HOW BUSHMAN WOOD BURNING OVENS BLAZED A TRAIL IN THE STREET FOOD REVOLUTION
For Jay Emery, the founder and owner of Bushman Wood Burning Ovens, his first encounter with clay ovens was a disaster. In 1999, his wife Elaine bought him a Chimenea from a garden centre and the Chimenea lasted just one fire and then fell apart.
This mini disaster proved to be the catalyst for Jay to totally re-think the whole business of making the perfect Chimenea. He called his invention The Bushman and his unique manufacturing process was granted a patent in 2000. With the rapid expansion of the street food catering scene (driven by changing food tastes, the proliferation of food programmes on television and, most crucially the recession of 2008), the obvious next step was to expand the Chimenea range into wood fired ovens.
And Bushman is now the market leader in mobile wood burning ovens. Indeed, 75% of all the wood fired mobile catering businesses that are registered with NCASS (The Nationwide Caterers Association) run Bushman ovens. And that’s a fact that is hard to ignore.
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SO WHAT MAKES THE BUSHMAN SO UNIQUE AND SO SUCCESSFUL?
The vagaries of the British weather mean that ambient temperatures are very hard to predict. Bushman ovens uses a range of refractory materials together with specialist reinforcing and layering to create an oven that is utterly reliable in any weather condition. This means that it can perfectly and consistently cook a pizza in just 45 seconds. We don’t want to blind you with science but the Bushman [mobile] range is entirely different from [your typical] restaurant wood burning oven. Our design incorporates eight independent layers of reinforcement and yet it is light enough to be easily transportable. Many other competitor products are either over designed or severely under designed in terms of their thermal capacities. The Bushman does everything you want – it heats up really quickly, maintains an even temperature easily and cools down very slowly – and it just keeps on doing it day after day, year after year. These characteristics combined with really efficient use of wood and our superb after sales support is precisely why we are quite so popular with street food pizza business owners.
THE BUSHMAN CAN GUARANTEE YOU A GOOD INCOME. BUT YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT
In the UK it’s a recognised statistic that 80% of new business start-ups fail. At Bushman 90% of our new business customers succeed. We have a proven strategy for success and our track record shows that all that is required to guarantee success is to follow our advice closely and to work hard.
Everything we know about the successful operation of Bushman wood fired ovens and how to build a thriving business is contained in Jay Emery’s manual “EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOBILE PIZZA CATERING”. This manual is given to you only when you purchase a Bushman and it really does contain everything you need to know about setting up and running a very successful street food pizza business. We now have over 120 businesses using Bushman products in the UK. And the market is growing by leaps and bounds as there are more festivals happening all the time and all sorts of occasions where your pizzas will go down a storm. Our manual shows you all the strategies to get work. It tackles everything from marketing, ingredients purchasing, dough temperature controls, to cost controls and vehicle layout. It’s the mobile pizza bible and it really works. Hard work and enthusiasm is the key. One of our start up customers is on target to turn over £120,000 in the first seven months since set up and long term customers operating two ovens are on target to turnover £250,000 this year alone.
SO WHAT DOES IT COST AND WHICH TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM SHOULD I USE?
At Bushman we believe in straight talking. There is absolutely no point beating around the bush when you are starting a new business in which you have a huge amount riding. Good things cost money. We are not the cheapest on the market. But we are the best – and can prove it.
Our entry-level no-frills trailer start from about £8k but you will need £15k as an absolute minimum to get your business up and running. An oven in a stand-in trailer will set you back approximately £25-35K. If you opt for an oven built into a mobile vehicle it very much depends on which type of van you choose. For example, with a classic vehicle conversion such as a Citröen H-Van your initial costs would range from £35-55k.
How you decide to start your street food wood fired pizza business is entirely up to your budget and the way you decide to style your business. But let’s be quite clear about this – the £15k Bushman Oven mounted on a trailer will cook with the same speed and efficiency as any of our ovens housed in the more expensive transportation options. So earning potential is exactly the same.
THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE AND HOW TO USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
You want an oven that cooks fast, which minimises the need for staff and which maximises profits. We have built our success on the sheer quality and reliability of all Bushman Wood Fired Ovens.
We have learned a lot over the years and it’s all contained in our manual “EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOBILE PIZZA CATERING BUSINESS”.
So let’s take a look at a couple of tips from the manual that may well surprise you:
● Use an Honesty Box
We know for a fact that a mobile wood fired pizza business operates most efficiently in terms of profitability if you have only two operators on the trailer or vehicle. With one person making the pizzas and doing the toppings and one person running the oven and serving, you have a tight and efficient team. We also know that a two person team can deliver 70 pizzas an hour with our medium oven.
We strongly advise new businesses to operate an honesty box for making payments. You may well think this is mad – but we know that it works.
Let’s look at the numbers. The cost of a third member of staff is approximately £100 per day. And that comes straight off your bottom line. At the first festival where we applied the Honesty Box everyone thought we were mad. At the end of the day the take was £2,500 and the discrepancy was £47. Go do the Maths. We didn’t have to give out change – which is always a major hassle and by not having a third member of staff we saved £100 in wages.
By running an honesty system the whole business is dramatically streamlined and customers really buy into this open and friendly attitude. It may sound a little dippy hippy, but customers really like it and it adds to the buzz around your oven. It takes courage to trust people but we have found that if you can find that courage you will be amply rewarded. The honesty box policy works even better if it is supported by a banner which says “We Promise To Make You An Honestly Good Pizza, If You Pay Us Honestly”.
● Make ordering simple
Experience has taught us to keep things very simple. Three types of 10 inch pizza at three different price points. Let’s say £6 for a Margherita, £7 for a Pepperoni and £8 for Brie, Courgette and Caramelised Onion. When a customer comes to the vehicle or trailer you give them a printed sheet with the pizza offerings and prices. They then simply circle the pizzas and extras that they want. And, here’s the crucial bit, the customer adds his or her name and the order goes into the system. When the pizza is ready the customer’s name is called out. This makes the whole process much more personal than calling out a number and it re-enforces the Honesty Box concept.
We know this business back to front. We want all our customers to succeed. Street trading and festivals are just the start. We also know that the most lucrative and enjoyable work is in private catering. And we can help you to develop a strategy to move your business in this direction.
IT’S NO ACCIDENT THAT WE ARE THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS
We have been working at it a long time and we are constantly trying to improve what we do. The success rate of our customers speaks volumes for the quality of our ovens. If you want to really succeed in the mobile wood fired pizza business, choose to work with Bushman. That’s where the smart money is.
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