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Pizza Matador: Delivering Half-Baked, Fresh Pizza to Your Doorstep in Twenty Minutes

By Marina I. Jokic

A successful business model is one which sets itself apart from its competitors. Pizza Matador in Alameda, California has achieved that on several fronts including its innovative and free delivery method, organic and local ingredients, and a frequently evolving menu of choices.

Previously to opening his own business, Co-Owner Chris Horvath (owned with Chis Ferreira and partner John Hayes) delivered pizzas for sixteen years, an experience which gave him the know-how and passion to open Pizza Matador with partner and former pizza delivery driver Chris Ferreira. Both Ferreira and Horvath were moonlighting at Pizza Rustica, a popular pizzeria in Oakland, while also developing their artistic careers. After years of delivering pizzas and seeing first-hand the deficiencies of the traditional business model, the two felt ready to join efforts and open their own business.

"Through many years of previous delivery experience, we learned that most pizzas arrived the customer's door cold and soggy," Horvath says. They saw a promising opportunity and a major insufficiency in the traditional system which begged for change.

Horvath and Ferreira wanted to create a business that allowed for the customer to have a proper dining experience at home, on par with a restaurant. In response, the team developed their partial-bake pizza delivery system, which allowed customers to finish the baking process in their ovens and have a little more flexibility in terms of when they would consume it.

Pizza Matador was created around the partial-bake pizza idea, but that is of course not their only distinguishing characteristic. Horvath and Ferreira felt that offering wholesome ingredients and crafting the dough in a more traditional, less mechanized way were critical in creating their final product. Tacking on free delivery service has been a big draw for customers as well.

At Pizza Matador, you will find extra virgin olive oil used in the pizzas instead of the cheaper vegetable oil alternative, a three-day period to ferment the dough which makes it easier to digest, and primarily organic and local ingredients. "All of these things put together mean that our pizzas are healthier for both the internal and the external ecosystem," Horvath says. He adds that it's important to offer the same food to their customers as they do to their families at home, which is the core philosophy at Pizza Matador.

The key innovative service at Pizza Matador is their ability to deliver on-demand pizzas in approximately twenty minutes, which has necessitated a more efficient operating model. "Often, we will arrive at a customer's door in less than five minutes, much to their surprise," Horvath says. In addition to accepting pre-orders before 2pm which carry a discounted price, Pizza Matador's quality and efficiency of service exceed those of many other competitors. Delivering fresh pizzas quickly is a winning strategy indeed.

"Our menu is a 'living' menu that is constantly changing," Horvath describes. Seasonal recipes are frequently refreshed and new recipes added. Integrating new pizza recipes in particular is essential in giving customers some interesting variety. "Having said that, we are probably most fond of our simple pepperoni pizza because this simple, yet classic, combination really captures the essence of what a good quality pizza should be," Horvath exclaims.

Currently Pizza Matador delivers to Oakland, Piedmont, Emeryville, and parts of Berkeley, with plans to expand to the entire Bay Area. For more info visit www.pizzamatador.com.

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