Saturday Pizzas

Saturday Pizzas Saturday Pizza

Established in 2007 by German food entrepreneur and Ballymaloe Cookery School trainer, Philip Dennhardt, sales of Saturday Pizzas jumped 150% in the first half of 2020.

He has now opened a new factory in Little Island with the support of Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO).

About Philip Dennhardt

The son of a master butcher, Philip was born in Germany and followed in his father’s footsteps before he became more interested in cooking than butchering. He makes his own cheese, smokes his own food and for several years ran a cupcake business before switching his focus to pizza. Philip went to Italy for a season to learn the art of pizza-making in Rome. Afterwards, interested in how modern gourmet pizzas have evolved, he went to California and worked in one of America’s most famous pizza restaurants – Pizzaiolo Oakland. Philip moved to Ireland in 2005 and set up Saturday Pizzas in 2007.

LEO Support

The company began with a pop-up pizzeria on Saturdays. Dennhardt, who learned pizza-making in Rome, was producing 300 pizzas a day with his team at the company’s original food production unit in Shanagarry.

Using a Business Expansion Grant the LEO office this year, Saturday Pizzas is now producing 750 pizzas a day from the 2,000 sq ft unit.

The Irish company makes Margherita and Pepperoni pizzas by hand. Its pizzas are baked in wood-fired ovens before being flash-frozen and are on shelves in several SuperValu, Spar, MACE and independent supermarkets.

“Our vision is to grow the ‘Saturday Pizzas’ brand into overseas markets," Mr Dennhardt said.

"Growing can be uncomfortable but leaving the comfort zone is the challenge we are happy to face. We are very excited for the business to continue prospering and the support of our Local Enterprise Office has been invaluable.

"It is very reassuring to know that others believe in your business too and that is giving us the confidence to invest and grow.”

Sat pizzaGrow With Aldi

In July 2020, Saturday Pizzas were announced as one of the six successful food producers to supply to Aldi nationally across 250 stores.

“With the help of the South Cork Local Enterprise Office, a plan was put together for a Business Expansion Grant. It got approved at the end of 2019, and then Aldi Ireland asked us to join their Grow with Aldi programme." The business erupted, with growth jumping 150% in the first half of 2020 as restaurants closed and consumers began panic buying and stockpiling.

“For every product or service in the world there is low quality and high quality, and we recognised there wasn’t a high-quality product for frozen pizzas. There was a clear gap in the market.

“Some did think no-one would pay €6.50 for a frozen pizza because the market was so dominated by these low-quality products, but Saturday Pizzas is a very established brand in the market now. It has been an interesting journey to have a section of the frozen food retail market almost to ourselves!” he added.

Further Plans for Growth

The Little Island facility will eventually boost production capacity by 120%. The Business Expansion Grant, among other things, enabled Philip to invest in the biggest gas wood-fired oven in Ireland.

The machine isn’t up to its full potential for capacity yet, but already Philip and his team are able to turn out 300 hand-made wood-fired pizzas in a single four-hour shift. The potential output is, therefore, huge.

Currently, Saturday Pizzas employ eight people; plans are afoot to grow employment to 20 by 2023. This is important, Philip says, “because the product is made by people; people pay a premium price for the product and this equals in employment for more people.

“I cannot tell it enough the importance of employment — we need people to work, especially with food. You can taste the difference if something is made by a person or a machine,” said Philip.

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