They were on the brink of a Pizza Revolution, but the coronavirus outbreak forced two brothers to find new ways of delivering their products.
Mike and Lee Patterson were enjoying success building their Pizza Revolution brand – then Covid-19 struck.
Having opened in 2019, the duo were quietly making a name for themselves with their restaurant in Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, when they were forced to shut the doors.
Home delivery and takeaway wasn’t something that the guys had factored into their business model, but they had to think fast to ensure their enterprise remained viable during the first lockdown.
They did that by creating “Dough It Yourself” which provides all the ingredients you need to make a pizza at home using your frying pan!
That proved to be popular and meant Pizza Revolution were able to continue trading during the lockdown.
And now in the midst of the second lockdown, Mike and Lee have brought “Dough It Yourself” back and have also added a second offering – a new “At Home” range which is ready-made pizzas, vacuum packed just to be heated at the customer’s leisure.
‘Dough It Yourself’
Lee, who formerly worked in the oil industry, said: “Back in May we did the ‘Dough It Yourself” which uses the frying pan trick. We have a traditional Neapolitan wood-fire oven, the floor of which gets incredibly hot. You will not replicate those heats in a home oven, so the best way is in a dry frying pan by stretching the dough out and place in the frying pan and top it, then you put the frying pan under the grill and that replicates the heat on the top of the dough.
“It yields really good results, much better than cooking on a conventional oven. This time with restrictions put in place we could do what everyone else has done by putting a table in front of the door or delivery, but the problem is Neapolitan style pizzas don’t travel well and we know that.
“We try to avoid delivery at all costs, we’re not keen on it because we really care about what we do. I’m not suggesting others don’t, but we really care. If someone gets something that’s not up to standard when we get back to normality we have potentially lost customers before they even set foot in the restaurant.
“It is all about the restaurant. We didn’t really do much takeaway pre-Covid – it was all about the restaurant and I can’t wait to get those days back.
“When you have the restaurant you can address any issues – not that we have had any – but you can address them there and then. However, when it’s takeaway you can’t and that doesn’t sit well with us.”
Needing to come up with an idea, a lot of experimentation appears to have resulted in something Mike, 42, and Lee, 37, are really happy with.
Lee added: “We then tried these part-baked pizzas. Basically what we do is make a marinara by cooking the base in the wood-fired oven with the tomato sauce on it.
“They come out, they get cooled down and, as per the orders they get topped. They then go into heat-sealed vacuum packs and are delivered chilled and all the customer has to do is re-heat at home.
“We took a couple of days and made every pizza on the menu. My brother and myself took them home, reheating them at different temperatures for different times to try and find what yielded the best results. We came to the conclusion with reheating it still had the wood-fired taste.
“The results we were getting from re-heating in the oven were better than if we left the pizzas sitting for 10 or 15 minutes to replicate the delivery time and we were swayed by this method with the part-baked reheat at home.
“We top them, you order online only, and we turn up between one and five. All the pizzas will be delivered by teatime and we are doing it six days a week.
“We do minimum contact delivery and you are provided with a little instruction card recommending how best to reheat it and when you’re hungry you go for it.
“We are really happy with how they come out. We have invested a bit in the packaging and the machine to seal them. For a couple of local brothers when we see them going out they look really professional and like they have come from a massive production line but it’s not it’s just us, but with that personal touch.”
Reflecting on almost 10 months since the pandemic began, Lee said it was one of the worst moments in the hospitality industry.
Lee said just as people worldwide know where they were when key world events occurred, in the hospitality industry everyone can remember the night the coronavirus lockdown was announced.
He continued: “No one saw this coming and as the goalposts have moved we have continued to adapt. I can remember when lockdown was announced. It was March 23rd and we were standing here ready for a busy service and suddenly all restaurants had to close.
“We shut the doors immediately and as the news developed you could remain as a takeaway.
“However, we had already made the call and had donated all our food to a local foodbank and we shut the doors for a few weeks until we assessed where we were going with it and that’s when we came up with the frying pan idea.”
Having a go
I gave the “Dough It Yourself” box which came with enough ingredients to make two pizzas.
Included in the box is the dough, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, a fresh basil flour and oil.
After you order your make at home pack, a set of instructions are emailed to you which are detailed and easy to follow.
As you can see from my video, it was simple for me to make my own pizza using a frying pan and grill.
While I won’t be winning any prizes for my presentation, it was great fun and the pizzas were absolutely delicious.
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