Pies for Sky-High Sales
Making the Best Pizza

April 6, 2017 No Comments

Pizza is a popular grab-and-go food option at roller skating centers, and there are many pizza options available to choose from. Some roller skating centers opt for buying pre-made pizza, like Rola-Rena Roller Skating Center in Green Bay, Wis. “We have a local pizza place, Hansen’s Pizza, make our pizzas for us,” said Owner Mary Dollar. “They are well known in our community and use only fresh ingredients, Wisconsin cheese, etc.”

A pizza place that is well-known in the community provides pizza for the Rola-Rena Roller Skating Center. The pizzas are not baked ahead of time and are served fresh.

A pizza place that is well-known in the community provides pizza for the Rola-Rena Roller Skating Center. The pizzas are not baked ahead of time and are served fresh.

Dollar said that the key to the best pizza is serving it fresh. “We pride ourselves in our four pizza ovens and serve fresh-baked as needed,” she explained. “We do not bake our pizzas ahead of time. Serve fresh as ordered!”

At Wigwam Skate and Event Center in Terre Haute, Ind., Owners Robert Kramer and Henry Ledezma add their signature flair to pre-made pizza ingredients. “We buy our product from Delco Foods in Indianapolis, Ind., a huge Italian food and pizza distributor that provides fine foods to many restaurants and high-end Italian eateries in the state,” said Kramer. “We use their prepared sauce, which contains real tomatoes, but we tweak the sauce by adding jalapeño juice, creole seasoning, and brown sugar. A little bit of heat and a little bit of sweet makes for a great-tasting sauce.”

Kramer added that they only use “fresh grated cheese… never frozen,” and a special blend of seasoning on the crust. “We butter our crust with a butter garlic herb, and a seasoning blend we mix ourselves gives it a great taste and browns the crust perfectly,” he said.

A Wigwam Skate and Event Center employee photographed with a pizza. Fresh, never frozen, grated cheese is used on the center’s pies.

A Wigwam Skate and Event Center employee photographed with a pizza. Fresh, never frozen, grated cheese is used on the center’s pies.

Kramer agreed with Dollar that fresh, hot pizza is best. “Hot and fresh and made to order,” he said. “For better tasting slices, we recommend our guests buy their own 7-inch pizza rather than slices held in the warming display.”

Janet Hardridge, owner of Skate Moore in Moore, Okla., said that it’s important to avoid pizza ingredients that are too sweet. “Savory pizza will sell sweets after the fact,” she explained. “Candy, ice cream or even a dessert pizza would be great to have on hand after serving a great pizza.”

When it comes to cheese, Hardridge recommended fresh cheese without a lot of corn starch. “Clumps of powder on the pizza isn’t very appetizing,” she said. As for crust, Hardrige said that her team uses a self-rising garlic crust. “It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside,” she explained. “The garlic adds to the flavor of the pizza and creates a great fragrance while cooking that customers love.”

Robert Kramer and Henry Ledezma, owners of Wigwam Skate and Event Center in Terre Haute, Ind. At the center, the pizza crust is seasoned with a butter garlic herb and a house-mixed seasoning blend for a great taste and a perfectly browned crust.

Robert Kramer and Henry Ledezma, owners of Wigwam Skate and Event Center in Terre Haute, Ind. At the center, the pizza crust is seasoned with a butter garlic herb and a house-mixed seasoning blend for a great taste and a perfectly browned crust.

The best pizza is hot pizza, according to Hardridge. “Serve it hot,” she advised. “If you have a warmer, limit how much time the pizza sits in there. Old pizza tastes bad, looks bad and reflects poorly on your snack area and employees.”

Choosing the best sauce was a lengthy process at Skateland West Family Fun Center in Westland, Mich., according to Owner/General Manager Cody Bailey. “We have spent a large amount of time sampling dozens of different sauces from an unprepared tomato sauce base to fully-prepared sauces,” he said. “We have opted to use fully-prepared sauces, and we only select ones made fresh (not from concentrate), California-grown tomatoes.”

