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9-inch pies: cut into 6 slices, or 7?

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Potatopants Oct 8, 2013 10:18 AM

Hi! I'm new here. Thanks for your help in advance.

I've recently started a pie shop, and I'm going to be selling pie by the slice. I'm wondering what's more typical--to cut a 9-inch pie into 6 slices, or into 7?

I'm going to buy wedge-shaped containers for the slices, so I'm hoping to figure out what size slice is most common so I can buy the right size containers.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. f
    ferret Oct 8, 2013 10:37 AM

    Shouldn't you be figuring out your cost per-pie and the reasonableness of the selling price in light of that? If you cut it into 6 and that works out to a retail price of $5 (as an example) would you get more sales at $4 for 1/7 of a pie?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret
      p
      Potatopants Oct 8, 2013 10:42 AM

      Yes, that's definitely part of it. I'm just also curious as to whether or not there is a standard out there that I should know about, too. I don't want to be that one shop selling smaller slices.

    2. greygarious Oct 8, 2013 10:53 AM

      There used to be a chain of Betty Crocker Pie Shops. I remember that they had an implement, like a giant version of an apple slicer without the center core, that sliced an entire pie in one step. I don't know the number of slices or the diameter of their pans. But surely this tool is available at commercial baking supply stores.

       
      4 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
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        Potatopants Oct 8, 2013 10:58 AM

        Yes! I found those on Webstaurantstore.com. They have them for either 6, 7, or 8 slices per pie. So I can definitely gather that restaurants do it differently.

        Because of that, I guess I should just rely on my costs to decide and experiment to see what sells better.

        1. re: Potatopants
          greygarious Oct 8, 2013 11:45 AM

          I think you should make sure, whatever number of slices you choose, that you can get containers which have a fairly tight fit. Customers will perceive these to be a better value than if they see the same size slice in an oversized container, and if they think it's a good deal, they'll be easier to sell.

          1. re: greygarious
            p
            Potatopants Oct 8, 2013 11:47 AM

            Thank you, that's a *really* good point.

            1. re: greygarious
              EWSflash Oct 10, 2013 06:38 PM

              Yes, it's a VERY good point, especially from a marketing aspect.

        2. tcamp Oct 8, 2013 10:57 AM

          Not 8 slices? I'd think even numbers would be easier and 6 is just too big (IMO).

          Looking at these images, seems like 6 and 8 prevail.

          http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=p...

          2 Replies
          1. re: tcamp
            ttoommyy Oct 8, 2013 12:16 PM

            I agree. 8 slices and at least some money will be made (eventually). 6 slices would be like giving the pie away.

            1. re: ttoommyy
              fldhkybnva Oct 8, 2013 01:13 PM

              8 slices, it's even and a reasonable size vs. 6 slices.

          2. Motosport Oct 8, 2013 12:59 PM

            Six! I'm not that hungry!! I have to give credit to Yogi Berra for that one.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Motosport
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              HoosierFoodie Oct 9, 2013 10:55 AM

              Beat me to it Motosport!

              1. re: HoosierFoodie
                Motosport Oct 9, 2013 10:58 AM

                HAH!!

            2. i
              INDIANRIVERFL Oct 8, 2013 01:09 PM

              What is the competition doing?

              What does your business plan require for you and your employees to get paid. What are your carrying costs?
              Are you only over the counter, or will you be selling to other retail outlets?

              Get with your local Chamber of Commerce and get all the free advice you can from your local SCORE chapter. They are retired and want to help you succeed.

              1. p
                Potatopants Oct 8, 2013 01:14 PM

                The other pie shops in the area do in fact cut only six slices per pie. This is the Midwest, and we like our desserts, maybe too much. :)

                I had not heard of SCORE, so thank you for that tip! I need all the free advice I can get.

                1. j
                  jbsiegel Oct 8, 2013 05:45 PM

                  Definitely don't do 7. That sounds ridiculous hard!! Personally, I think 6 sounds rather large. I'd go 8 (or even 10). I know that some 10" cakes come pre-sliced into 14 slices, so you'd want less than that, and a pie slice is "shorter" than a cake slice, so I'm thinking 8 might be a good idea.

