Business and Operations
In the Kitchen
DIY pizza kits: Cross-Country Viewpoint
By Canadian Pizza Staff
By Canadian Pizza Staff
When the pandemic forced Canadians to stay home, takeout and delivery took on more importance than ever. Many pizzerias either began selling do-it-yourself kits – or put more focus on kits they already had available. Here’s what a few pizzerias are up to.
‘Genius idea!’ Video feedback encouraged: Moe Alhaj, founder, G-Street Pizza, Halifax
Opened a year ago with by Moe Alhaj with business partner Paul Jebailey, G-Street Pizza in the north end of Halifax is known for its hybrid mix of a New York-style thin crust with a Maritimes-style thicker crust. “We met right in the middle between thick and thin,” Alhaj said. And although it wasn’t planned, the pizzeria also has proven to be a draw for the vegan and vegetarian crowd. “We didn’t plan for it but we became one of the strongest options for vegan, gluten-free and halal options. All it took was a couple of vegan and vegetarian customers sharing screen shots and it built from there.”
Alhaj told us about the make-your-own-pizza-at-home kit they started when their dining area was shut down and their customers starting to go stir crazy at home. “We wanted to keep people engaged and stay on people’s radar during and after the pandemic shutdowns.” The kit gives customers a choice of a medium pizza with either cheese and pepperoni for $10 or vegan cheese and vegan sausage for $14. At-home chefs can add regular toppings for $3 each or vegan toppings for $4. Their bestselling pizza – and kit – is their signature G-Street pizza, which includes a medium dough ball with pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos.
Kit sales gradually started increasing day by day as people learned about them, Alhaj said. “People commented on Facebook and Instagram, ‘Great idea! Genius idea!’ They liked having something to do at home with the kids.”
The DIY kits include a very detailed instruction sheet that includes temperatures and cooking tips and, when G-Street encouraged customers to share their experience of making the pizza in videos, they got great feedback. Couples and families posted videos as did a popular Youtube channel, who, Alhaj said, “made a serious video.”
G-Street, whose tagline is “Our roots are local but our flavours are global,” will update its menu soon. At the moment, one challenge is to get good, fresh ingredients. “We get a delivery every day and we’ve had to send it back three or four times,” Alhaj said. They are investigating working with some of the smaller farmers in the area, including Hope Blooms, a social co-operative started by neighbourhood teenagers and kids that grows produce for its signature salad dressings.
Promoting home, comfort and charity: Giorgio Taverniti, owner, Frank’s Pizza House, Toronto
Frank’s Pizza House in Toronto sells DIY pizza kits for $19.95. “We’ve been selling for a few years but they are doing really well right now,” owner Giorgio Taverniti said when he talked with us in June. Included is “everything you need to make 10-inch pizzas at home,” including three mini pizza dough balls, 16 ounces of pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, cheese and pepperoni. Doughs also are sold separately: a 10-inch dough costs $2.50 and a large 16- 18-inch dough costs $3.50. Sauce lovers can pick up Frank’s 24-ounce portions of pasta or pizza sauce for $9.95 each. In advertising this option, the website plays up the idea of home and comfort: “Buy our in-house, homemade tomato sauce for the enjoyment of your family in the comfort of your home.”
A blog post tells home chefs how to assemble and bake the pizza.
Taverniti, who is very active on social media, used a tried-and-true method to get the word out about their charitable and business activities. He had about 1,000 double-sided business cards made up and sent them out with every order, including the pizza kits.
From pizza parties to pizza kits: Suzanne Fielden, co-owner, Rocky Mountain Flatbread, six locations in B.C.
The pandemic shutdowns halted a normally busy events schedule for Rocky Mountain Flatbread that included their trademark pizza-making parties – normally held at Kitsilano and Main Street Vancouver locations. “That’s what we’re known for,” said co-owner Suzanne Fielden. In a creative twist, they started selling the kits to go. They delivered 118 kits to one organization, which hosted a Zoom catch-up meeting with participants all making pizzas.
The kits figured into Rocky Mountain’s Mother’s Day marketing. Thinking of overworked parents juggling kids and work, they offered a Mother’s Day special: a $45 family pizza kit with four regular doughs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, four toppings and four housemade brownies. They posted a video of staff showing how to make the pizza using the kit and reminded people they could donate a meal to a single mom in need in Vancouver through a local organization. | CP
Have you ramped up or got creative with take-home pizza kits? Let us know!
Here you’ll read about pizzeria operators from across Canada and have a chance to share your own views on a wide range of topics. To offer feedback or ideas for future topics, get in touch with editor Colleen Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-428-3471 ext. 261.