This is a blog post purely to say sorry for not posting a blog for two months. Please don’t hate us!
Last night was the launch of our new pitch in Harwell village, South Oxfordshire and it was GREAT!
As we pulled up in the village hall car park, we had no idea whether we’d sell one or 100 pizzas, again this just made it all the more exciting/nerve-wrecking. But sometimes we just like to turn up and see what happens…and we also hate queues and were dreading a massive one if too much word had spread! The strategy (ahem) paid off quite nicely and the steady-paced flow gave us time to talk to each of our customers and introduce ourselves properly.
Is Harwell the friendliest village in Oxfordshire? We were taken aback by just how nice everyone was, with people offering to help advertise us in their shops and workplaces and spread the word among their friends!
It also turned out that local developers were using the hall that night to show their new housing plans to the villagers. Rumours soon spread that the developers had hired us to be there to try to bribe the villagers into agreement. We can assure you this was not the case, it was just a coincidence!
We had planned to make the Harwell pitch a fortnightly affair, similar to how we manage our other pitches, but after last night we’ve decided to GO WEEKLY! Yeah! So, you can find us EVERY THURSDAY from 5-9pm in Harwell Village Hall car park!
You can find out where our other local pitches are on our website!
Good news! We have another regular local pitch to add to our list, Harwell Village Hall!
Where’s Harwell? Harwell is a nice South Oxfordshire village not far from Didcot and Wantage.
We’ll be opening our pizza hatch outside the village hall (OX11 0EX) fortnightly on Thursdays between 5pm-9pm, starting from Thursday 28th August!
This will be our third pitch and hopefully will be as successful as our other two have been!
The recent heatwave that’s been sweeping the UK is great. Except when you’re working in our van.
We’ve met lots of street food traders who’ve complained about being hot in their vans (even ice cream van men!) but until you’ve stood in front of a wood burning oven, churning out hundreds of pizzas all day, you have no idea!
This weekend was probably the hottest we’ve EVER been!
We’re not quite sure how we survived, we think we may have actually died and today could be some type of afterlife limbo land?! The temperature outside hit 30 plus degrees; we heard multiple people saying “It’s too hot, let’s go home” and everyone was begging us for water. With our oven fired up to 400 degrees and only our front serving hatch open, we think the temperature inside the van was ‘the sun’.
Lots of people ask us for advice about setting up a similar business to ours. Go for it, if you like feeling like you’re standing on top of an erupting volcano.
Sorry we’ve been quiet, we’ve been a little busy :)
We must apologize as sometimes we go a little AWOL on social media and the web when things get just a little too busy with pizza prep and events. We love our little pizza business but try not to let it take over our lives 24/7!
So what have we been up to? All sorts. Lots of family fun day style events in beautiful parks, beer festivals, summer fetes and of course our regular fortnightly pitches. We’re also in talks to get another couple of regular pitches too, so watch this space for more info soon!
We have a couple of nice local events in Oxford this weekend; Sandford-on-Thames Village Fete on Saturday and the Oxford Bike Fest on Sunday!
Hopefully it won’t be too hot this weekend, We like the warm weather, but hotter than Honolulu? Not when we’re working in the pizza van thank you!
Last year the bulk of our summer was filled with private hire bookings; birthday garden parties, corporate launches, weddings and even a man celebrating his new conservatory (which in fairness was actually bigger than our house!)
This year we had to turn down a lot of private hire enquiries after filling up our weekends with one and two-day events and festivals.
Is there much of a difference between the two? Is it better to take a guaranteed amount of money for a specific amount of pizzas? Or is it more lucrative to take your chances at an event where you could potentially make double, triple, even quadruple the amount of profit?
We’ve found this year that some events and festivals we’ve been at haven’t been as successful as planned and in a couple of cases it would’ve been better to have done that wedding. Outdoor events (which are the only events we can do on account of the big fire in our van) are weather dependent and any event can be cancelled at the last minute leaving you with an empty weekend (this has happened to us twice in as many weeks). You also have to play the guessing game! Ah, the guessing game, it’d actually be quite fun to play…if our livelihood didn’t depend on it!
You have a go:
Q. If you put a pizza van in a field with 4,000 people, how many of those 4,000 people will buy a pizza over 3 days?
A: <Enter your guess here>
There is in fact a well-known industry equation to help you figure out how many portions you’ll be likely to sell at any given event, assuming you know the number of expected attendees. But this is not foolproof by any stretch of the imagination.
Sometimes you just want to be told there are 120 people who will want to eat a pizza at a certain venue on a specific date within a three-hour period. You know exactly how much stock to buy and how much to prep for. Brilliant! It’s only an afternoon or evening so you don’t need loads of infrastructure (tent, fridges, freezers, gazebo storage area etc.) as you would at a two or three-day festival.
Also with private hire, if the booking is cancelled close to the date you have the security of a deposit. But most importantly, you’re not paying them for the privilege, they are paying you! Hurrah, money in the bank. Hallelujah. Except there’s a lot of added pressure when you’re catering someone’s BIG DAY or birthday party (everything needs to be perfect and run smoothly) and they can be quite stressful as everyone usually wants to eat at the same time. The advantage of a public event over this is that you do get to sing to your own tune.
Luckily we love doing both types of events! We love making pizza that makes people want to come back for a second pizza. So next year we’re going to go for more of a balance between private hire and public events, using the experience we’ve gained over the past two years we know which weekends we’re likely to want to keep free and which we can fill with lovely white weddings, corporate shindigs and pizza parties!
BOOKINGS NOW OPEN!
So, this is probably a good time to let you all know that we are now taking private hire bookings for 2015! If you would like the best wood fired pizza this side of Italy at your event, get in touch!