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Ex-Little Caesars franchisee stokes sales after Red Brick Pizza revamp

Ex-Little Caesars franchisee stokes earnings after Red Brick Pizza revamp

QUARTZ HILL, CALIF. -- Red Brick Pizza, a 10-unit conversion notion that climbed from the remnants of a severed Little Caesars franchise arrangement, is constructing its own growth momentum following introducing a gas-fired hearth oven made to slit baking time to 2 and a half an hour.

Ex-Little Caesars franchisee Jim Minidis along with his wife, Lynn, in shifting gears to become franchisors of Red Brick Pizza, found the oven in a brand new, co-branded, drive-thru version of this Red Brick notion.

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He spent roughly $60,000 a unit to modify over to Red Brick Pizza, whose brick-oven format comprised newly developed recipes.

Those earnings compare with the documented $303,000-per-store earnings of Little Caesars in 1998. At least six Red Brick places are under development, Minidis explained.

Following his first conversions Minidis claimed the budget price-points recognizable to Little Caesars' clientele. Red Brick's single-topping whole pies begin at $5.99, also 12"gourmet" and"specialization" mixes begin at $9.99. Red Brick units also provide collections of salads, side items and drinks.

After starting the notion, Minidis last May started selling all 10 of the places into franchises as turn-key operations, for $85,000 to $100,000 per unit, based on landlord and tenant enhancements.

Lately, Red Brick unrolled its most recent twist on pizza in a drive-thru place in Lancaster, Calif.. The website comes with a toaster using a revolving, circular hearth, which bakes pizzas in one two-and-a-half-minute rotation. The place cost roughly $60,000 to retrofit to an 8-year-old gas channel using an Alta Dena dairy-and-grocery ministore, Minidis explained. He estimated pizza earnings of $2,000 per day in the place, whose pops are offered by the slice or whole. Oven capacity is 120 pizzas each hour, '' he explained.

The quick ovens will soon be provided to existing franchisees and will cost roughly $45,000 for a conversion, Minidis explained. Six franchised units which are currently in development will include the quick-cooking oven, such as a brand new 40-seat restaurant version that's slated to start in January in Castaic, Calif., '' he said.

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Minidis stated he had no plans to market his ovens out the Red Brick company.

In the co-branded Alta Dena-Red Brick drive-thru place, pepperoni-topped pies are burned occasionally during the day to get instant earnings. Custom-topped pies are baked to order, and clients, after putting their orders, then drive into another side of their building, where a worker walks out the pizza to the vehicle. Speaker boxes weren't set up, Minidis explained, because they'd delay earnings of the shop's dairy and sundry merchandise.

Brad Cosgrove, franchisee of this drive-thru unit, wouldn't say his complete store sales or client counts prior to the Red Brick Pizza retrofit. But he explained the addition enlarged his gains by building individual trades from the prior $2-to-$3 degree. Cosgrove estimated a gain margin of 60 to 75 percent on pizza revenue, in comparison to his 20-percent gross profit on other retail earnings. In addition, he expected increased earnings for the shop's beers and soft drinks, which can be bundled with single-topping pizzas to get a discount.

The drive-thru retrofit involved placing a screen window onto the street-facing facet of this 120-square-foot construction in addition to installing the toaster, a counter machine, a dough media along with also a sink, Minidis explained. The toaster and counter module could fit into a room as small as 80 square feet, he added.

A product-design important in college, Minidis set that background to function in creating not just the advertising materials and emblem for Red Brick but also in developing a proprietary labor-scheduling applications application, known as Labor $aver. Minidis now is trying to create a lower-priced pizza box,'' he explained.

Referring to some famed wood-hearth-baked pizza manufacturer, Minidis stated:"There is nothing like Spago up in Lancaster, but nobody really is carving a niche in the area, hearth-baked sector. Red Brick contrasts on timeless, high quality European-style pizza"

Minidis stated he uses refreshing, never-frozen cheese and combines his own spices and pizza dough mixes. Food prices are just under 20% of earnings, '' he explained.

Minidis heard from his Little Caesars days the pizza market isn't driven exclusively by cost, but he explained:"People want significance to a specific stage, but they also want quality"

He said he picked the toaster because they threw off less heat compared to traditional ovens.

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Minidis along with his oven manufacturer made the oven to follow Los Angeles County health and fire codes because they had been the toughest in the nation, he explained. We needed to go back to square one to the layout," he clarified.

In accordance with Minidis, Red Brick has had its own share of imitators. The outcome of the legal maneuvers still is pending,'' he added.

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