While driving a distance of maybe half a mile here in the suburbs, I must have passed five or six pizza places- about half were national chains and the other half were small, independent mom 'n' pop pizza places.
I've noticed that these small mom 'n' pop places never seem to have any customers when I pass by. Maybe, its the time when I drive by or the crowded competition, but it seems to me that the underlying problem is that these mom 'n' pop places serve the same generic tasting pizzas as the national chains with the same doughy crust and the same pepperoni toppings. How come we don't see more mom 'n' pop pizza places do better, where they serve better pizzas than the national chains?
If I had a small business like that and was surrounded by all that competition, I'd want to differentiate myself from the competition. But, with the national chain's buying power, these small independent pizza joints can't compete on price. Nor, can these small independent pizza joints compete against the national chains marketing with their sponsorship of a little league team. If you're going to get the same commodity pizza, most people are going to go with the lower priced one or the one with the better marketing behind it.
So, making better tasting pizza would seem to be the best option for the independents to survive, yet too often, they make the same commodity pizzas as the national chains.
Why don't these independents use coal or wood fired ovens to make their pizzas? Is the paperwork to get it too difficult?
No matter what, a pizza place would have to have pepperoni pizza since that's the most popular topping. But, that doesn't mean they need to make the exact same pizzas as the national chains. Why not throw in a specialty pizza like an arugula pizza or something different on a rotating or seasonal basis? Something different that people can't get at national chains, a reason to go to them over the nationals?