Great Pizza Business Model Ideas

Since the end of World War II, America's pizza addiction keeps rising and rising. The "industry" has its own magazine, Pizza Today. There's also an international trade show in late March in Vegas. Yes, it's got to be a slice of heaven.

According to the FDA, 1 in 8 Americans ​eats pizza daily. So, for most pizzerias, every day should be National Pizza Day. Then again, pizzerias face a number of common restaurant challenges like managing ingredients demand, walk-in traffic, staffing and the like.

For those thinking of getting into pizza and perhaps questioning if a traditional pizzeria is right for you, here's a thought: Keep it simple. Here's how some new entrepreneurs and old-time joints have built businesses around simplicity, focus, and flexibility.

A Pizza a Day Keeps the Eaters Engaged

Cheeseboard Pizza closeup
Susie Wyshak

Since the beginning, the Cheeseboard Pizza Collective in Berkeley, California has kept it simple with superlative, mostly organic, pizza ingredients that keep the lines long. Oh, and only one flavor of pizza per day. That flavor is vegetarian.

Yet from before the time they open to the time they close, a line snakes down the block.

The secret to the Cheeseboard's success? Incredible dough made with organic flour and ingredients are chosen at the very peak of production.

You hear the phrase "Their reputation precedes them." That expression could have been invented just for the Cheeseboard;  customers don't even wonder what the flavor of the day is before slogging over and getting in line.

The benefit: How does making only one flavor of pizza a day translates to profits? The benefits are many:

  1. Purchasing massive amounts of a few ingredients means major bulk pricing discounts, keeping costs down with very little waste. With no meat option, there are fewer storage and contamination issues.
  2. The line flows quickly because customers have little-to-no decisions to make (a notorious line stopper). Staff workflows involve little more than making, cutting and serving or packaging the pizza to eat in the establishment or to go.
  3. The customer experience is relaxing for the same reason. No choice means no arguments or concessions. The only stress point is finding a seat—because it is so darn crowded.

P.S. It's not only in Berkeley. The same model has tantalized eaters all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mobile Wood-Fired Pizzeria Catering Business

Del Popolo's wood-fired pizza truck catering a party
Susie Wyshak

It's hard enough parking a car in San Francisco. So who knew you could drive around the city with a wood-fired oven housed inside a massive container mounted atop truck? Del Popolo's black painted, glass-walled 20-foot mobile pizzeria first came to my attention at a party for which the office hired them to cater pizza. My first taste of their Neopolitan-style pizza, made with local and organic ingredients, blew my taste buds as it did when they popped up at a chic holiday fair.

The oven-in-truck trend spans the nation, with stories all about pizza expertise. The owner of Chicago's The Pizza Via even trained as a pizza master in Italy. Customers can pre-order pizza via text message, at public events, to pick up at its step-van style pizza truck.

The benefit: An interesting mobile pizza truck adds the spice of variety to your life and opens you up to travel to opportunities. While having the pizza oven inside your vehicle makes for less flexibility than a tow-hitched pizza oven, it's pretty spectacular for the customers who hire you and those who enjoy your foods.

Pizza Dough and Ready-Made Pizza Crust Business

Pizza dough cut up

Would you rather be a pizza maker or more a pizza enabler? Maybe both?

California's Vicolo Pizza began as a small local chain of cornmeal crust pizzerias. Today they sell ready-made pizzas and non-GMO cornmeal crusts refrigerated and frozen for the home pizza chef both at farmers markets and retailers, from supermarkets to Costco.

Lamonica's Pizza Dough started its pizza dough business in the early 1960s, making the dough in Los Angeles and New York to supply food service establishments nationwide. Birrittella is another pizza dough maker that chose dough over bread.

The benefit: A business focused on manufacturing dough takes the complexity out of complete pizza manufacturing and lets companies like these focus on what they do best.

Mobile Pizza Ovens for Pop Ups and Farmers Markets

Pizza Politana mobile pizza oven at a pop up
Susie Wyshak

Around the country, mobile wood-fired pizza ovens made of brick and mortar (or ) pull into slots at farmers markets and pop-up events.

Online you can find plans to DIY wood-fired ovens with bricks and insulating materials. Not quite the handy person? Plenty of ready-made ovens are available. Or, you could hire someone to build your own oven for you like Chicago's Brick Oven.

For multi-day events, you can even build a temporary wood-fired brick oven that you disassemble after the event.

The benefit: You can tow your mobile pizzeria to wherever demand lies, at parties or events of all sorts.

We Love Pizza. What Pizza Business Would You Love?

Let this glimpse at a few innovative pizza business ideas prove that where there's a pizza-related idea, there's probably a business, from certified gluten-free pizzerias to build-your-own pizza joints and bakers using pizza dough for desserts. We love pizza!