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Pizza Toppings on Half of the Pizza - Half the Price...Right?

Philly Ray Jun 8, 2012 02:55 PM

The place that I usually order pizza from charges $2.00 for a topping on a regular size pizza. If we get the topping on half of the pizza, they only charge $1.00 (logical, correct?).

There are a few other places I order pizza from once in a while that want to charge the full price for the topping even if I only get it on half of the pizza. Is this a new trend that I am unaware of? Is this happening to anyone else? I know the easy solution is just to order the full topping on the whole pizza, but it bugs me nonetheless.

  1. EWSflash Jun 10, 2012 10:59 AM

    I can see why people would expect to pay for half a topping's price when it's only on half a pizza, but I will admit that if it was my pizza place, the added pain-in-the-neck factor would most definitely cause me to charge full price for every item. I'd also put whatever the half-pie's ingredients on a little more generously than usual, for the price.
    Some people are just being chintzy, and don't want to pay for two pizzas, so they order one with half pepperoni and sausage and half mushrooms and olives. I've seen it done, and BTW, those are the same people who would complain loud, long, and bitterly about how somebody got some pepperoni on the non-pepperoni half and try to demand free pizza out of the pizza place for their trauma and trouble.

    It's the same amount of work whether you're covering a whole pie or a quarter of one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: EWSflash
      acgold7 Jun 10, 2012 07:31 PM

      Funny story...

      Here in our little NW town just outside of Seattle live a couple of NYC expats who've opened up a mom n' pop pizza place that really does serve the best, most authentic NY style pizza I've had outside on NY/CT. Great stuff. Whenever we go there, I always try to order two mediums with different toppings on each and the little old gal who really runs the place won't let me -- she insists on making us a large with half one side and half the other, because "you get more and it'll cost less." She won't be talked out of it so I always order an extra couple of egg creams. And leave a huge tip, which she always tries to refuse as well.

    2. c
      cacruden Jun 10, 2012 10:47 AM

      My favourite pizza place would not accommodate stuff like this. It is Italian style, order a specific pizza - no alterations, and definitely no cutting of the pizza.... but tastes wonderful. Of course it has been years since I have been anywhere close to them :p

      Maybe you should just order two pizzas, it will only cost slightly more and you can store some for later consumption :o

      1. c
        cantkick Jun 10, 2012 04:52 AM

        At my regular place, toppings are $1.50 for a half, $2.50 for a whole. (A little less for both on the smaller pies, but basically the same idea.) Most other places I've patronized are the same, more than half, but never more than 3/4 of the whole pie costs.

        I've never tried ordering ingredients on a quarter pizza. I'm sure they'd do it, but I'd expect a charge equal to a half pie, and that's fine with me.

        This place charges extra for special, higher cost toppings. For those it charges exactly half for a half pie.

        FWIW, this is a highly rated pizzeria in a state well known for its high quality pizza.

        1. Delucacheesemonger Jun 9, 2012 11:58 PM

          If a pizza costs a customer say $15, how much of that charge is food, and how much is rent, utilities, labor, insurance, etc. ? If as in most restaurants the food accounts for 25-30% then the charge for a topping is a small % of the cost, thus while the topping for half seems that it should cost half the full price, the labor and other things would make it cost almost the same either way, full or half. That said, we could investigate the pizza makers in the same shop that put three anchovies on a pie, verses his fellow worker who puts 12 on a pie,

          1. ipsedixit Jun 9, 2012 08:54 PM

            In all honesty, you should probably be charged more.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit
              Sam Salmon Jun 9, 2012 10:55 PM

              Note-a PITA customer never sees themself as such.

              1. re: Sam Salmon
                chowser Jun 10, 2012 07:30 AM

                There are PITA orders and there are PITA customers which a good worker notices the difference. In high school, I worked at McD's and there was a great older couple who always ordered salt free fries. It was a PITA order because you had to wash down the whole station. But, they were the nicest couple and not PITA as all.

                1. re: chowser
                  silence9 Jun 11, 2012 11:04 AM

                  " and nor PITA at all ". Would the line of other customers awaitng the necessary 'wash down' of the station, share that assessment?

