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How to remodel a store for a pizzeria

Updated on August 4, 2015

Introduction

For a modern carryout and delivery pizzeria, finding the right size store to work with is fairly simple. The size of the store we are looking for is about 20' x 50' and is usually available in most smaller strip type shopping centers. There were a lot of these smaller shopping strips built in the United States a few decades ago.

The size store we are seeking was very common in these centers, and that is why I planned a pizzeria that used this size store. The rental cost works out right for a carry out pizzeria to afford. You can do a gross business between $3,000.00 and $10,000.00 dollars a week and be able to afford the rent for this size store. The small businessman has a very good chance of succeeding in the pizza business, with this size store.

In this article we will look at how to remodel this store, and get ready to open a pizzeria. You are going to need about two months to get one of these stores ready to open. Next we will look at how to lay out a pizzeria in this size store.

Laying out the store

In the front there is a wall built across the store, about ten feet back from the storefront wall. The wall has an opening as wide as the customer service counter The pizza cutting table is behind a full height wall and is partially hidden from the customers. At the other end of this wall is a door leading back into the front kitchen.

The area between the storefront wall and the customer counter offers two hundred sq ft for customers to order and wait for their pizzas. Since over 50 percent of your business will come from customers picking up their pizza order, this area is very important. You should have items like digital menuboards, and pictures of your pizzas on the wall. You want customers to get excited about ordering from your pizzeria.

The next section is about laying out the front kitchen. You want this laid out right, because the customer can see this kitchen area from the customer waiting area. On the one side are the pizza cutting table, the conveyor oven, and the pizza make table. On the other side is the office. The kitchen is about 22 ft long by 20 ft wide.

The prep kitchen is behind the second wall, and is about 18 ft by 20 ft. On one side of the door in the front right hand side of the prep kitchen is the 12 ft by 6 ft walk in cooler, and up against the one 12 ft side outside wall of the walk in cooler is the 6 ft prep table, the half size can rack, the dough roller sitting on top of the can rack, and the dough mixer. The 25 lb bags of flour are stored on a shelf under the prep table. Continuing down the wall and part way across the back wall is shelving for storage. Then there is the back door and on the other side of the door is the employee bathroom. Next to the bathroom is the three compartment sink and then the freezer. Then there is an area for storing large numbers of made up pizza boxes. This completes the layout of the store and as you can see most all of the space is used. Next we will look at getting started on the remodeling and the first thing is the floor.

Installing a good tile floor

The first thing to do when looking at the remodeling job, is to establish the condition of the present floor. Can it be cleaned good and waxed, or will it need to be replaced. If you have to replace the floor, do you have to take up the old floor before installing the new finish floor. If you can just clean the old floor and then wax it, it will save you installing a new vinyl tile floor. Make sure you clean the old floor as good as possible, and if it is a vinyl tile floor apply at least five coats of wax. That will make the floor easy to clean after the store is in business.

If you have to put down a new floor, make it an eighth inch commercial vinyl tile floor. The idea is to do it at the start when there are no inside partition walls. You can then lay out the floor better and put it down a lot faster. After you lay down a coat of wax to protect the floor, it is time to start on the walls.

Building the dividing walls

The equipment will need to be brought in through the back door, which means that you need to start with the front wall and then bring in the conveyor oven, set it in the kitchen and then build the wall between the front kitchen and prep kitchen. When building walls allow for three foot doors so that they are big enough to bring equipment in and out. Be prepared to use 5/8” drywall for fireproofing needs if required. In the front kitchen it is good to use FRP board as a final finish because it is very easy to clean off any spills. Next we will look at installing needed electrical, plumbing, and ventilation needs.

Installing the electrical, plumbing, and ventalation needs

There are three areas where we might need to install additional service. These are in electrical, plumbing, and ventilation needs. You will need at least a 250 amp electrical service, plumbing for the three compartment sink, and ventilation needs for the pizza oven hood.

