Today we are looking at the high-volume, low-cost conveyor-belt pizza slice business. This is one of the “businesses to start in 2022” under the “cheaper impulse buys” category.
The pizza business has good margins, it is afterall some toppings and cheese on a piece of risen dough. It is no doubt competitive. What we have seen in recent years is the re-establishment of the lower cost pizza sometimes operated from a home garage business. These are the woodfried 2 for R100 garlic cheese / margherita. But I don’t want to talk about that today I want to talk about the re-imagination of the pizza slice business.
Long before places like NY Slice Pizza existed and South Africa was still a prosperous country there used to be a format owned by St Elmos called “Slice Away”. There were pizzas on display and you could choose a slice and in front of your eyes it was put through an (electric) oven on the counter and you could watch it pass through in a similar conveyor system that are now used to make donuts.
You choose your slice, pay, watch it cook, get it on a paper plate with a serviette and some complimentary garlic salt.
The economics are not hard, especially with three topping pizzas, it is not up for dispute that a low-cost, high volume strategy works. You get a lot of bases from a bag of flour, cheese can be bought in bulk. I’m not quite sure if that was a custom built machine or not but I believe it to be a smaller version of the machines used by Romans and Debonairs today. A search for “conveyor pizza slice warmer” does not seem to yield the results that I remember, although my memory might be fuzzy as this was 25 years ago. I see an Anvil one for R29k on Takealot.
But that does not look to me like a R30 000 machine (although some places are actually more expensive). Best to give Jack Ma a call that is if the Chinese government hasn’t kidnapped him again. I see Alibaba also has conveyor pizza ovens that use gas which is not a bad idea both for outdoor use and for Eskom. “Special Attention Pizza Roasting” from $200 fuck yeah! I would reckon that a machine that costs R30k in SA will probably cost 500 dollhairs in China but logistics will add to that cost.
Other than that all you need is paper plates and serviettes and maybe some complimentary garlic salt. You can charge extra for stuff like fresh garlic and chilies.
If you look at NY Slice Pizza they based in Kloof, Claremont, Sea Point, Stellenbosch they make pizza slices for the 1%. Their cheapest slice is R27 which is a “whole milk mozzarella, original tomato sauce recipe & fresh basil” and R33 for Pepperoni (their cooldrink cans are restaurant priced at R18). This tells us that you can probably make a similar 25cm slice for R5. Traditionally there are 8 slices in a Pizza.
Now any high-volume business requires a corresponding sales channel with appropriate foot traffic, yes a gas oven makes you portable but unless you running a political rally busy places like stadiums are closed to the general public. You don’t need a lot of space, small preparation and display area similar to discussed in the Rotisserie Chicken Business. That includes partnering with a pub, just tell the owner the pizza will make people thirsty – and order more booze. You can even have a Pizza Slice & Savannah special for Rxx, include your profit, price of cider and maybe give the owner say a R5 for every slice sold.