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Pioneering Dudley Square pizza place shutting down

The non-profit Haley House is announcing the impending shutdown of its Dudley Dough pizzeria in the Bolling Building in Dudley Square.

The restaurant, which opened two years ago with a pledge to pay workers decent wages, is nowhere near breaking even and Haley House directors decided they had to close it to keep it from becoming a drain on the organization's other programs.

Dudley Dough, which also sponsored a variety of community programs, such as a Monday-night math tutoring program, will close in December.

The Haley House Cafe will remain open.

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Comments

A shame BPS HQ doesn't supply enough business to keep this going but as with any restaurant closure, really the first question is how was the food? Fair wages won't offset a bad product...

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The food at Dudley Dough was good. The real problem was the incessant complaints of the clientele insisting that the portions were too small for the price charged. This lead to a situation where food costs skyrocketed. Folks have got to realize that ingredients cost money.

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Food costs typically account for about 1/4 to 1/3 of a restaurant's expenses. It's hard to imagine that increasing portion sizes could bankrupt a pizza parlor unless something else was seriously out of whack.

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like paying wages that were too high for the skill set required to do a job?

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Looking at the press release at the link above, the problem might be identified in the first paragraph: "Healthy pizza" (shudder).

I have no idea what their product was like, but I'm willing to guess that it was more expensive to prepare than regular pizza, and customers apparently weren't willing to pay a premium (not surprisingly) for a supposedly-healthier product.

So Steven (above) was probably correct that the cost of ingredients was a factor, but I would speculate that the problem was not unreasonable expectations on the part of the customers (who, presumably, know what to expect when they pay $XX on a pizza) but a flawed business plan that assumed that a "healthy" pizza place in that neighborhood could compete with plain old regular pizza places.

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A 25% increase in food costs is deadly. I have been in the business for 40 years.

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Where did that number come from? Did they have to increase their portion sizes by 25%?

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If y'all want Dudley to come back to life, you have to spend money at these new places and not just at Dunkin Donuts.

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It's a shame, but I'm glad they tried and I'm glad they're willing to make the call to protect their other programs.

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Seemed like a good idea on paper but making good pizza takes equipment and skills that are a bit harder to come by than say making a good sandwich.
So while the pizza might have been okay for the folks living or working in Dudley Sq, average pizza wasn't going to get anyone from outside the area to visit Dudley Square for a slice or a pie.
In hindsight, maybe a sandwich shop or cafe might have been an easier setup for a fair-wage restaurant.

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You can charge a lot more for food in the busier parts of town. Of course your rent will also be higher but that can be offset through volume. Maybe trying to charge Brookline/Back Bay amounts for food but in Dudley was an issue.

For example, isn't Clover a fair wage restaurant? They are in better locations...

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The major issue right now for Dudley square is safety. Because of the influx of addicts and sketchy individuals who hang out in the bus terminal next to the Bolling building patrons felt uncomfortable. The pizza was great and the staff very friendly.

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The staff spent its time socializing with their friends on both of my visits.

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It was the food. I went in there once, looked at the menu and the pizza and walked out. Didn't look appetizing and it was over priced for pizza. Guess the good people mistook the area for back bay. Walked to Arizona pizza shop and got normal pizza instead. So don't blame the "sketchy" people (ignorant comment.) These are the people the business NEEDED to buy their awful product. Good, they are closed.

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I pass through Dudley daily and I've eaten there several times. The pizza was very good.

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