Bailey added that making the best pizza involves using just the right amount of sauce. “Beyond the variety, brand and style of sauce we use, the key to success is all about the amount,” he said. “Our standard size pizza is 14 inches. We use a 4-ounce portion control ‘spoodle’ to ensure that every pizza our kitchen produces has 4 ounces of sauce, which is the perfect amount to provide great coverage without a heavy, overbearing weight/taste. The unique blend of oil, spices and fresh tomatoes we currently use provides a perfect layer of flavor and zest to every pizza we serve.”

Michael Brookes, rink ranger, Skateland West Family Fun Center, Westland, Mich. The best pizza involves using just the right amount of sauce, the owner and general manager said.

Michael Brookes, rink ranger, Skateland West Family Fun Center, Westland, Mich. The best pizza involves using just the right amount of sauce, the owner and general manager said.

Choosing the right cheese involved a delicate balance between taste, texture and price, according to Bailey. “When it comes to cheese, we set out to find a unique blend that provides consistent melt and flow and a low burn possibility at an affordable cost,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t find that option exactly, so we crafted our own blend. We use a feather-shredded part skim mozzarella cheese mixed with a whole milk mozzarella… The higher moisture content from the whole milk cheese creates a better melt and flow, ensuring your pizza doesn’t come out looking under melted or burnt. By blending the higher-cost whole milk mozzarella with the part skim mozzarella, we are able to increase the moisture level but keep our costs at a reasonable level to maximize profit.”

Rather than making pizza dough from scratch, Bailey said that he found partially-baked crusts to be the best option. “Due to the nature of our industry and the speed in which we have to provide a large number of pizzas, we have opted to use par-baked pizza dough,” he explained. “This decision came after a series of test runs with dough balls, pre-sheeted proof-and-bake dough sheets, pre-sheeted freezer-to-oven and so on. In the end, the most affordable, consistent and highest-quality option we found was a par-baked crust.”

A party room at Skateland West Family Fun Center in Westland, Mich. The center uses fully-prepared sauces using California-grown tomatoes for its pizza.

A party room at Skateland West Family Fun Center in Westland, Mich. The center uses fully-prepared sauces using California-grown tomatoes for its pizza.

After another long search, Bailey said that he found the best par-baked crust at a local supplier. “When we finally switched to par-baked, we endured an entirely new round of test runs to find the perfect crust,” he explained. “We were fortunate enough to find a Michigan-based food supplier that works directly with a local bakery to produce fresh, high-quality par-baked pizza crusts. To complete our crust, we brush the dough with a liquid butter and garlic powder mixture, adding an extra layer of flavor to our pizza.”

To serve the perfect pizza, Bailey recommended using high-quality ingredients and making it fresh to order. “Freshness, consistency, and quality.” He said. “When booking parties, I spend a lot of time explaining that our pizza is prepared fresh and in house to order. Using frozen, pre-made pizzas and microwaving them, or ordering 60 pizzas from a local pizza shop and storing them all day, isn’t good for your guests, and it isn’t good for your bottom line. Using a par-baked pizza crust, a mozzarella cheese blend and a high-quality sauce, I’m able to keep my food cost per large pizza to 20 percent. Compare that to the costs of pre-made frozen pizzas in the microwave or from a local pizza shop, and you’ll see that you’re losing money and providing your guests with a low-quality product. So again, to serve great pizza, do it yourself in-house, do it to order and develop a consistent system of prep/cook with quality ingredients.”

At Skateland West Family Fun Center, feather-shredded part skim mozzarella cheese mixed with a whole milk mozzarella is used for the pizza. Shown is a party room at the center.

At Skateland West Family Fun Center, feather-shredded part skim mozzarella cheese mixed with a whole milk mozzarella is used for the pizza. Shown is a party room at the center.

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