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Dough ball efficiency

Centralizing your pizza operation can create efficiencies and open up new business opportunities


Reiser’s Vemag V500 dough ball divider. Dough dividers are key to producing yeast-raised pizza dough and filled pizza pockets. Photo: courtesy Reiser

Do you produce pizza dough in multiple stores? Do you have dreams of expanding your operation from one to multiple stores in future? Analyzing the equipment, labour and other costs involved to produce your doughs will help clarify your operation’s efficiency and increase your profit margins.

To learn more about what to consider when consolidating dough ball production, Canadian Pizza talked with Ron Mullins, Director of National Bakery Accounts for Reiser USA and Canada, which supplies pizza dough ball production processing and packaging equipment. 

What are the potential benefits of consolidating your pizza dough ball production at a central commissary facility?
Potential benefits include:

  • Labour savings   
  • Consistent quality/ control over quality
  • Less equipment at store level
  • Less space required at store
  • Less training required at store level
  • Controlled cost of materials

We have seen from our experience how optimization and efficiency results in increased profits. By consolidating production into a single facility, higher outputs can be managed at greater accuracy with fewer people.

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What advice do you have for operators moving to a commissary model?
When consolidating and automating, keep in mind that it’s important to purchase versatile processing equipment. Versatile processing equipment will provide flexibility as the business, markets and opportunities are changing over time. When selecting equipment, allow room for growth. Look for equipment that offers a wide range of scaling capability to meet your needs. Consider a machine that allows you to grow in the future. Clean-ability and hygiene factors are of greater importance these days and you should always consider food safety. And, of course, machine service and support are always a critical factor once you have your machine in operation.

For those expanding their business into other pizza dough categories, what equipment and labour will be required?
Yeast-raised pizza dough requires a dough mixer (horizontal, spiral or planetary), a dough transfer/ loading dough divider, a rounder, and sometimes intermediate rest, sometimes double round to create the best possible round dough ball.

Filled pizza pockets require the same equipment as above. However, they also may use a co-extrusion process (two dividers connected via piping and crimping).

For gluten-free pizza dough, the consistency could range from batter to dough, and each of these requires slightly different processing equipment. The dough mixer is often a planetary-style mixer with a paddle-style mixing attachment, but sometimes a spiral mixer is used. Dough/ batter transfer requires a depositor or dough divider and possibly a rounder. However, often gluten-free products require direct deposit without further processing prior to baking.

Keto pizza dough requirements are similar to those for gluten-free.

For cauliflower pizza dough, you need a food processor/ mixer, a depositor and a press.

Cookie dough pizza requires a planetary-style mixer, a depositor and a press.

For those who hesitate to jump into new equipment purchases, any one of the above doughs may be made manually and later automated if the increase in production volume justifies it.

More and more operators want to reach customers through different venues. What options for operators selling their doughs?
There are many venues, among them pizza restaurants, retail (finished pizza par-baked, frozen dough balls, refrigerated dough balls) and food service (including finished pizza par-baked, frozen dough balls). Food trucks also are becoming more popular throughout parts of North America. They actually did well during the COVID pandemic.  

For more expert information on improving your process and product from Reiser experts, visit the Techspertise page at https://reiserexperts.com/.


Ron Mullins is Director of National Bakery Accounts for Reiser USA and Canada. Ron is a second-generation baker and has been in the baking industry since 1980. He may be reached at 970-556-0270 or rmullins@reiser.com


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