How to open a pizza shop in 8 steps?

Thinking of opening a pizza shop? There’s more to it than serving a tasty slice. What are the legalities of serving pizza? What equipment do you need to get started? Are there tools that can drive your success?

At SumUp, we help small businesses with big ideas to thrive. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips, with everything from admin formalities to marketing essentials included. 

Give your pizza shop the best start with our complete guide.

Progress bar

Step 1 of 1

Promote your restaurant - online - for free

Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor: find out all the tips you need to promote your restaurant for free on online platforms.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing communications from SumUp.

1. Writing a business plan

Start by getting your ideas down on paper.

A business plan is a professional outline of your new pizza shop, including your goals, finances and marketing strategy. You’ll use it to raise capital and find partners for your startup, as well as keep your new team focused on your vision.

If you’re not sure what to include, here’s a quick look at some essentials to get started.

Executive summary & company descriptions

Your executive summary introduces your pizza shop. In no more than half a page, talk about your business model, goals, and financial situation. 

For your company description, you can go a bit deeper into your concept. Look into where your company will fit into the market, what will affect its success and what future potential your pizza shop has. 

Market & competitor analysis

Your research should prove that there’s an audience for your pizza shop as well as show how you’ll differentiate yourself from other brands serving tasty slices.

Don’t be scared to use competitor ideas in your own business model, too. Just be careful not to become a copy and paste of someone else’s pizza shop.

Execution & marketing plan

How are you going to fulfil your goals? Talk about:

  • Organisational structure.

  • Team operations.

  • Leadership team information.

  • How you’ll make a profit.

Include marketing strategies that will help you build your brand, too. Add plans to attract and retain customers and a timeline for your goals.

Financial projections

Honest and transparent financial details are a must if you want to win over investors. 

As a startup, you won’t have details of profits and losses, but you can discuss how much you currently have and how much you need. A projected cash flow statement will show how you’ll spend investor money, too.

2. Find the financing you need to open a pizza shop

There are a few different paths to finding the money you need. We recommend looking into:

  • Business loans.

  • Personal financing and credit.

  • Loans from friends and family.

  • Crowdfunding.

  • Angel investors.

  • Venture capitalists.

If you’re new to the world of financing, speak to a bank or accountant. They’ll give you professional advice to get your pizza shop off the ground and help you make the right financial decisions for your business’s future.

3. Apply the right VAT

VAT can sound pretty complex if you’ve never dealt with it before, but it’s actually not difficult to get the hang of.

As a business, you need to register for VAT in the UK once you make £85,000 in taxable turnover.

When building your pizza company, though, you can voluntarily register to pay VAT before you make a profit. This lets you reclaim VAT on other goods or services you buy, making it worthwhile as you build your business.

Here’s a quick overview of the different VAT schemes you can apply:

  • Standard VAT - VAT is calculated for sales and purchases when they’re invoiced.

  • Cash accounting VAT - VAT is calculated for sales and purchases when the invoices are paid.

  • Annual accounting scheme - only file a VAT return once a year as opposed to the quarterly filing of standard and cash accounting.

  • Flat rate VAT - use a fixed rate percentage to calculate your VAT.

When setting your business up to pay VAT, you’ll start with standard VAT. If you want to change to one of the other choices, be sure to let HMRC know and stay consistent with your choice.

4. Take care of administrative formalities

Admin tasks might not be the most exciting, but they are essential to getting your pizza shop off the ground. Before you dive into creating a brick-and-mortar brand, here’s what you have to do.

Get your licenses & permits

You’ll need a license or permit if you want to:

  • Sell food and drinks.

  • Serve alcohol.

  • Sell goods online.

  • Trade in the street.

For a full list, be sure to check what licences and permits you need on the government website

Becoming an employer

Who’s serving your pizza? If you’re employing staff, you’ll need to understand your responsibilities as an employer.

You’ll need employer’s liability insurance to start with. Don’t forget to sort out staff pensions and payroll, too, and whether you’ll be paying for your team’s National Insurance. 