The first one to consider is the needed electrical service. For your purposes you will need at least a 250 amp electrical service. This is to supply the needed electric supply for all your equipment, especially your refrigeration equipment. You will need to get the electrical needs for your equipment and then install the right size electric service. Because of this you will need to know the electric needs of all your equipment. You will need at least a 250 amp service and possibly as much as a 300 amp service. If the service in the store isn't at least a 250 amp service I would allot at least $5,000.00 dollars for the installation of a new service and running the needed electrical lines.

The next area to consider is running the needed plumbing lines. You need to install a three compartment sink and a grease trap next to the sink. You also need to run a high pressure natural gas line up to where it connects to the conveyor pizza oven.

The third area to consider is the ventilation needs of the pizzeria. You will need a pizza oven hood the size of your pizza oven. This hood will be ventilated through the roof with an exhaust fan. You will also need a make up air unit to supply fresh air for the air exhausted through the roof. This all required by law and the make up air unit also prevents the outside doors from slamming because of the negative air pressure. It also helps to keep the temperature lower in the pizzeria. Next we need to consider the installation of equipment in the store.


Installing the needed equipment

Once you have the layout of the walls in the store, you then need to layout the position of the equipment on the floor. This will show you where you need to position the electrical and plumbing lines. You can also see how to position the pizza oven hood once you know exactly where the pizza oven is going.

The first thing to consider the placement of is the POS system. You need to know the placement of the pizza make table, so you know where to place the kitchen printer. You also need to know where the POS entry system will be, so you can run the wiring.

The next thing to consider is the pizza oven. The only one to consider is a conveyor type pizza oven. The older type conveyor ovens could put out a pizza in seven minutes, and the 70” long ovens could do about 70 14” pizzas in an hour. Every pizza is cooked to the same consistency and they all look the same. This is very important in the modern pizza business.


The days when you could use the regular pizza oven are long gone. The big chain pizza places realize this and they have all switched to the conveyor type pizza ovens. The new conveyor pizza ovens can cook a pizza in less than five minutes. That means that a person picking up a pizza can do it in ten minutes. This will become the new standard and if you are using an old pizza oven that takes ten to eleven minutes to cook the pizza and then take a chance on burning the pizza. This is an easy way to put yourself out of business.


The next piece of equipment to consider is the walk in cooler. For this type of pizzeria you need a six ft by 12 ft cooler. Then you need no other refrigeration equipment except for a freezer and a 8' pizza make table. This will save you on your electric bill each month. All of this equipment needs to be new. Now we will consider equipment that you can buy used.

The first piece of used equipment to consider is the dough mixer. The older used 60 qt mixers were single phase. The new ones are three phase. Most smaller commercial stores don't have three phase electric, and to run it into the store could be as much as ten thousand dollars. The simple solution is to use and older used dough mixer. It is also a much cheaper solution.

The final pieces of larger equipment are the dough roller, the half size can rack that the dough roller sits on, two six foot utility tables with a lower shelf, and a three compartment sink with a grease trap.

All of these pieces can be bought used. There are also about $2,500.00 worth of smallware pieces that need to be bought.



Summary

The remodeling of the store for your pizzeria is one of the more important things you will accomplish in setting up a pizzeria. You need to consult with the health department, the fire department, and the building department for any requirements they have before allowing you to open. The health department is the most important as they will inspect your pizzeria on a regular basis and they can shut you down if you don't meet their inspection requirements.

You need to be very careful about buying any used equipment for your pizzeria. You should understand that you will have to tear apart and thoroughly clean any used equipment you buy, as most sellers won't do it. Items like dough rollers, stainless steel tables, sinks. can racks, and wire shelving are fairly safe to buy used as long as you are willing to spend the hours needed to clean them. A dough mixer is another case you need to completely inspect it, and listen for gear noise. The noise from gears is caused by trying to mix too large batches of dough for a longer period of time. If you have to get a repairman to replace badly worn parts the cost will mount up fast.

Refrigeration equipment and pizza ovens I would always buy new when you are setting up your pizzeria. You sure don't want an item that has been abused by some other owner, and will break down at the most inconvenient time. These are a few of the things you need to know to be a successful pizzeria owner.

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