Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Thinking of take ’n’ bake?


December 2, 2009
By Tom Stankiewicz

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If you are looking to expand your pizza menu with a take ’n’ bake pizza, keep on reading this article. Many pizza makers have experimented with this idea and it seems to have caught consumer attention.

If you are looking to expand your pizza menu with a take ’n’ bake
pizza, keep on reading this article. Many pizza makers have
experimented with this idea and it seems to have caught consumer
attention.

We thought the idea had potential to be successful in our store, so we
decided to try it out and see where it would take us. The first thing
we noticed was that it caters to a specific group of people: those who
live outside of our pizza delivery area and those who like a hands-on
cooking experience. We chose to limit our pizza delivery area to ensure
our clients will always get the freshest pizza possible from our store.
Customers have three convenient options now: pickup, delivery or take
’n’ bake.

If you decide to go ahead and add take ’n’ bake to your pizza menu,
there are some important facts to keep in mind. For the best results,
do not use fresh pizza dough. It must be fridge pizza dough that is
made from rather complex recipes. We allow our customers to create
their own pizza masterpieces; however, not all of them can be accepted.
We have 19 regular pizza recipes, but three of them can’t be used as
take ’n’ bake because we require 24 hours notice to prepare them. You
should test your existing pizza recipes to ensure they can be used for
take ’n’ bake pizzas as well. By doing a simple test at home, you will
be able to determine which of your pizza recipes will last 36 hours in
the fridge.

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Our pizza dough choices include traditional plain dough, herb and
garlic, whole wheat, and jalapeno cheddar. Over time, we have found
that traditional plain dough works the best for take ’n’ bake pizzas.
It is rising properly during baking, while the flavoured dough seemed
to be too heavy with its necessary ingredients in the dough mix.

Our customers can choose any pizza topping they like and combine as
many as they wish. Our recommendation is to avoid too many vegetables
on one pizza because their juices will make the pizza wet and mushy.
Your customers will learn quickly which items should be skipped and
which ones enhance the pizza flavour without making too much mess. With
these pizza recipes less is more in order to get a great tasting
product at the end.

The instructions we assembled for baking the pizza at home are very
detailed but simple to follow. Here is what we put together for our
customers to ensure a perfectly backed and tasty pizza:

1.
Place oven rack in centre position and preheat oven to 425 F.
2.
Remove wrap, place pizza (with the baking tray) on the centre rack.
3.
Check pizza after two to three minutes. If bubbles appear, puncture with fork.
4.
Rotate pizza in oven for even baking if desired.
5.
Baking time: 10 to 17 minutes based on regular crust.
6.
Remove pizza from oven, let it sit for a few minutes to cool down.
7.
Cut, serve and enjoy.

There is no real consensus when it comes to setting a price for the
take ’n’ bake pizzas. We charge the same price as if it were a regular
pizza baked at the store. We have seen others come up with special take
’n’ bake pricing but to us it didn’t make sense to confuse our clients
with new numbers.
 
We offer only medium and large sizes for take ’n’ bake pizzas. We never
had any orders for any other size, so we simply stopped offering them.
This makes it easier for us when it comes to ordering special pizza
pans by Pactiv on which the take ’n’ bake pizza is made.

It didn’t take much to market this idea. We decided to place a regular
kitchen stove at the front entrance inside the store. This way anyone
who walks in to order a pizza, or is waiting for one, will see it.
Naturally, everyone is always curious why it is there because it looks
like it doesn’t belong there. It is strategically placed between the
chairs that clients sit on while waiting for their order. No matter how
hard you try, you can’t miss it. We’ve put flyers with the cooking
instructions on the stove as well.

We have received very positive feedback from our clients about our take
’n’ bake pizzas. With minor changes we have made them fit into our
pizza store environment. As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t for everyone
but it gives you a chance to potentially attract new customers that you
wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Remember that sometimes customers
need to have variety of choices available to them, so they don’t go to
your competitor to try something new.


Tom Stankiewicz has been in the pizza business for more than 15 years.
He has been the proprietor of Bondi’s Pizza in London since 2000 and is
president of the Canadian Pizza Team.


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