                  1. re: silence9
                    chowser Jun 11, 2012 11:39 AM

                    It's been a long time but fries at the time were mostly already bagged and sitting in the heat so customers didn't have to wait. Fries are not made to order there, unless they're salt-free. Honestly, though, even at 16, I had patience and understanding for people who have special health issues. It's too bad others might be upset about it but they'd be the PITA person, imo.

                    1. re: chowser
                      silence9 Jun 11, 2012 02:20 PM

                      Yet also deserving of a mature 16 year old's patience and understanding, I am sure.

                      1. re: silence9
                        chowser Jun 11, 2012 03:35 PM

                        Nah, even decades later, I get really annoyed when someone rolls his/her eyes and is angry when stuck behind a person w/ a walking cart. Sometimes people just need to take a deep breath.

                        1. re: chowser
                          silence9 Jun 11, 2012 03:49 PM

                          True enough.

                2. re: Sam Salmon
                  ricepad Jun 11, 2012 11:48 AM

                  True dat. Rather, they tend to think of themselves as 'special'. IOW, entitled.

              2. c
                calliope_nh Jun 9, 2012 07:36 PM

                I am with bagelman on this one. I made pizzas at a busy take out & delivery place which sold nothing but pizza. It defiantly takes longer to top half. I don't know that to be the reason for the price being the same. If I ordered ceaser salad, hold the anchovies, a certain sandwich without the onions or a burger without a roll or with half the fries I would not expect to get a discount.

                3 Replies
                1. re: calliope_nh
                  chowser Jun 10, 2012 03:49 AM

                  That's a good analogy about holding certain items from regular menu dishes.

                  1. re: calliope_nh
                    rockandroller1 Jun 11, 2012 12:13 PM


                    1. re: calliope_nh
                      pinehurst Jun 11, 2012 01:26 PM


                    2. c
                      CanadaGirl Jun 9, 2012 07:13 PM

                      My preferred local spot charges full price for a topping that is only on half the pizza. But they do give a discount if you ask for less cheese, as I usually do because they are VERY generous. If it was all about the cost, I don't think they'd give the discount.

                      1. Cheese Boy Jun 9, 2012 01:39 PM

                        Great responses so far, but greed is ultimately the issue here. If the pizza guy was fair, he should charge half the price for a half-topped pie because he's using only HALF the portion he would otherwise. I guess one way to get over on pizza guy is to ask him for only a dollars worth of toppings and see what he gives you. Depending on what results, you can decide THEN if this guy is worthy of your return business.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Cheese Boy
                          chowser Jun 9, 2012 02:43 PM

                          That assumes that the whole amount of pizza toppings is just the ingredient and it's obviously not the case. A small pizza doesn't cost half of the one that is twice the size. It's not greed; it's a smart business decision.

                          1. re: Cheese Boy
                            Jjjr Jun 9, 2012 07:32 PM

                            No, greed is not the issue. 'Half this, half that,' requests cause delays. No matter how small, it causes other customers to have to wait in line longer.

                            Do you think a 16 slice pizza with 1 different topping on each individual slice should be charged as a pizza with 1 topping?

                            Try thinking from a business owners perspective.

                            1. re: Jjjr
                              Cheese Boy Jun 9, 2012 08:30 PM

                              Jjjr, the OP states that it's just a half-topped pizza. The other half of his pizza was completely untouched and PLAIN. It's NOT a 'half this, half that' pizza as you stated. The OP should have paid a buck for his half-topped pie ... (it took a small fraction of time to top as opposed to say a whole pie with 2 toppings or more). From a BUSINESS perspective, delays cost money -- no doubt there. But, if I were a pizza owner, and you only wanted ONE topping on HALF your pizza, I'd GLADLY give it to you for a buck. Everything else in the game will cost you $2 or more. That's JMHO. I want to keep my customers HAPPY even if it means kissing away that dollar. (Not many people order half-topped pies). Let's be serious here.

                              1. re: Cheese Boy
                                wyogal Jun 10, 2012 04:04 AM

                                I think Jjjr has a point, he is serious.

                                1. re: Cheese Boy
                                  jgg13 Jun 10, 2012 06:17 AM

                                  The problem is where do you draw the line? How do you succinctly state a policy which indicates that line?

