Friday, April 11, 2014

Goodfella's Captain America Mustang for Hot Fast Casual

Goodfella's Captain America Mustang
The latest weapon in the Pizza Wars of New York was revealed by the 2x World Champion Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza of Staten Island New York. Goodfella's has been a long time favorite of New York's Mayor's Giuliani and Bloomberg in Major sporting event bets such as the friendly mayoral wagers on both the NY Yankees and Mets for baseball and the NY Giants winning the Superbowl against the Patriots. 
The "Special Delivery" Mustang nicknamed Captain Amerca, was designed as a tribute to the P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II fame and the 87th Fighter Interceptor Squadron which was owner former NYPD Sergeant Cosentino's old Air Force Unit. Partners Andrew Scudera who runs the famous Victory Blvd. Goodfella's and Scot Cosentino who runs the the original Hylan Blvd. Goodfella's say they are now prepared to deliver the finest wood fired brick oven pizza on earth!
If the constant smiles and thumbs up are any indication this should be a very effective weapon indeed in the continuing battle of pizza superiority in NY.

Between hot delivery and the revolutionary revolving brick oven from the New York Brick Oven Company, Goodfella's is prepared for business.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to start a pizza place, part 2 by founder of Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza Pizza -The Concept

So let me begin by reiterating rule number 1 from my last installment: There are no rules. This is the prime rule and unless your in a perfect world there are  always going to be numerous ways to open a pizza place successfully
and advice will never be in short supply, especially from the un-informed. That being said and having opened a few successful places of various sizes and types in New York I can only speak from my own experience and hope it helps somebody new to this game or thinking about having a pizza place.
I am not a person who get's stuck on fixed ideas and unable to bend if need be but I also know that to get to a goal you have to set it or you can spin your wheels figuring as you go. What I mean by this is that if you start out building a full service restaurant with fine white linen table clothe dining and mid way through decide you don't have the knowledge or staff to make it happen, you may lose a lot of time and money regrouping and building a fast casual place. 
   What is your vision, at this moment we are in the midst of a huge fast casual pizza boom across America with at least one concept starting up in Canada that I am aware of of at this time. Simply put, the fast pizza casual concept centers around low cost, fast, small personal pies, high production where the customers are encouraged to walk up to prep area and direct the people assembling the pizzas as to what toppings they want without having to use a waitstaff to take orders at the tables. Self serve soda and a couple of grab and go items may also be available at the counter. Once the pie is made it is usually put in a wood or gas fired brick oven where it is cooked in under 3 minutes and handed back to the customer who then brings it to the table himself or takes it "to go".  The main contenders you can look at are Blaze, 800 Degree, Live Basil, Pieology, Rev and a soon to be concept in development from Chipotle called Pizza Locale out of Denver. 
  Then you have your traditional mom and pop slice places typified in film as a New York Pizza Joint where they make 16-18" pies in deck ovens and have various toppings on slices displayed at the counter for reheating as the customer orders or you can order a whole pie for the table, pick up or delivery. This is the place you see dough spinning overhead as it is stretched.  The slice joint usually has an a counter with an outside ordering window for walk ups and few tables in very small area. On occasion the pizza joint will have a dining room in the back and Italian staples like spaghetti, meatballs, chicken parm and rice balls on the menu too. 
  Next we have the Neapolitan style with it's strict cookie cutter pizza rules and certificates so that any place you visit should theoretically be like any other. These only use a traditional wood fired ovens, certain flour, toppings and must cook in under 90 seconds. Not conducive to take out and delivery but a favorite in parts of Italy. They usually have sit down table service and range in size and number of seats. 
  Next there your huge full service 200 seat places with a giant menu containing meats, fish, pasta, pizza, salads, drinks etc. These are usually chains and tend to be shopping high traffic areas connected to theaters, supermarkets or in tourist traps. 
  Brew pubs are gaining popularity and creating their own beer identity as they make various types and styles of pizza.
   Pick up and delivery only is what it sounds like in small store fronts with low grade pizza being the usual fair for your discount shoppers not particularly concerned with flavor, freshness or healthy choices.
   Lastly we have my own personal favorite and the places I usually search out when I'm in a new area: casual gourmet brick oven pizza such as the original Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza On Hyaln Blvd. in Staten Island New York. Before it was called fast casual they were making every pie to order-no slices and allowing the customers to choose their own toppings such as freshly roasted peppers or one of their gourmet delights such as the "Vodka Pie". These places are almost always independently owned and operated, use the freshest ingredients, cook in brick ovens such as those from the New York Brick Oven Co and have menus of various sizes with authentic Italian dishes. This type of place is usually bigger than a slice joint yet more comfortable than a big box chain. Where these places shine is in personal care and ensuring the customer is part of the experience and that he always feels welcome. 
   If you haven't decided on your style yet you still have time for some fun pizza eating research. Go to types of places you might want to open and see what they are doing. Once you decide on the style that fits you(and your budget) you need to determine your decor, name, style of pizza, size of place, furniture, uniform or not, atmosphere, music and if it's self serve or table service. That my friends is your concept which will need to clearly defined for next steps which will be in a future installment. Happy Pizza!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Join the Revolution-Revolving Brick Ovens for Gourmet Fast Casual Pizza

