Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making your pizza dreams come true

By Maurizio Mascioli   

Features Business and Operations maurizio mascioli maurizio's opening a pizzeria starting a pizzeria

Wanting to start your own pizzeria? Fantastic! This article will discuss key elements to help guide you in your journey.

The very first question you should ask yourself is this: “Why am I interested in opening a pizzeria?” Is it to make more money? Gain financial freedom? Buy a bigger family house? Have a nicer family SUV? Be my own boss?

Please understand that all those items listed above are “results” of your efforts. Your “Why” should stem from within yourself. It should be a passion to achieve something that only you can envision. Vision and passion equal your Why. Those two elements are your internal fuel source to keep you pushing and striving for success. Passion is the force to move you forward. Vision is the direction to move that passion. An excellent resource to help you find your Why is The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek.

The next element to success is to educate yourself on the industry. If this business isn’t right for you, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.


Trade shows are great places to learn. Early every year in Toronto, for example, the Restaurants Canada Show provides a great place to educate yourself on the industry. Talk to food manufacturers, distributors, equipment manufacturers, designers, government agencies, furniture and decor suppliers, LCBO, etc. Try to attend all three days of the event and take a backpack to carry all the literature you will pick up. I go every year and learn something new about the industry: education never stops.

So you’ve come out of the show even more enthusiastic? Excellent! Continue the education: find yourself a school that demonstrates pizza-making skills and business development essentials specifically geared towards the pizza industry. They will become part of your inner circle of professionals.

Your next step is a crucial one: finding a business name. Remember, a business name becomes the identity of the business. Changing the business name later on in the game disrupts the flow of growth and can undermine your credibility with customers. Not to mention the legal implications and out-of-pocket costs associated with the task. When choosing a name, be unique about it. Pick a name that identifies with your vision: this allows for marketing strategies later on. During this step, seek a quality commercial accountant who can assist you in registering your business name.

Location, location location. Identify three geographic locations where you would consider opening your new pizzeria. Location flows into the next essential element and has a profound impact on the success of your business plan.

The business plan is a time-consuming task that takes serious effort to complete. It forces you to put your dreams to paper and weighs the probability of success. There are many resources out there to assist you with creating a business plan. Many books are available on the topic at your local chamber of commerce. Occasionally local schools and colleges offer courses on how to write a proper business plan and sometimes these courses are free of charge. Remember, every financial institution requires a business plan from those seeking funding for projects.

When working with commercial leases I suggest hiring a realtor as they know the area best. You should also consult a legal expert before signing anything. Building your layout in a commercial space will always require a stamped drawing by an engineer or architect, depending on the scope of construction. Once you have the stamped drawing, you can hire or be your own site supervisor. Only do the latter if you have an extensive commercial construction background.

Even if you hire a construction supervisor, be involved at every stage of the project. It’s your money, after all.

Chef Maurizio Mascioli is owner and operator of Maurizio’s Pizzeria Inc. in Parry Sound, Ont. He is a volunteer firefighter, 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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