Nowadays, business plans are shorter and more direct, and there are many free templates available online as resources to aid in writing your plan.
What matters is thinking about how your business is going to work, and how it is going to succeed. If you do need a formal business plan document, then that includes an executive summary, a company overview, some information about your products and/or services, your marketing plan, a list of major company milestones, some information about each member of the management team and their role in the company, and details of your company’s financial plan.
These are often called the “sections” or “chapters” of the business plan. When starting a new company, start small and work with a reasonable budget. Be sure to reflect this smaller budget and realistic growth in your business plan. One of the most important sections of the business plan is the review schedule. That’s the part of the plan that acknowledges that it is part of a planning process, in which results and metrics will be reviewed and revised regularly.
A business plan is made before the business actually takes off, and it can be difficult if not impossible to predict the actual outcomes. A real business plan is always wrong—hence the regular review and revisions—and never done, because the process of reviewing and revising is vital. Many people think of business plans only for starting a new business or applying for business loans.
But business plans are also vital for running a business, whether or not it needs new loans or new investments. Existing businesses should have business plans that they maintain and update as market conditions change and as new opportunities arise. Every business has long-term and short-term goals, sales targets, and expense budgets—a business plan encompasses all of those things, and is as useful to a startup trying to raise funds as it is to a 10-year-old business that’s looking to grow.
Additionally, if you’re mostly just interested in pizza and all of this is daunting, then consider hiring professional help to guide you through this process as well as an accountant to help with finances and legal processes.
Starting a new business requires a lot of money. Unless you have all of this saved, you’re going to need assistance. Creating a solid business plan can be very helpful in acquiring a business loan, in addition to good personal and business credit. Try to start small with your investments, with plans to grow later on.
If you decide to start a food truck, then consider buying a smaller, used truck or wagon to start and be modest and simple in your build. You can also start by selling at local farmers’ markets in order to test customer responses to your product and to also begin making a name for yourself. For more information on food truck start up costs, refer to the “food truck” section later in this article.
Building a Brand
In today’s world of social media, it’s crucial to create a brand that stands out and is closely connected to your product. A brand is essentially a customer’s overall perception of your business. (Gregory, Sonia.)Your brand should always be consistent in all aspects, creating recognition and continuity.
Outsourcing graphic designers can help in creating a recognizable logo that is associated with your brand. Keep this logo consistent, utilizing the same images, fonts and colors to help create your brand image. Ideally, you want customers to see your logo and associate it with your brand, and to then have a craving for your pizza. When building a brand, consider your target audience.
Who do you foresee is going to want your pizza? For example, are you targeting college students, young professionals, or suburban families? Once you imagine your audience, build your brand around ways to appeal to them. It even helps to create an imaginary profile of your ideal target customer and cater to them, noting things such as their age range, gender, income and where they live. Keep this audience in mind when designing your logo, creating advertisements and your general approach to your brand and always stay consistent.
Build a Mission Statement
It’s important to have a clear and concise statement of your company’s passions or mission. Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides. The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing.
It will inform every other aspect of your brand building strategies. Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message, and personality should reflect that mission. (Gregory, Sonia.) It’s important to create a unique business that offers something valuable to your target audience.
You can differentiate yourself from others with your mission statement, offering insight into what your values are and how you’re different from the competition. Research similar companies, taking note of their strengths and shortcomings. Observe and research how they have established their brand for influence on creating yours, taking careful considerations to stay unique in your brand.
There can be a lot of hoops to jump through when acquiring a new license, but don’t be discouraged. First, you will need a business license, which is required for any business in the United States. All of this can be researched quickly online and there are ample resources available to assist in this process.
The most important part is to be thorough and diligent in your paperwork. In addition to licenses, make sure to register your new business with the city government. I recommend seeking professional help to assist in this process, to make sure everything is done diligently and accurately.
When building your portable pizza business, consider the actual space you’re going to use. Are you going to use a full food truck? If so, thoroughly research the regulations and restrictions in the areas you plan to park. You certainly don’t want to lose your business entirely over a missed health or fire regulation, so be thorough in your approach. Food trucks are appealing because they are fun, hip and modern. They can be moved to different festivals, events and different parts of the city for more visibility and flexibility in your schedule.
Food Truck Start Up Costs
There are many factors that go into being able to determine start-up costs for a food truck business. There are one-time costs, as opposed to recurring start-up costs, and costs that can vary by location. One time startup costs could consist of things like purchasing your food truck, register or point-of-sale (POS) system, truck wrap, website design, office supplies, advertising and marketing, and any professional, legal or consulting fees.
While that list is not comprehensive, it gives potential food truck owners an idea of the things that will need to be paid for up front. Then there are the recurring costs such as payroll, equipment rental, credit card processing equipment, fuel and vehicle payments. Every new food truck business will also have to obtain proper licenses and permits, which vary depending on location.
Other startup costs include but are not limited to:
- Business and vehicle insurance
- Inventory (food and supplies)
- Payment processing (hardware, processing agreement, mobile data plan)
- Commissary fees (professional kitchen rental for prep work)
- Truck appearance (paint, wraps, lighting, etc.)
