Chef and owner of Slice Wood Fire Pizza John Keane treats his pizza base like an artist treats a blank canvas; it’s a surface he gets creative with. The good news is you can EAT John’s artistic endeavours. In a market filled with takeaway pizza options, Slice is a little local pizzeria that has found a way to stand out and be seen. Its unique selling point is that this is pizza served on a sourdough base, handmade and prepared days in advance. These low glycaemic dough rounds are topped off beautifully with some crafty taste combinations conjured up by pizzaiolo John. To see what we mean, try ‘John’s Pizza’, a signature offering on the menu which comes with: Goat’s Cheese, Sliced Pear, and House Candied Walnuts (roasted in their wood fired oven). What more can we say? Only, that we’ve a good gut feeling about this one…
So, tell us about your food business, John.
I started Slice as a mobile pizza business back in 2017. A life long obsession with pizza and a dream to one day open a pizzeria began with a food truck which I brought to food markets and festivals around the south east for two years. We moved into our building here at Ballinakill Shopping Centre on the Dunmore Road, Waterford, in 2017, which we turned in to a wood fire pizza parlour and we’ve been trading successfully here since.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
It allows me the opportunity to explore and create recipes and ideas without restrictions.
And what do you find is the most frustrating?
There are not enough hours in a day to juggle everything!
Running my own business allows me the opportunity to explore and create recipes and ideas without restrictions.”
Describe an average workday.
We make everything from scratch at Slice. Our dough process starts three days in advance of service as this gives us our signature base. On any given day, we’re taking in fresh stock orders, prepping sauces and fresh vegetables, prepping cured meats, making garlic breads, salads and fresh desserts. We organise the benches and set up our Milk Shake Bar- all our shakes are made fresh to order. Then we light our bespoke wood fired oven, which came all the way from Italy. We get the heat of that up to 500 degrees to begin baking our wood fire pizzas.
What keeps you going or inspires you?
We’ve built up a lot of regular customers and seeing them stop by our hatch definitely keeps me going. Slice would never still be going without their continued support. I take inspiration from chefs /cooks and food producers everywhere. I absolutely adore good food and cooking.
Initially, did you manage to get any support or funding for your business?
Yes! I received fantastic advice and support at the start, from the Local Enterprise Office, in terms of business planning assistance.
Can you see your business expanding further? In what way?
For the moment, I’m focused on all we currently offer, here at Slice. However, we have some new ideas that we want to bring to people in the future. A second Slice, is always an idea in my head so if anyone has a venue that would suit- they should feel free to contact me about it! 😊
Do you have any ‘time saving’ tips for business owners?
I’m a Dad to three children and the chef/owner at Slice, so honestly, I’m the last person you should ask for advice about saving time! I’m always looking for more time to be honest.
Has having an online presence helped or hindered your business?
It has helped hugely. We have a website and our own app which many customers now use.
How do you engage with your online customer?
We love using social media because you can have a bit of craic with that and I can bring my own personality into adverts, which is really what we are about. Since day one, we’ve been honest and heartfelt with our customers, and we’ve just tried to be ourselves in all we do.
What advice would you offer someone who is thinking of starting their own food business?
- Test the markets, talk to lots of people, and show them your product; Get them to taste it and tell them to be honest with you.
- Get your product out there before committing to any loans or buildings etc.
- Start small and scale up slowly from there.
- Be your own critic and listen to compliments and criticism, and let those be your guide.
Cheers John, we’ll call in soon to sample a sourdough Slice!
Slice opens from Thursdays to Sundays for takeaway and collection (check website for full hours).
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