                                  1. re: jgg13
                                    Cheese Boy Jun 10, 2012 10:38 AM

                                    The OP states ...'but it bugs me nonetheless.' Clearly this was something that the OP wishes he HADN'T encountered. Everyone's finances and spending habits are different -- I understand that, and duly noted I respect his feelings here.

                                    As far as drawing the line, that's a difficult one to answer. A pizza owner is not going to fail because of pizza toppings. Afterall, there are VERY attractive profit margins on pizza. He will lose out though if he let's things get out of control.

                            2. t
                              TheButterflyWithin Jun 9, 2012 01:26 PM

                              I have always assumed that the pizza places I order from use the same amount of topping, but just spread it over half the pizza, at least that's the way it always looks to me. Either way, in my opinion a dollar or so isn't worth an argument if the pizza is good.

                              1. bagelman01 Jun 9, 2012 11:32 AM

                                The price of the add on is per topping, if you only want it on part of the pie it actually makes more work fopr the restaurant and shouldn't cost less. More work???? you ask, yes, because the pie maker has to make sure to pay attention to the division of the pie.

                                IO worked in a pizza place 40+ years ago when in college, believe the patrons would get really POd if a all mozzarella, 1/2 onion, had only 3 slices of just cheese and 5 with onion. The restaurant doesn't know how the patron plans to allocate the pie.

                                Thursday night, we ordered an extra large all mozzarella, 1/2 eggplant for our family. Wife and daughter each eat 2 slices of eggplant, daughter's boyfriend and I each eat 2 slices cheese. If the pie maker didn't pay attention to dividing the pie, one of us would have not gotten what was desired.

                                In this area (southern CT) I've been ordering pizza or apizza for more than 50 years and have always paid full price for a topping, no matter what % of the pie got the topping. And this has been at more than 40 establishments over the years.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: bagelman01
                                  chowser Jun 9, 2012 12:13 PM

                                  Customers who don't understand it's not an exact science should work in a place for a while to see what it's like. This is an area where close enough is. As long as a customer can pick off what they don't want, w/out a lot of difficulty, they need to learn to deal with it.

                                  At the same time, the pie maker has to specially make every pie since they're mostly different. If it takes extra care to get it right, that's part of the job. They need to pay attention to get the right toppings on all pizzas--how is half pepperoni different from a pizza that has olives, garlic, mushrooms and feta? Both require time and effort so half pepperoni doesn't cost the pizza place more.

                                  1. re: chowser
                                    Rick Jun 9, 2012 12:22 PM

                                    But chowser, the pizza maker has to "pay attention" to what he is doing! Apparently that extra time spent "paying attention" is very costly to the pizza shop.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      bagelman01 Jun 9, 2012 01:43 PM

                                      "how is half pepperoni different from a pizza that has olives, garlic, mushrooms and feta? Both require time and effort so half pepperoni doesn't cost the pizza place more."

                                      No half pepperoni doesn't cost the pizza place motre than olives, garlic, mushrooms and feta, and the pizza place doesn't charge for FOUR toppings either. We are speaking about there is no significant savings to the restaurant when the piemaker has to make sure to only cover a portion of the pie. It is actually faster to cover a whole pie than to 'color within the lines'

                                      Having been a pieman, I speak from actual experience, I could dress a whole pie, faster than a half.

                                      1. re: bagelman01
                                        chowser Jun 9, 2012 02:41 PM

                                        What's the time difference? How much long does it take to cover a whole pie vs half a pie? Is it significant in the pay of a pizza maker who probably makes close to minimum? I've seen them at Costco and they whip up those half and half pies pretty darn quickly. I would think it's a skill that's pretty quickly developed.

                                        1. re: chowser
                                          bagelman01 Jun 9, 2012 04:08 PM

                                          I could cover a whole pie in less time than a half (in my day as a pie man 40+ years ago). All I had to do was grab the toppings and haphazardly pout them about on the pie. Topping a half of a pie takes attention. It has to look even, the customer has to feel he/she is getting their money's worth, as well.
                                          The most time consuming are combo such as all cheese, 1/2 pepperoni, 1/4 mushroom and 1/4 onion.
                                          After a while, my boss put a sign up that we did not top less than 1/2 a pie and no halves on sizes smaller than large.
                                          The restaurant loses economies of scale when doing specials.

