Opening a Pizzeria with $5,000

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Opening a Pizzeria with $5,000

Cost of Opening a Pizzeria

There is no magic number when your opening a pizzeria or any restaurant for that matter. It can cost anywhere from $0 to really the sky is the limit. I can tell you I opened my pizzeria with only $5,000 in the bank. There are many variables that may change how much it cost to open your pizzeria things like, your location, your local ordinances, did the location used to be a restaurant before, does the building already have a sign on it with your name, and your experience in the restaurant industry those are 4 of many different variables that will determine the cost of opening a pizzeria. If your building doesn't have a sign on it already with your name that can cost upwards of $1500 to $20,000 depending on the sign, even more sometimes.

Timetable for Opening a Pizzeria

It took me 5 years to open my first pizzeria, but I didn’t have a lot of money to spend. There are equipment companies out there that you can lease/buy your equipment from but there is going to be a high-interest rate. When I figured out how much my monthly payment was going to be for my equipment I new as a start up I wasn’t going to be able to afford it.

When you are just opening a pizzeria you have to keep in mind people aren’t going to be knocking down your door to get your food on day one. You need to build anticipation, have a soft opening for friends and family, and be sure to take your food around to various businesses around town before you open to get everyone familiar with your product.

You need to advertise you are opening a pizzeria in town. Even more importantly than advertising, you need to have a trained crew that is ready to handle the customers. Training a staff can be costly but it is going to pay off ten-fold when it comes to creating fans of your restaurant. You only have one chance to make a first impression and if your staff isn't trained properly to handle the rush of customers you will have if you have done everything correctly for your grand opening they won't be back.


Earlier I said I opened my pizzeria with 5,000 dollars in the bank. It’s true, I had been trying to open a pizzeria for 5 years and finally, I had found someone that was willing to sell me the equipment on land contract with zero interest. Unheard of right? That’s what I thought until I found this old pizzeria that had been run down by two previous owners. Years, before I took it over it, was a flourishing pizzeria. The last two owners before me just didn’t know what they were doing. They had no restaurant experience. When you open a business especially open a restaurant it is important that you have experience in the restaurant industry.

There were benefits to the business already of being a pizzeria before I took it over. Unless you have money to invest or you are taking out a startup restaurant business loan I suggest not opening a pizzeria unless it was already one before you took it over. 

Building Department

I didn’t have to go through the building.

If it wasn’t already a restaurant you would have to go through your local building department to get the occupancy of the building changed and this can be pretty expensive. A restaurant was going to move in around the corner from me. The only problem was it went from a pizzeria to a clothing store and now he wanted to put in a Cajun restaurant. He had to reinforce the floor and ADA required ramps and bathrooms. He spent a good $25,000 just getting the building up to code. That was without the equipment. With his equipment payment every month he didn’t make it 6 months.

Fire Department

I didn’t have to have the fire department come in.

Because my pizzeria was already a restaurant I didn’t have to add any fire separation systems that the newer restaurants have to have. That can range depending on the size of the system you are required to have. The Cajun restaurant that moved in around the corner spent $10,000 on their system.


My pizzeria came with the name already on the building. Instead of spending money on new signage for the building I left the name that was already on it. This can be very dangerous when opening up a restaurant because of all the negative experiences people cold of had with the previous owners. I didn’t know that at the time I was opening it. This saves me right around $1,500. Signage will range by the size and type of signage you are putting up. As you may know already some towns and cities have limits on the signage size and what kind of signs you can have. My second restaurant's canopy had to be changed and that cost me $3,000 dollars.

I put all my money into advertising rather than changing the name and updating my building. I made small improvements to the lobby as I grew. My pizzeria has never been much of a sit-down restaurant. In order to make it a sit-down restaurant, I would have to update the lobby with new booths and servers.

Smaller Food Orders

I didn’t get big food orders from Sysco, or Sofo at first. Instead, I would drive to the nearest Gordons and pick up my weeks supplies. It wasn’t until several months into it did I start getting orders delivered from Sysco. I still go to Gordons and Sams Club for a few things every week. I went from using Sysco and Sofo Foods as my food suppliers to just using Sofo Foods. It makes sense since I am a pizza place and that is what they specialize in.

What will help you the must is finding a building that used to be a restaurant. You need to find out why the old restaurant went out of business before you sign any lease. Make sure it wasn’t location and make sure the restaurant didn’t have a negative reputation. It took a lot of hard work and a little luck to get my first restaurant open. I am here for you so any questions you have please don’t be afraid to drop me an email. I look forward to talking with you. I have a ton of knowledge and I am willing to share anything you might want to know.

* I want to let you know that results may vary.

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