The Pop-Up Blow-Up | Tips for How to Start a Successful Pizza Pop Up in Your Own Backyard

The Backyard Pizza Oven Wars

Ooni, Roccbox, Carbon, Halo… Which is the best???

Determining the best pizza oven among Ooni, Roccbox, Carbon, or Halo Versa is subjective and depends so much on your individual preference. What kind of pizza do you want to make? Do you want doughy, soft Neapolitan pizza? Or something more like a New York Style pizza with a crispy bottom?  Each backyard pizza oven offers unique features and benefits for all different styles and budgets.

We’ll save that for another article. Today, let’s just concentrate on the power of all these bad boys.

Pizza Dreams

I have a couple of these ovens myself. I love them. There is really nothing like cooking pizza outside. Throwing the pizza up in the air with the backdrop of an open sky is something dreams are made of.

It’s incredibly relaxing for me and is my favorite way to bake. Have a couple of frosters with friends, maybe sip some mezcal all while baking pizza under an open flame. I truly recommend doing it. It’s beautiful.

Changing the Game

It’s not just for fun times though.

These ovens can push out professional-grade pizzas that, until recently, were only atainable with very expensive custom-built brick ovens.

These pizza ovens have changed the game and, in my opinion, they continue to push limits of pizza and pizza pop ups

I come from a background in the music industry. I find a lot of parallels between the music industry and cooking/hospitality.

The mass appeal of the backyard pizza oven reminds me of the invention of programs you could run on any laptop that transformed every aspiring musician’s bedroom into a full-blown professional studio.

 

Master Your Craft Right in Your Own Backyard

With a couple of ovens, you can post up at your neighborhood bar and sell pizzas on the street, or set up right in your yard and have people come pick up their pizza. It’s an incredibly exciting time and opens up the playing field to a lot of people who otherwise may not have had the overhead to get a full brick-and-mortar running.

Countless restaurants that started as pop ups are “popping up” all over LA in brick-and-mortar locations.

If you’re interested in opening your own pizza shop but don’t have the capital right now, I definitely recommend buying one of these ovens so you can hone your craft and pop up wherever you can to get a little taste of what your future could look like.

Billie Eilish and Finneas wrote and recorded one of the biggest records of the last decade in a bedroom. Some of the best pizzas are coming out of people’s backyards and at farmer’s markets now.

That pizza could be yours.

Ready to Start Popping Up?

If you’re wondering how to set up a successful pizza pop up business there are going to be some jumping-off points. Here’s a list of items and considerations you should keep in mind:

Your Business Concept and Menu

Decide on the type of pizza you want to offer at your pizza pop up and create a menu accordingly. Consider different crust styles, toppings, and any special or unique offerings that will make your pop-up stand out from the rest. 

Licenses and Permits

Check with your local authorities to determine the permits and licenses required to operate a temporary food establishment. This may include health permits, food handler’s permits, and zoning approvals.

You’re going to need a business entity if you’re going to open up accounts with wholesalers, pay employees, and pay the proper taxes you will need to create a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company. You will be issued a FEIN that will be a number used to identify your business for tax purposes.

Pop Up Locations

Where do you want to have your pizza pop up event? Find a suitable location for your pop-up, such as a farmer’s market, street fair, brewery, or any event where you can set up temporarily. Ensure you have the necessary permissions to operate in that area.

Equipment

Gather the necessary equipment for pizza preparation, including an oven, foldable prep tables, refrigeration, dough mixers, pizza peels, and utensils.

Ingredients and Supplies

You’re going to want to source high-quality ingredients for your pizza, including dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings. Consider the quantities you will need based on expected demand. You’ll also need supplies like pizza boxes, napkins, plates, and utensils. Look into local purveyors, and distributors and open up an account at restaurant depot etc. 

Staffing your Pizza pop up

Don’t try to be a hero and do it all yourself. I recommend at least 2-3 people for running a pop-up depending on the size of the event and the number of pizzas you expect to sell.

You will get to know your demand and numbers the longer you do it but overstaffing is a lot better than understaffing especially when you’re just starting off. First impressions are everything!

Pricing and Payment

Set pricing for your pizzas based on your cost of ingredients, overheads, and desired profit margin. Decide on the payment methods you will accept, such as cash, credit cards, or mobile payment options like Toast, Square, or Cash App.

Branding and Marketing your Pop up Pizza Business

Develop a brand identity for your pop-up, including a logo, signage, and any additional branding materials. Promote your pop-up through social media, local event listings, and word-of-mouth to attract customers.

Operations and Logistics

Plan out the logistics of your pop-up shop, including the opening and closing times, staffing schedules, inventory management, and cleaning routines.

Ensure you have a system in place to handle orders efficiently and deliver a consistent customer experience. This is crucial in setting yourself up for success. If you start early with all this stuff and decide you want to take a pop up to a brick-and-mortar, having all your numbers, policy, cleaning charts, and inventory already in place will put you well ahead of any business owner already operating. This is boring stuff but is the most important key to running a successful business.

Health and Safety 

Adhere to food safety regulations, including proper food handling, storage, and hygiene practices. Regularly clean and sanitize your equipment and workspace to maintain a safe and sanitary environment. Make sure you have food handlers permits, serv safe certification, and whatever else your city and state mandate for operating a restaurant.

Love, crust, and pizza dust,

Alex Koons

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