Canadian Pizza Magazine

Elements of a thriving pizzeria

By Maurizio Mascioli   

Features Business and Operations

In the last issue, I wrote about elements to consider when starting up a new pizzeria. Here we continue the overview with a look at managing profits and losses, choosing equipment and getting involved in your community.

When designing your pizza menu, it must possess three elements. It must be affordable, it must look and taste mouthwatering and it must meet the pizzeria’s food costing criteria – sometimes a hard balance to achieve but essential to become profitable.

Source your ingredients from reputable wholesalers and only use your local grocery stores in a pinch. Try to achieve interchangeable ingredients throughout your menu so that your inventory can become streamlined. For instance, the arugula used on one of our pizzas is used on three other styles. Same for certain meats and other vegetable combinations. This helps to reduce food waste as you’ll use the ingredients faster versus using them only on a one-off specialty pizza that is rarely ordered.

How do you control profits and losses? Simple. Weigh everything to the gram. Understand how many grams of fresh mozzarella are required for the perfect Margherita pizza. Want to know how much your dough ball is costing you per pizza? Identify the ingredients it takes to make a typical batch of dough. Take the full cost for a full batch of mixed dough, divide that by the total weight of the mixed dough then multiply by the desired dough ball gram weight to get the per-price cost of each dough ball.


Non-essential equipment is anything that does not affect your bottom line to create a revenue. A broken plate or glass does not impact the production of your product or service to your customer. However, items such as the following will impact your ability to stay open: pizza ovens, refrigeration equipment, fire suppression and exhaust hoods, dough mixers, ranges, pizza ball presses and rounders and deli slicers.

The red-line items noted above should always be purchased new with a standard or extended manufacturer warranty. I recommend you buy all new items through one dealer to create buying power in your favour and potentially negotiate better pricing because of the larger equipment


Using social media effectively is essential in today’s business environment. Have a well-designed website. This is a customer’s first impression of your pizzeria: make it a good one. Get a real email address. No one likes to see Hotmail or Gmail on a business card: it looks unprofessional. You must get the word out. Social media platforms typically are free but can become extremely time consuming and unproductive. Choose your battles: identify the platforms that create real-life customers and show in real time where those customers are coming from and who they are.

Useful online social media resources include Trip Advisor and Google Business listings. People’s reviews of your establishment provide a glimpse of your venue to potential new customers. These two platforms also create accountability towards your restaurant. Now the world is watching, so it’s important you maintain your high level of product quality and customer service. Accountability is a good thing because it forces excellence on all levels. Maurizio’s has a five-star rating on Trip Advisor and Google Business and we pride ourselves on the accomplishment. It’s also become an ingrained part of our culture to create an exceptional experience for customers before and after the pizza.

Find an element that’s unique to your brand and use that to stand out among the masses.

Align yourself with organizations that share your passion for the community, such as charities, food banks, hospitals, paramedics, police and the fire department. Support these organizations when they conduct events for the betterment of the community. For example, a group of local divers got together to clean up a large river that runs through our town. Local construction companies donated trucks to haul away garbage, we donated our pizza to keep the divers well fed and full of energy. We do this every year. It encourages others to be leaders and provides a positive impact on our community as a whole. Big or small, embrace your community.

Chef Maurizio Mascioli owns and operates Maurizio’s Pizzeria Inc. in Parry Sound, Ont. He is a volunteer firefighter for the Parry Sound Fire Department, two-time International Pizza Championship gold medal recipient and 2018 Master Chef recipient. He has received awards for outstanding customer service, entrepreneur of the year and business of the year from the Parry Sound Chamber of Commerce, and is an instructor for the School of Italian Pizza in Toronto.

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