Gourmet Brick Oven Pizza has met it's maker. The Pizza Revolution has begun and leading the way with it's Inferno Series Revolving Brick Ovens is the New York Brick Oven Company. They perfected an oven for making incredible gourmet pizza at a break neck speed with consistency. Fired by wood, gas or a combination of the two with a separate heating element under the cooking surface to ensure it never loses heat. Optimum temperature control, Italian lava fire brick surface and ease of operation are what made the founders of Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza opt for these ovens. Fast casual pizza concepts around the country are placing orders to get ahead of the competition. What are you waiting for-Join the Revolution!
New York Brick oven Company delivers in the big city.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How to start a pizza place part 1 by founder of Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza

When asked for a simple plan in starting a pizza place, Goodfella’s co-founder Marc Cosentino had these suggestions for the would be entrepreneur:
First there are no hard and fast rules in this game other than 1) Make pizza and 2) sell that pizza. Everything else involves those 2 rules and can be broken down accordingly.
Some people do a lot of research and can research themselves into never starting if their not careful and make it too complicated and think they will never be able to do it. Some people like m brother Scot and I just decided to jump in 20 something years ago with no knowledge at all about the business but pure drive unwillingness to lose. Most people are somewhere in between and tend to concentrate on the aspects of the business they personally feel are most important such as design, recipe or marketing. This is where having partners with different skill sets come in handy.
One partner may be good at admin and another at cooking or logistics but the key is to be willing to confront whatever obstacles arise as you start the process.
Once you have decided to jump in you’ll need to figure a couple basics such as your type of establishment. This can be a straight small pizza only shop with a couple of tables and counter service, a brew pub, full service restaurant, fast casual made to order on the spot, free standing store in a prime location, strip mall and so forth depending on budget, availability and ability.
Once you have that worked out you can start on a menu which will be important before you design your place because moving equipment and moving walls and equipment to accommodate production gets expensive fast.
Remember, you can always change your mind as you go but a clear target is a lot easier to hit than a vague ever moving one is. I am referring to things like doing pick up and delivery in a place designed for only formal sitting or adding a brick oven instead of a deck oven for a different type of pizza and dining experience. Your design should also reflect your location and clientele. The amount of seating and delivery will also affect your kitchen, storage and refrigeration needs. while your at it you may need to brush up on different types of leases and real-estate offers such as triple net leases and build to suit. Since these will effect your initial lay out. Another option to consider is cost of buying verses operating costs if you decide to lease your equipment. In a high volume, prime location the monthly equipment cost may be worth not having a very high start up cost and try to get an option to buy the property if you can because your landlord will be like a partner after a while always getting his “cut” regardless of your sales or viability.
I think the easiest way to get some reality on this is to use an actual store I set up and the basic steps involved.
Our budget was way, way under what I would recommend but we were young and didn’t think of several things as we proceeded. Being under-capitalized( not having money to promote, pay staff, rent, utilities, attorneys, vendors…) at the start puts a terrible burden on the beginner so after you do the math and figure all your expenses add at least a 20% cushion or more to your business plan to be safe for unexpected delays, permits, construction, shipping and the like. I have seen multi-million dollar restaurants go under in NYC because of this.
You get your rent, equipment, utilities, staff pay(don’t forget yourself in this) insurance, construction, attorneys, carting, small wares, ingredients, packaging, and any other costs you can think of for the location size you plan on acquiring, then add in a marketing budget for ads, flyers, menus, t-shirts or uniforms, cleaning, heat and A/C(if needed) water bills, plumbers, electricians(great if you have friends) and then look again for more costs such as signage, taxes, permits and you get it in the bank-before you start please. Promises can be brake your heart.
end of part one-stay tune for part two- What is my concept? Join the Revolution!

