Will Pizzerias just open 2 days a week?
Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 by Alan Pizzaiolo Tribe — No comments
I read with interest an article titled “Is fine dining unsustainable?” in the latest edition of the Caterer Magazine.
René Redzepi (of Noma restaurant) statements about the state of fine dining have struck a chord with many chefs and hospitality professionals. Having worked in a Michelin Starred restaurant myself, I know first hand how hard it is to turn a profit in these establishments. One may have a brigade of 14, 12 front of house staff, 2 receptionists and a Manager/General Manager, in a restaurant that can only seat 45 guests at any one time. In this particular establishment food cost was hovering around the 40% mark, which once you add in all the other costs, actually meant that the more we worked, the more we were losing money (true story). Of course in this case, the restaurant’s main objective was to give the hotel it was in visibility and prestige, but I digress.
Interestingly the article quotes a comment by chef Sven-Hanson Britt of Oxeye “The whole system is f**ked up. What’s the solution? £1000-a-head menus or two-day-a-week restaurants?”
My aim in general is to take broader hospitality issues and see how they relate to the pizzeria sector. Although there are a few celebrity pizzerias that can charge very high prices, most will not be able to do so. On the other hand reducing the amount of days we open or the hours we work is not such an absurd idea.
A typical pizzeria may well generate 50% of its turnover on Friday and Saturday, with 35% of this turnover generated by the 5 or so most popular pizzas. So why are we opening on other days as well? Is it because they help paying the rent and other fixed costs, or because we need to keep people in work and be able to offer them a decent monthly salary?
What about if the business is owner-operated and we only need extra help at the weekend, and we can easily find it? Can we then just open Thursday to Sunday?
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash