Pizza Today - September 2019 - 16

Man on the Street
SCOTT WIENER

Frozen
Assets
"To know your enemy, you must
become your enemy." Legendary Chinese military leader Sun Tzu doesn't get
quoted in a lot of pizza industry publications, but it's entirely relevant given a
trend I've noticed recently. Frozen pizza
is becoming local. What was once seen as
a lowly food of desperation is now being
embraced by mom and pop pizzerias
across the country.
The first independent I remember
seeing in grocery stores was Artichoke
Basille. The Greenwich Village pizzeria
garnered enough attention to attract the
A&P supermarket chain, leading to an
exclusive deal in 2011 to manufacture and
package frozen pizzas using Artichoke's
recipes. Frozen pizza isn't a huge business in New York City, so the move was
designed to spread the Artichoke brand
while simultaneously nurturing a product
line that could potentially be sold to a
competitor for big bucks. Unfortunately
those competitors are few and they are
huge, so Artichoke dropped the line after
five years. Between delivery logistics and
slotting fees, they nearly lost their shirts.
Brooklyn's Table 87 pitched their
frozen product as an alternative to the
typical factory pizza, focusing on the fact
that they bake theirs in a coal-fired oven.
The concept was enticing enough to land
them a segment on ABC's Shark Tank in
2015, which resulted in a $250k investment from Lori Greiner. Roberta's Pizza,
also located in Brooklyn, uses the same
marketing approach with a wood-fired
pizza. They had to do major recipe modifications so their pizzas could handle the
rigors of being frozen and reheated. They
upped the hydration in their dough and
1 6 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9

applied their house-made mozzarella
only after the bake to account for
the effects of their customers' home
ovens.
Zuppardi's Apizza in West Haven,
CT got into the game before frozen
pizza was cool, baking and freezing
pizzas in-house and selling them
directly to customers back in the early
1990s. They realized their customers were buying frozen pizza at the
grocery store, so why miss out on the
opportunity to meet that need? It was
a brilliant move that required only
a freezer, vacuum sealer and some
extra cold storage. Only in the past
year has the pizzeria expanded into
supermarkets, which came with new
requirements. The USDA requires a
completely separate kitchen with its
own set of equipment. That required
an investment of $150k, but with a
presence in 21 local supermarkets
(plus 10 in Texas) and a sales record
already outperforming some national
brands, it appears to have been a
smart move.
The decision to approach the frozen
pizza market from a local rather than
national perspective is what differentiates Zuppardi's approach from that

of Artichoke and Table 87. While
Artichoke almost went under trying
to compete with the rock-bottom
prices of huge national brands, Zuppardi's positioned theirs as a premium
local product and sold to customers
already familiar with their name. Pizzerias can even reach fans across the
country by shipping directly (like Lou
Malnati's, Aurelio's and Giordano's
in Chicago) or selling through online
marketplaces like Goldbelly. The
downside to getting into the shipping
business is space; you'll need room
for shipping boxes, packing foam, and
dry ice. The upside is providing your
fans across the country with a taste of
home.
It's clear that the food industry is
having an affair with words like local
and craft, so why wait for the national
frozen pizza companies to encroach
upon your territory? It's inevitable
that we'll see ancient grains and sourdough crusts in the grocery store, so
now might be the right time to carve
your own home in your customers'
freezers. ■
SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott's
Pizza Tours in New York City and
SliceOutHunger.org.

JOSH KEOWN


http://www.SliceOutHunger.org http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - September 2019

Pizza Today - September 2019
Commentary
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
@ Pizza Today
Conversation
Man on the Street
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead to Know
Destinations
Payment Options
Cheese Blends
Flatbread Pizza
Cauliflower Crust
Raising Wages
Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
The New Wave of American Pizza
Pizza Today on the Road: New York City Tour
Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - September 2019 - CT1
Pizza Today - September 2019 - CT2
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today - September 2019
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover2
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Commentary
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 4
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 5
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 6
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 7
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Contributors
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 9
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 11
Pizza Today - September 2019 - @ Pizza Today
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 13
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Conversation
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 15
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 17
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 19
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 21
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 22
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 23
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Destinations
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 25
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Payment Options
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 27
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 28
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 29
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 30
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 31
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cheese Blends
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 33
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 34
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 35
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Flatbread Pizza
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 37
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 38
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 39
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cauliflower Crust
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 41
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 42
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 43
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Raising Wages
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 45
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 46
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 47
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 49
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 50
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 51
Pizza Today - September 2019 - The New Wave of American Pizza
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 53
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 54
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 55
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today on the Road: New York City Tour
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 57
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 58
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 59
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 60
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 61
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 62
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 63
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 64
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 65
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 66
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 67
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 69
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 70
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 71
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 73
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 74
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 75
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 76
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 77
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 78
Pizza Today - September 2019 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 80
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 81
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 82
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 83
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 84
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 85
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 86
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 87
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 88
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover3
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover4
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