5. Create a legal structure for your pizzeria

When registering your business with the UK government, you have 3 legal structures to choose from:

  1. Sole trader.

  2. Limited company.

  3. Partnership.

As you’re opening a shop, it’s normal to go down the limited company route. You’ll attract more investors, pay less tax and keep your personal assets protected.

Registering as a partnership is only done if you’re opening up with someone else. You’ll have shared responsibility for your pizza shop and both be accountable for company debt. 

6. Find commercial premises

Choosing the right space can make or break a business, so don’t rush your property hunt. Instead, take a look at our advice to find the perfect commercial spot.

Know your area

Your pizza shop should slot right into the community you choose. Using market research, find a town that:

  1. Isn’t saturated with existing pizza shops.

  2. Shows demand for your business model.

Don’t forget foot traffic

Areas with a lot of foot traffic (like a high street) are highly desirable. The bigger your audience, the more slices you’re likely to sell.

But these areas often come with a higher price tag. You might have to spend more on your premises or compromise on a smaller space to make the money work. 

So, is it worth it? As a startup, a larger audience will help when building your brand and offers a lot of exposure. But if the costs will cause you to struggle, stick to a cheaper spot and focus on a solid, cost-effective marketing strategy.

To lease or to buy?

Renting your space is the go-to option for startups with smaller budgets. Even if you do have the cash to spend, you might enjoy the ability to up and move if your space isn’t quite right. 

But do remember that renting also means your landlord can decide not to renew your lease. By buying your space, your future is more secure. You can also do what you want with your building without any landlord restrictions. 

Eat in or takeaway?

Have you decided whether you want customers to dine in or eat your pizza on the go? If you haven’t, now’s the time to.

With dining options, you can bump up prices on your menu and cater to a wider audience. Be aware, though, that you’ll have to spend more for a larger space.

By offering takeaway pizza, you can get away with much a smaller building. There are plenty of digital tools that can make takeaway service stress-free and seamless, too, like SumUp’s restaurant kiosks. Handing order control over to your customers and freeing up your staff to focus on other tasks, it’s a new way to build your business.

7. Define material and human requirements

It’s time to fill your new space. As a pizza shop, there’s a lot of equipment you’ll need to get started. Here’s a run-through of some of the basics to help you build your shopping list:

Kitchen equipment

Depending on how you make your pizza and what else you’ll serve, you’ll need includes:

  • Ovens and grills.

  • Fridges and freezers.

  • Cookware and utensils.

  • Chopping boards.

  • Blenders and processors.

  • Sinks, dishwashers and washing-up tools.

Don’t forget the ingredients, too. Well-stocked cupboards are the making of a good pizza shop. 

Front-of-house furniture

How you decorate your front-of-house area will tell potential customers a lot about your business. Consider the image you want to display before finding furnishings that match your vibe.

Branded items are essential, too. From napkins to salt and pepper shakers, add your branding colours or business logo to create a cohesive feel to the space.

Staff uniforms

Staff uniforms are a must for pizza shop branding. Parts of the uniform will maintain health and safety standards in your business, too, such as hair nets and gloves. 

Point of sale systems

Optimise your processes with a point of sale (POS) system. This will make it easy for your team to:

  • See itemised bills.

  • Take payments.

  • Organise bookings. 

  • See menu and order updates.

  • Communicate between the kitchen and front-of-house.

You’ll also be able to view valuable data, like details of customer behaviour so that you can suggest personalised recommendations. 

8. Set up a marketing plan

When opening a pizza shop, marketing is crucial if you want to earn new customers and retain those you already have. Key strategies we recommend looking into include:

For your marketing, though, nothing is more important than providing delicious pizza and high-quality service.

Make sure your team is ready to go from the moment your doors open by joining the SumUp community. From card readers to a free business account, we help drive efficiency in your new space with a range of digital tools.

Progress bar

Step 1 of 1

Promote your restaurant - online - for free

Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor: find out all the tips you need to promote your restaurant for free on online platforms.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing communications from SumUp.

Liza Giraud

We'll help you find a tailored setup. Request a callback

Free delivery. 30-day money-back guarantee.