- Propane and/or generator costs (fuel)
- Marketing costs
Finding Your Food Truck
Finding your perfect food truck is not easy, as you don’t want to settle for any old truck or van that you find on Craigslist. That’s not to say that Craigslist isn’t a great resource for finding a used truck or van, but there are also other mediums for finding the vehicle for you. Some options include local online classifieds, national online classifieds, leasing and franchising, or leasing or buying a new truck. A few great websites for finding food trucks are:
These websites are also great resources for food truck-related questions and inspiration.
Essential Food Truck Questions
There are many essential questions you will need to address and answer when starting your portable pizza business. First of all, since you are handling food, you must consider how you’re going to properly store your food, especially your refrigerated items. Secondly, how are you going to prepare your food?
You must carefully plan and build your food truck to allow plenty of room for refrigeration, food storage and preparation. My best advice for these strategies is to find forums such as foodtruckempire.com and others in order to find inspiration and layouts shared by other successful food truck vendors. Ultimately though, many of these things will be perfected via the trial and error processes.
Food Truck Advantages
Food trucks are a relatively new concept and they are a hip, fun and modern way to order and enjoy food. Jumping on this bandwagon can have many advantages, such as the freedom to choose menu items, the vendors you want to purchase from, your employees and the events at which you want to vend.
You’ll also have full control of your social media, marketing and schedule, as well as the layout and appearance of your food truck.
Additionally, being able to drive your business to different locations based on demand during different periods of the day, days of the week and different holidays and events can be really beneficial in maximizing the accessibility of your pizza. (Post, Jennifer.)
Food Truck Challenges
There are challenges that can be unique to the food truck industry, which should not be ignored. Owning a food truck can be really time-consuming with shopping, preparation, marketing, event booking, cleaning, truck maintenance, accounting and tax obligations, etc., this is more than a full-time job and can be quite stressful, especially in the beginning.
There will also always be competition with other food trucks, so be sure to research the markets and other potential food trucks serving pizza.
The biggest challenge with food trucks is probably dealing with city ordinances and zoning laws. Every area is different in terms of where you can park your food truck and how long you can park there. Make sure you know the rules in each location you plan on operating to prevent tickets and fines. (Post, Jennifer.)
Let’s Talk Pizza
Now that you’re thinking about your business plan, your brand and mission statement, and your food truck space it’s crucial to establish the nitty-gritty realities of your portable pizza business. Ultimately, all of this is based on people wanting to buy and eat your pizza. What ingredients are you going to use, what cooking methods and how is your pizza unique from the countless others?
It’s important to create a unique recipe so that your pizza stands out from the rest.
Hopefully, this is your main motivation and why you’re interested in this business in the first place, but if not, then consider hiring talented cooks. You want to create a pizza that people will love, whether it’s for the taste, convenience, both or more. Invest a lot of time into making your recipe, as well as your cooking methods and ingredients.
The type of oven you choose to use will have a big impact on your pizza. You will want to find the perfect oven to cook your pizza in your desired style, as well as one that will fit in your food truck and also have good ventilation for your space. You can consider building the oven yourself, or buying one from a trusted source.
There are many companies that specialize in commercial ovens for portable pizza businesses. One company to check out is Alfa Professional, who makes compact, efficient and lightweight ovens for small and large food trucks. Their website is here:
Do you want your pizza oven to be the main attraction of your marketing footprint? If so, you’ll need to invest in a great-looking, authentic, old-world, outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven.
If that’s not a priority, you’d be better served buying a stainless steel professional electric pizza oven that is more or less hidden from the sight of your customers. Either way, you can make exceptional quality pies if your process is perfected.
It’s crucial to get your storage, cooking, and preparation logistics in good order because you will need to be able to quickly and efficiently cook your pizza. People do not like to wait too long for food, and most people expect food trucks to be fast and efficient.
Practice making your pizza in a timely manner, perfecting the order, and how to make it quickly. If you’re serving people at a large event, you will need to be able to make pizzas in under two minutes. Make sure you have your recipe perfected, your organization efficient and your cooking methods established well before you cater your first event, so as to build a good reputation as a quality pizza business.
Only bad things can happen if you fail to deliver a good pizza, and very quickly, to potentially a lot of people. Any glitch in your system will undoubtedly be noted by many critics, both customers and event organizers alike. That’s a nightmare, so you’ll want to prepare and practice as much as possible.
This guide is not a substitute for seeking professional and legal help in the creation of a new portable pizza business, it is merely a guide to help you through beginning the process. Hopefully, your mental gears are turning and you feel ready to begin the process of your dream pizza food truck.
It’s important to know that, like in your business plan, there will be many revisions and unforeseen obstacles in this process. Stay flexible in your plans while staying focused on your mission statement in order to best tackle obstacles in establishing your business.
- Berry, Tim. “What Is a Business Plan?” Bplans Blog, Bplans Blog, 12 Mar. 2018,
- Gregory, Sonia. “11 Simple Steps for a Successful Brand Building Process.” FreshSparks, 21 May
- 2018, freshsparks.com/successful-brand-building-process/.
- Parsons, Noah, et al. “How to Write a Business Plan [Updated for 2018].” Bplans Blog, Bplans
- Blog, 7 Feb. 2018, articles.bplans.com/how-to-write-a-business-plan/.
- Post, Jennifer. “How to Start a Food Truck Business.” Business News Daily, 15 Feb. 2018,