Getting into the wood-fired pizza business may be the answer.

No doubt you will have seen the increasing number of street food vendors in the UK. They must be onto something, right? But what most people don’t know is that street trading is not necessarily the end game. It’s just the entry point to the much more lucrative and easy to manage private catering market. And what’s more you don’t need any to have any specific skills to succeed just a strong desire to do well and the energy and ability to work for yourself.

Since 1999 I have been cooking food in wood fired ovens. I’m originally from South Africa and I just love a good braai (OK that’s a BBQ to most of you). Nothing beats cooking with fire.

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When I came to the UK I was excited about bringing good BBQ to Brits. But in exploring the catering model and especially the street food model I could not find a way to really do BBQ without potentially incurring huge losses. The cost of ingredients was so high and there was a lot of wastage.

What I did find was a model with a guaranteed market approval and that had as close to zero wastage as you can get. It has a high perceived skill requirement and simply outrageous gross profit margins.

When I started doing wood fired pizza catering it was a new market. Over the last 5 years there has been a mini explosion of street food traders but within this only a relatively small number of mobile pizza vendors.

That’s not because the model is not good, it’s because there’s a barrier to entry that not all can afford.

Why is pizza a better model than other street food?

You see, other street food is much cheaper to get into and so the market is often saturated. A crêpe van and the equipment to cook crêpes may only cost a couple of hundred pounds, juicers are even cheaper and a pig roaster only costs a grand or two. As for coffee, there are far too many mobile coffee units out there, good equipment is expensive for what it is and the system requires a lot of people to staff an event and keep the coffee flowing.

At the last festival I was at there was a five man team on one of the coffee units competing with the. Two made coffee, one person took orders and money and one person served the coffees to the customer. And then there was the runner. I timed them and their capacity was two coffees per minute. That works out at a gross revenue of £1 per person per minute.

There was a pig roast guy there too. He was selling a pork bap for £3 and had two pigs going with a four man team but in order to make money he would have to sell out. He had also been cooking the pigs for 6 hrs and at the end of the gig he had a pig and a half to dispose of.

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The burger guy was selling cheap burgers for £2.50 and left early because he was not making money and had a whole load of beef patties that would need to be thrown away.

Compare that to the pizza model that I have developed and rolled out across the country with just 120 caterers so far. A pizza cooked in 45 seconds from fresh has an average sale value of between £6and £12 and a gross margin of around 90%. Let’s put that into perspective. We sell a Margarita pizza for £6 irrespective of what the burger bloke next to us is selling at because good pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven is perceived to be a premium product. Yet it costs us just 40p in ingredients.

That’s a whopping £5.60 profit every 45 seconds. With the overheads of just a two man team. Or an equivalent profit of £2.80 per person and I’m talking profit here not gross like in the coffee model. What’s even better is that I can teach you how to do this even if you have no previous experience whatsoever.

This is not a get rich scheme and I am not saying it’s easy to work hard. But if you tried to do this alone you would end up making all the mistakes that I did (and learnt from) and for what?

Here is another interesting fact. If you look at success rates of new business start-ups you will find that it’s terrible at around 20 %. Not odds that you would want to risk your redundancy package.

But starting a wood fired pizza business with us has a track record of 80% success [Jay elsewhere you say 90%]. That’s comparable with franchise models but without all those annoying aspects of the franchise model. There are no deals to sign, no long term contracts. You are free to call your business whatever you want, free to trade wherever you want and there are no upfront buy in fees.
Remember I said that 80% of my customers who followed my model were successful? Would you like to know why the other 20% failed?

Let’s get this straight. 20 % fail on the whole because they are lazy. They are not prepared to get up in the morning. They lack self-motivation and drive. Ok that’s a bit harsh. Some fail because the partnership they started broke up or they could not hack the self-employment route and preferred a monthly wage.

Well if you’re done with all that working for someone else lark it’s time to work for yourself. And if you like mixing with people and enjoy cooking, this could be the opportunity for you.

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And don’t worry; you don’t need to be a skilled pizziolo with years of experience to cook great pizza, whatever the Italians might say. When I’ve taught you how to make a good pizza you won’t believe how easy it is. 120 customers cooking over 1.8 million pizzas a year in my ovens can’t be wrong. I said earlier that thankfully there is a barrier to market and yes there is. It’s the cost of the equipment to get started. Good ovens don’t come cheap and mine are the best. Experience doesn’t come cheap and when you buy one of my ovens I give you all the advice, tricks and techniques you need to be successful.

So depending on what kind of pizza selling model you are looking to set up you are going to need at least £15k to get your business up and running at entry level. Depending on the model this can rise to as much as £64k. Not all that money is for the oven but it’s fair to say that one of my wood fired ovens is going to set you back at least £6.5k. Now if you have been doing any research into catering or franchise models you will know that this is a lot more than a crêpe plate or a bit more than a coffee machine but it’s a lot cheaper than a franchise model without any of those annoying factors. It still has a proven system, marketing strategy and customer acquisition model. And just like a franchise model there is a manual on how to run the system and what you need to know. (Like I said, I want you to succeed.)

There is also the opportunity for training and mentoring so that you can grow your business as big as you like. Many of my customers have easily exceeded the VAT threshold in their first year of trading. Some customers regularly turnover £250k a year. Others choose to run their units as an occasional business simply to pay for their annual luxury holiday. The important thing to remember is that this model has the potential to deliver 90% gross margin so you can run your business any way you like.

So what are you going to do with your redundancy money? What would you like to do with your time? If what I have been talking about has resonated with you then we’d love you to come and visit our workshop to find out more.

Fill in your details below to sign up for our free no obligation discovery seminar where I will run through the business model, explain my system and cook some fantastic pizza. I look forward to meeting you.

PS There are only two real requirements. You need an entrepreneurial, enthusiastic spirit and a minimum of £15k to start up your business. If you have more available that’s good news because it opens up more choices for you.

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