How to Open a Pizza Shop: 9 Steps to Opening a Pizzeria

Written by Kadence Edmonds

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Pizza is one of the most popular food choices for Americans- in fact, U.S. consumers eat 3 billion pizzas per year. With figures like this, it’s no surprise that opening a pizza shop can be an appealing prospect, especially if you have planned and prepared correctly.  

So if you’re wondering how to open a pizza shop, and where to begin, we’ve included a complete guide to help you on your pizza shop business journey.  

Business structure

With the concept for your establishment created, it’s now time to turn your attention to the business side. Starting a pizza shop business is risky at best due to the high competition. But forming an understanding of the problems you will face - like cost-cutting competitors - and working out how you’ll handle them before you start will increase your chances of success.  

Before commencing your business, you’ll need to work out what structure will suit your pizza shop. Business structures make a significant impact on legal and operational risk, asset protection, tax, legal costs and potential clientele. 

The common forms of business structure in the United States are:

Sole Proprietorship

As a sole proprietor, you will be solely responsible for the liabilities of your business. This business structure has risks as it has no separate legal existence from its owner.  


A partnership is a relationship between two or more people or business entities bound by a contract. Profits, losses, risks, and assets are legally shared between the relevant parties according to the terms of the contract. 

Limited liability company

LLCs are independent entities that separate the business from the owner in many ways. The business takes on its own debt, credit, and obligations, protecting the owners' personal assets. 

When starting your business and choosing your structure, one of the first things to take into consideration is which one will have the best long-term benefits. Because there are many advantages and disadvantages for each type of structure, it is recommended to consult a business advisor, accountant, or solicitor for advice on which to choose.  

Write a business plan

When looking to start a business, it’s crucial that you have a plan. Consider it your roadmap to success. 

Without this map, you are lost in a dark, overpopulated industry with no idea where you are going or where you have been. When you consider the fact that 60% of hospitality businesses do not make it past the first year, making sure you are well-prepared is crucial.  

Planning before you commit to anything as serious as signing a lease is certainly recommended. Before making any commitments, make sure you research the market, scope out the competition, find the ideal location, develop unique menu items, and ensure you can fund it.  

While business plans generally follow a fairly standard format, hospitality-based business plans need to cover specific topics that other business plans don’t. 

A strong business plan should include most of the components below:

  • Cover Page with branding
  • Executive summary
  • Business concept
  • Sample menu
  • Market analysis
  • Target market
  • Company & management
  • Design
  • Location 
  • Marketing strategy 
  • Outside Help
  • Financials 

This may seem tedious and overwhelming when looking to open a pizza shop, but being prepared is key. Learn more about writing a business plan.

Develop your pizza shop style

When looking to establish the service style for your pizza shop, there are three main types to keep in mind. While you may choose to focus on one particular service style, you can also choose to operate as a hybrid entity, combining all three.  

Dine-in: A dine-in style pizzeria caters to a wider range of customers. This style will allow you to really communicate your brand and provide a high-end service. The only downfall to this style of pizza shop is that it involves an increased investment for fit-out and furniture.  

Delivery: One of the most well-known service styles when it comes to pizza shops. This style offers an extremely convenient option for customers but does have a higher risk due to the safety of drivers and increased labor costs. 

Takeout: This is often the least expensive style of pizza shop since it requires less space, fewer items of furniture, and even less equipment. Your price point and flavors will become your main selling points. 

Create your pizza menu 

With pizza shops being a relatively common fixture within the hospitality industry, you need to be able to set yourself apart from the competition. Crafting a unique menu featuring high-quality ingredients and flavor combinations can set you apart from the rest.  

When developing your pizza menu, it’s important to stay true to the classic flavors people know and love like Margherita, Hawaiian, meat lovers, and supreme. But it also pays to experiment with unique toppings that make for an innovative pizza experience.  

When you have your menu decided upon, you will be able to determine your pizza shop branding. It will also help you narrow down the type of equipment you need, staffing requirements, and the amount of funding you may need. 

Choose the right location 

Location is everything. Choosing the perfect location for your pizza shop can be the difference between success and failure. If you pick an area that is already serviced by a quality pizza shop you could go bust. Or if the area is too hard to get to, then you may miss out on the foot traffic you need to thrive. 

When on the hunt for the perfect pizza shop space, keep these things in mind. 

  • Demographics 
  • Visibility and accessibility 
  • Competition 
  • Size and space
  • Affordability
  • Leasing vs buying 

Look for areas where the competition is more scarce and make sure it will attract the right customer base. 

Enter your search for the perfect venue with the assumption that most people will be unwilling to accept inconvenience. If the potential space has limited parking, or is tricky to access, then you risk potential customers giving up and dining elsewhere.  

The affordability of a venue can be a big factor when it comes to selecting your location. Forecasting exactly what you can afford, and what your budget will allow, is very important. Ideally, you want to source a location with leasing costs that are well within your budget. This will give you a better chance at succeeding rather than operating with an additional financial burden. 

Fit-out your pizza shop with the right equipment 

So what equipment will your pizza shop need? Ultimately, this depends on your specific requirements, but there is a range of general equipment and smallwares needed to start a new pizza business. 

Pizza Ovens: This is the non-negotiable part of any pizza business. The capacity of your pizza oven will be one of the biggest factors in determining your pizza output and profitability.  While budget is always a constraint in the oven choice, make sure you consider production rates, as well as the belt and tray sizes of the oven. 

Canopy/range hoods: While not all pizza ovens may need a canopy, it’s always best to factor one into your fit-out.  

Pizza Prep Fridge: This is another essential for a pizza shop. A good pizza prep fridge, or prep bench will ensure ingredients are stored correctly within safe temperature ranges and improve production workflow.  

Dough Mixer: If you are making your own dough bases for the pizzas then a mixer is a must. 

Alongside mixers, you may also need a dough rounder (quite a luxury) and dough roller.  Both of these will speed up dough production greatly.  

Assorted Pizza trays: Once you decide on your pizza sizes you are going to need to invest in a stack of pizza trays in those sizes. Next, you will need to consider the type of metal the trays are made out of and its function in the cooking process. Don’t be afraid to use trial and error when it comes to choosing the right tray for your oven and business. 

Once you have your big-ticket items chosen you will have to gather the general utensils and accessories needed in a pizza shop. This can include:

  • Pan Gripper 
  • Pizza Knives 
  • Pizza Cutters
  • Dough boxes 
  • Dough ball trays 
  • Kitchen scales 
  • Pizza tray racks 
  • Stainless steel benches 

Hire the right employees

When choosing potential employees, always remember they will be the face of your brand and will need to be able to represent you in the best way possible. 

Before you begin the hiring process it’s important to invest time in identifying the exact skills you are looking for in prospective employees and the roles you want to fill. You will need to understand the type of values, character traits, and skills that will fit your business style.  

Advertise your pizza business 

With your team established, and your venue ready to go, you need to get the word out about your pizza shop. You want to create hype around your new pizzeria so you can entice customers to come and give it a try. 

Social Media: Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Create a business page on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social platforms that are relevant to your business style.  Populate the pages with imagery of your food, go behind the scenes of the fit-out, and include any information customers need to know.  

Create a website: Have an easy to navigate website that communicates all the necessary information about your business like menus, opening hours, and contact information. 

Create a Google business page: 46% of google searches are for local businesses, which means most people rely on google listings to find what they are after. Additionally “near me” searches have increased more than 500% so without your google business listing you could be missing out on these searches. 

For more ideas and advertising methods to try when opening your pizza shop, read our guide to innovative restaurant advertising methods. 

Have the tech to run and manage your pizza business effectively

Lastly, you will need a Point of Sale system to manage your pizza shop business.  Depending on your service style, you may have very specific requirements from a POS system.  

If you are offering delivery and takeaway services you are going to need an online ordering platform, like the Epos Now Order and Pay App. With this platform, venues can simply import all of their products and create a fully-branded and easily-accessible digital menu. This digital menu can be accessed by QR codes, or by entering a URL, and allows customers to easily order and pay directly from their phones and choose pick up or delivery if you offer it. 

Set up your Pizza shop for success with Epos Now 

  • Build your very own digital menu and offer online ordering with Epos Now Order & Pay
  • Use pop ups to add additional toppings to pizzas with ease
  • Integrate with over 100+ leading business tools that allow you to streamline marketing, improve customer loyalty, and simplified accounting processes
  • Accept credit, debit, gift cards, and offer contactless payments
  • Manage your data from anywhere with 24/7 cloud access

Contact a consultant to learn more about Epos Now!

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