Monday, March 10, 2014

World's Best Pizza Contest-Pizza Expo Las Vegas Nevada

Scot Cosentino of the New York Brick Oven Company wins the Title

If you are in the pizza industry, you have probably heard of Pizza Expo by now. It is the Super Bowl of the pizza world with close to 10,000 people from across the world attending Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 25th-27th.

 Anything involved in the business of  making pizza , delivering or selling pizza is represented here. The atmosphere is electric with characters from all parts of the US and the world involved in  buying, selling, lecturing, competing and most importantly-eating pizza. Representatives from all the major pizza equipment dealer such as Stanilsaus Tomatoes, Grande Cheese, New York Brick Ovens and Hobart Mixers will be in attendance. Then you have your pizza making contestants from around the world competing in spinning, stretching, tossing and making pizza in daily contests. If your shopping you can find ingredients, distributors, computer systems, signs and everything in between.
Lucky contest winners get the big check, acknowledgement from the pizza world and most important to future success: that priceless amount of press both locally and internationally. 
Andrew Scudera of Goodfella's Brick oven Pizza wins World's best Pizza!

Whether you are an owner, operator, manager or just an avid pizza fan you will enjoy this show and make some great connections and friends. Be sure to check out the New York Contingent of Goodfella's Brick oven Pizza, The Pizza 
School of New York and the New York Brick Oven Co. at booth 231 and say hello!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


This simple statement made me think of my past 20 years in the pizza industry and an observation I have made after seeing hundreds of employees come and go. Kids that are genuinely busy and engaged in attainable goals are not the ones using drugs. It is the ones that are not winning, not involved the game of life with no purpose or direction that get into drugs and the attending trouble. This is especially prone to occur when their "friends" are of the same ilk. There is always someone in the crowd who thinks it's cool to smoke weed and thinks nothing of the people he or she encourages to join him in using drugs as a way of combating what I have seen over and over as  pain, upset and lack of direction. When you say "hey that is not cool" you set the tone and make it known to all how you stand and maybe the example you just set will prevent another from going down that road. 
Lady Ga Ga Pizza by Marc Cosentino
When I see kids allowed to work, create and participate I see successful kids. When I see the ones who are coddled, given everything, not allowed to contribute, work, or participate, I see trouble coming. At Goodfella's Pizza in Staten Island I witnessed this over and over through the years. The kids thet enjoyed working and playing made something out of their lives while the ones always trying to "get over" get away with doing as little as possible, end up cheating themselves in the end. Drugs, crime, welfare, dependency always follow the "do nothings". In the police department we called them "empty suits"-guys just there to collect a check and never lift a finger to help anyone but themselves. I know you've seen similar things so encourage people especially kids to help, to work, find a hobby or a sport. They don't have to be good at it but they need to be encouraged to JUST DO IT because in this life that is the big difference between happiness and misery.