Perfecting pizza delivery
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the restaurant food delivery market, with the pizza delivery market alone now worth £2.1bn, according to market data company Statista. Pizza makes up 50% of the total UK delivery market, which has grown by 4% to the year April 2020. This growth, and the opportunity the market presents for businesses, is why Arla Pro has produced its free guide, entitled ‘Be a Pro at Pizza Delivery’, which has already helped restaurants such as Wood Fire Dine in Rothwell, Leeds, make the successful move in pizza delivery.
While restaurants have been able to reopen after lockdown, many people are still more comfortable with eating restaurant quality food in the comfort of their own homes, which presents an opportunity for restaurants to grab a slice of the pizza delivery action.
“As we are returning to normal and lockdowns are being lifted, we are seeing people still don’t want to travel out to the restaurants, they still expect the pizzas to be delivered to them,” says Wood Fire Dine’s head chef and founder Mark Baber, who says his business will continue to do contact-free pizza delivery even now the restaurant has reopened for dine in.
Equipment and packaging
While the growth in food delivery offers a window of opportunity for restaurants, it will also likely lead to increased competition in the sector - and this is why it is so important that restaurants perfect their pizza delivery offer.
One of the key considerations is to ensure you match correctly the equipment you choose to the type of pizza you want to produce, and the impact this equipment will have on your choice of base and cheese. For example, brick pizza ovens generally cook at very high temperatures of around 500oC for a crispy finish, meaning you need a cheese with a slow melt, such as Arla Pro’s large diced mozzarella to allow the base to cook before it burns.
Deck pizza ovens are more user-friendly than traditional ovens and require a cheese with a slower melt than standard shreds, such as Arla Pro’s large shredded mozzarella. Choosing the correct packaging is also crucial as it will have a significant impact of the quality of the pizza on arrival at its destination. Packaging needs to keep the food as hot as possible but without leaving the food soggy, so pizza boxes are essential.
Cardboard pizza boxes are sturdy, easy to assemble and are designed to reduce heat flow to keep the product hotter for longer, which ensures the cheese retains stretch and opacity. Pizza cheese changes structure and colour when it cools so it’s vital the food remains hot for as long as possible, so you should also consider using high quality thermal delivery bags or boxes. With a high-density interior that helps keep food hot, delivery bags are designed to be breathable to prevent moisture from building up, causing soggy bases. The good news is that Arla Pro mozzarella is tested for stretch and colour, with its thicker cuts performing especially well as they cool on delivery.
Choosing the right cheese
Choosing the perfect mozzarella can make or break your pizza on delivery, so it’s vital to consider how cut, melt and coverage will affect the final product as it travels. Cheese changes in taste, appearance and performance as it cools over the time taken to deliver the product, which is why Arla Pro has tested its mozzarella for the ideal balance of melt, coverage, stretch, oiling, browning and colour.
Three things you’ll want your pizza cheese to do are maintain its stretch, retain its opacity and cook faster. As cheese cools it firms up and loses its stretch, so using a thicker cut size or a coated cheese helps maintain stretch over time and also prevents cheese from turning transparent. Reducing the time from order to plate is important, a cheese that melts quickly helps this process, but cannot be at the detriment of quality after cooling.
Arla Pro supplies three different formats of mozzarella to suit your choice of pizza style and oven - large diced mozzarella, large shredded mozzarella and grated mozzarella. The key benefits of using its large diced mozzarella are that once cooked it resembles softer mozzarella formats such as buffalo and burrata to maintain an authentic appearance and help businesses create a clear point of difference in the crowded delivery market. Its low moisture content also allows the pizza to be cooked more evenly while its thicker cut size maintains colour and quality as it travels.
If you’re looking to boost GP per serve and speed up service then Arla Pro’s large shredded mozzarella is the better option, with the thinner cut size allowing a quicker melt and faster, more efficient service while its retention of colour compared to standard shreds means there is no need to overload with cheese to achieve the desired result on delivery, boosting GP per serve. Its grated mozzarella, meanwhile, gives an even and consistent melt as well as optimum coverage and yield. The smaller cut size means a quicker melt but still retains flavour and a traditional mozzarella colour while the addition of potato starch as an anti-caking agent increases browning. As well as using it on its own, Arla Pro suggests mixing it with local or artisanal cheeses to create an individual blend.
Becoming a pizza delivery pro
With delivery predicted to become even more popular in the future, Arla Pro has created a free-to-download publication that offers expert advice to help restaurants tap into the UK’s £2.1bn pizza delivery market. The comprehensive 22-page ‘Be a pro at Pizza Delivery’ guide is suitable for restaurants that already serve pizza or those starting from scratch and covers all aspects of making the perfect pizzas for delivery, from tips on the building a pizza base and the different cheeses to use to recommendations on the optimum packaging and the delivery model. It also provides its seven top tips restaurants should consider before embarking on pizza delivery, including licensing, menu choices, kitchen set up, communicating with customers and choosing the right location. Download the free guide here