                                          1. re: bagelman01
                                            chowser Jun 9, 2012 06:43 PM

                                            So, 30 secs vs 15 secs? I make pizza often at home. I don't think putting one topping on takes more than that and I'm pretty careful. If accuracy were important, I'd throw a straight edge down the center of the pizza. The workers at Costco are incredibly fast and probably do more half and half pizzas than whole--I've never times them but I'd be surprised if it took more than 30 secs for them to do one of their huge pizzas, half and half, and it doesn't seem considerably faster with whole pizzas. I've never seen a place that does 1/4. As long as you have fast and efficient workers, the economies of scale are minimal.

                                            1. re: chowser
                                              bagelman01 Jun 9, 2012 07:11 PM

                                              Great apizza (I'm from New Haven) or great pizza is artisinal. I don't consider the doughy stuff Costco makes particularly good. In our area Costco makes Cheese, Pepperroni or a loaded pie, they don't make specials such as 1/2 of a topping.
                                              It doesn't take much skill to top the premade dough at Costco and stick it in a conveyor oven. The workers at the independent pizza places in this area open the dough ball hand stretch it, work it, put it in the peel, dress it and put it in the oven. This is not a production line process and should not be compared with Costco, or Pizza Hit or other chains that make pizza suitable for middle America, but certainly not for the heavilly Italo-American populated areas such as here in Connecticut or metro NY.

                                              1. re: bagelman01
                                                chowser Jun 10, 2012 03:45 AM

                                                But topping the pizza is the same. The fraction of the time it takes topping half a pizza or whole pizza to the time the entire it takes to make dough, stretch it, etc. is negligible, especially for a skilled artisan. Even a minimum wage Costco employee w/ no skill can do it quickly.

                                                I've said in many posts here that labor is a big cost, rather than the topping. I think it's fine to charge for a full topping. I just don't think it costs the business owners substantially more for the labor to do half.

                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  bagelman01 Jun 10, 2012 04:42 AM

                                                  BTW, there are no minimum wage Costco employees in most locations. Costco pays premium wages and gives great benefits. There are many people who would love to work there.

                                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                                    chowser Jun 10, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                    Yes, I realize that and shouldn't have added that because really the time difference is irrelevant in their salary, whether it's $7.50 and hour or $15, at the speed they work to put on those toppings.

                                  2. chowser Jun 8, 2012 03:44 PM

                                    I've only been charged full price. I've been told it's the same amount of topping on one half. Either way, I think the labor is a big part of the cost and that doesn't' change regardless.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: chowser
                                      Philly Ray Jun 8, 2012 03:57 PM

                                      I guess I will have to order a half topped and a fully topped pizza and count the pepperoni slices, lol. I have been so used to my main place charging half the price (and giving me half the topping, I suppose), that I never considered that I was getting twice as much elsewhere.

                                      1. re: Philly Ray
                                        Karl S Jun 8, 2012 04:03 PM

                                        So, at those other places, when you order (in person, preferably), specify you want one topping, but the amount for a whole pie put on just one half of it...

                                        1. re: Karl S
                                          Sam Salmon Jun 9, 2012 11:09 AM

                                          The customer is not always right and people who make PITA requests pay extra.

                                          1. re: Sam Salmon
                                            chowser Jun 9, 2012 12:08 PM

                                            How is it a pain to order half pepperoni? I can understand if you're talking about factories but it's not different for a person who's putting it on to put it only on half.

                                            1. re: chowser
                                              Rick Jun 9, 2012 12:19 PM

                                              A topping on half a pizza is a pain in the ass? Really?! Now a customer that wanted pepperoni but cut in half, sausage sliced instead of crumbled, mushrooms chopped not sliced, sure call them a pain in the ass. If your idea of a pain in the ass customer is one that wants a topping on half a pizza, then you are certainly going to fail as a business person.

                                              1. re: Rick
                                                chowser Jun 9, 2012 02:44 PM

                                                I think someone w/ that attitude thinks all customers are a PITA, some just more than others. It takes a grace to deal w/ people and some people shouldn't.

                                    2. Karl S Jun 8, 2012 03:11 PM

                                      IT depends: are they giving you a whole pie's worth on one half (some places do that)?

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