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Brixx Wooden Fired Pizza + Craft Bar focuses on house-made elements to face out | 1-on-1 with Pizza Management


Brixx Wooden Fired Pizza + Craft Bar makes nearly all of its objects in-house. Sure, labor is intensive, however the high quality of meals is excellent and units the model other than others within the area.

| by Mandy Wolf Detwiler — Managing Editor, Networld Media Group

The 12 months was 1998, and Jeff Van Dyke and his companions Eric Horsley and Barbara Morgan already had a number of restaurant ideas in Charlotte, North Carolina. What might the deliver to market that wasn’t already over executed of their space? The had expertise in elevated eating ideas, however had by no means run a pizzeria earlier than.

Jeff Van Dyke, co-founder of Brixx Wooden FIred Pizza + Craft Bar. Supplied.

They needed to “take out all of the hassles and hold all of the enjoyable of the restaurant enterprise,” Van Dyke stated in a Zoom interview with Pizza Market. “We did not need to take reservations, we did not need lots of people in there making an attempt to impress their shoppers. We simply needed a enjoyable, positive-energy place. So Brixx has at all times been engaging throughout many teams. It is refined sufficient to the place you possibly can come have a enterprise lunch however at night time it is obtained sufficient vitality and noise the place you do not have to fret about your youngsters. … However it’s additionally a very good date night time place.”

In June, Brixx Wooden Fired Pizza + Craft Bar will have a good time its twenty fifth anniversary. “That first retailer continues to be going sturdy, nonetheless in existence,” stated Van Dyke. The primary location had 12 beers on faucet which Van Dyke stated in 1998 was a very good quantity.

The model opened a second location only a 12 months to a year-and-a-half later. That second location had 24 beers on faucet, and that is the quantity they’ve caught with since. They knew they had been able to open a second retailer after getting operations in line on the first retailer, together with consistency and value of products bought.

“We had additionally labored collectively in a earlier restaurant idea, so we had a bunch of individuals we might pull from and have good, sturdy managers in each shops,” Van Dyke stated. “In order that’s why we took the leap.”

Van Dyke stated the operators needed to streamline operations as a lot as attainable with the primary retailer having simply 2,000 sq. ft. The kitchens are constructed across the model’s flagship brick ovens and a six-burner oven range. The price of good bought had been decrease than his different extra polished, upscale institutions.

“As essential as any of that was, it price about half to construct a Brixx,” Van Dyke stated. The shops did not want the high-end finishes utilized in his different eating places and the footprint was smaller.

Scott Isaacs, senior vice chairman of operations, stated he joined the corporate as a result of “it has an awesome enterprise mannequin, which means that it is financially vibrant, and the meals high quality is excellent. That excites me from a visionary standpoint.”

Scott Isaacs, senior vice chairman of operations. Supplied.

At the moment firm has 10 company and 12 franchised items.

Within the kitchen

“We’re a made-from-scratch kitchen,” Isaacs stated. “It makes (kitchen operations) extra complicated however value it. We’re conscious of that and use that as a filter, particularly on a go-forward foundation. No matter we do, the filter is the visitor expertise and the meals high quality in the beginning, and it additionally helps with the monetary vibrance of the enterprise mannequin.”

Dough is made in-house, as is focaccia bread, crostini, croutons and salad dressings. All of the marinades and sauces are made out of scratch as nicely. “And it pays dividends,” Isaacs added. “I can let you know that our visitor expertise outcomes from a social media platform point out that our meals scores are a reduce above the remainder. … We need to be often known as an idea that is made out of contemporary elements and it drives the visitor expertise, so the standard of meals is in the beginning. Any time that we mess with the components, we now have to make use of the filter of high quality of meals and so we’re not keen to compromise our high quality of meals now or sooner or later.”

For instance, Van Dyke stated they use a cheese out of Wisconsin that’s costlier however the pizza is healthier. Actually, it is the highest vendor for the model. Isaacs estimates pizza accounts for 60-70% of gross sales.

Dough is made out of 00 Italian flour and it’s hand-stretched and tossed, so it comes out crisp with a pleasant, chewy edge, Van Dyke defined. They’ve opted to make use of high-temp Woodstone ovens because the opening of the second retailer.

The care and thought course of going into that dough is proprietary, however Isaacs stated it additionally “yields nice dividends from a style standpoint. Every thing from the toppings to the cheese that Jeff talked about that we supply to the method of the dough and the way we make that prematurely – the proofing course of – it’s totally methodical, and it undoubtedly pays off.”

Topping the charts is the 4×4 Pizza, and it options 4 meats — sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto and bacon – and 4 cheeses — mozzarella, parmesan, gouda and goat cheese – on an olive oil base. The Bronx Bomber is a favourite as nicely and contains spicy Italian sausage, prosciutto, mozzarella and gorgonzola on tomato sauce topped with contemporary oregano. A fundamental pepperoni pizza is not even on the menu however rounds out the highest three bestsellers.

Salads are additionally good sellers for the model, and the Brixx Salad with a spring combine with pistachios, crumbled goat cheese and croutons tossed with house-made balsamic French dressing is fashionable with clients.



Sustaining consistency throughout the model as Brixx has grown has been difficult, however there are strict auditing methods in place for his or her director of operations to stick to the usual of Brixx on a minimal of a quarterly foundation and inspections on a month-to-month foundation, Isaacs stated. A very good working relationship with franchisees can be essential on the subject of consistency, as is working with the company eating places.

Working with spherical deck ovens that take heart stage within the pizzeria has required correct coaching for Brixx pizziolos. It has a gasoline flame in addition to burning wooden, which makes it far more person pleasant, Dyke stated.

“We have got the wooden for taste, however we will management the temperature of the deck,” he stated, including that they often burn hickory or white oak.

Like so many different eating places, hiring and retention stay Brixx’s largest problem. The model is combating a good labor pool that’s loosening up because the pandemic wanes. They are not simply in search of individuals – they’re in search of expertise.

“It’s slowly getting higher, however we’re not there but,” Isaacs stated. After COVID-19, Van Dyke introduced Isaacs on board to tighten up the ship, so to talk. That features a new director of hiring who’s creating a lot of licensed trainers as nicely.

At present, it is Isaacs’ job to verify the infrastructure is constructed to allow them to aggressively develop the franchise facet of the enterprise. “My goal for that’s the finish of 2023,” Isaacs stated, “or the primary quarter of 2024. If we will do it faster, nice, however that is type of our aim.”

They’re aggressively wanting on the Southeast, particularly Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.

“I believe alongside the way in which we’ll see a variety of natural development,” Isaacs stated. ‘Proper now, it is all concerning the constructing the infrastructure with the suitable individuals on the proper place in the suitable time.”

Mandy Wolf Detwiler is the managing editor at Networld Media Group and the location editor for PizzaMarketplace.com and QSRweb.com. She has greater than 20 years’ expertise overlaying meals, individuals and locations.
An award-winning print journalist, Mandy brings greater than 20 years’ expertise to Networld Media Group. She has spent practically twenty years overlaying the pizza trade, from impartial pizzerias to multi-unit chains and each measurement enterprise in between. Mandy has been featured on the Meals Community and has gained quite a few awards for her protection of the restaurant trade. She has an insatiable urge for food for studying, and may let you know the place to search out the perfect slices within the nation after spending 15 years touring and consuming pizza for a dwelling. 




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