                  But... I agree that you should go with the financial and competitive analysis first.

                  1. s
                    sandylc Oct 8, 2013 08:22 PM

                    I have seen at least a dozen comments on the web about tiny pie portions - it makes pie-eaters very unhappy and unwilling to return to the stingy pie places.

                    While diet programs and health advisors might encourage things like cutting a pie into ten pieces, there are many reasons not to do so from a business viewpoint.

                    First, do your market research and see what others are charging and how big their servings are. Make sure that there is something about your pie that makes it better, or at least seem that way.

                    Next, know that smaller slices will not hold together as neatly as larger ones, with the possible exception of some custard-type pies.

                    Also, if pie is your only product (or even just your main product), customers will be very focused on perceived value. A small slice of pie will make them feel cheated, regardless of price. Pie is an indulgence, and if they buy it they want to indulge.

                    With first-time customers you have one chance to snag their repeat business.

                    I vote for six per pie.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: sandylc
                      p
                      Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 05:57 AM

                      Sandy, thanks for the insight. It does seem that other pie shops, who focus exclusively or almost exclusively on pie, do serve six slices, at about $5 each. I could probably get away with 7 but I think I'm going to go with 6. Especially in a 9-inch commercial aluminum pie pan, as opposed to the larger 9.5-inch pan that most of us use at home, that slightly smaller radius makes a big difference in the size of each slice. So I'm thinking that a 6-inch piece looks like a fair chunk of pie for the money.

                      1. re: sandylc
                        g
                        Gloriaa Oct 9, 2013 09:45 AM

                        Exactly, it is ALL about perceived value! Everyone wants to feel as though they are getting their money's worth. This is a huge problem with portion size and filler, restaurants are loading customers up with French fries and soda. I worked at a pie shop for 3 years and we cut fruit pies in 4 and cream pies in 5, people loved it but I always found it to be very excessive.

                        1. re: Gloriaa
                          s
                          sandylc Oct 9, 2013 10:25 AM

                          You know, I just chose from the numbers offered, but your story addresses the thoughts that were going through my head at the time. Basically, "why not even BIGGER?"

                          It doesn't hurt to be known for the outrageous size of the pieces. It hurts a lot to be known for tiny pieces.

                          1. re: sandylc
                            ttoommyy Oct 9, 2013 03:48 PM

                            But it hurts the most to go out of business because one is giving away the profits. The OP really needs to work out the cost of all the various number of slices and then see what she can sell to be most profitable. Bottom line: one goes into business to make money, first and foremost.

                            1. re: ttoommyy
                              s
                              sandylc Oct 9, 2013 04:09 PM

                              That is a given. Duh. Which is also why numerous people have suggested the OP contact SCORE.

                              1. re: sandylc
                                ttoommyy Oct 10, 2013 03:35 PM

                                Sorry. I was just giving the OP some advice, tagging on to your post and using the "hurts" theme. No need to be rude.

                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                  s
                                  sandylc Oct 10, 2013 03:44 PM

                                  Your reply was directed at me and implied that I didn't think she should consider the concept of turning a profit.

                                  What is a "hurts" theme?

                                  You are right, I was rude. Bad day at hospice.

                                  1. re: sandylc
                                    ttoommyy Oct 10, 2013 04:37 PM

                                    It was not directed to you. I tagged onto your post. It was directed to the OP. I was just adding that I think her idea of selling 6 slices without first doing the math is a bad business decision.

                                    You said "It doesn't hurt to be known for the outrageous size of the pieces. It hurts a lot to be known for tiny pieces." I continued with "But it hurts the most to go out of business because one is giving away the profits." That's the theme I was referring to.

                                    Sorry if my post was not clear. I never for a second intended to negate anything you said; just to add to it.

                      2. j
                        julesrules Oct 9, 2013 09:09 AM

                        At a pie shop I would be expecting a generous slice. A diner can maybe get away with a small slice but for your purposes I'd say 6 slices.

                        1. j
                          jbsiegel Oct 9, 2013 09:21 AM

                          Just for info, here's the menu from my absolute favorite pie place in NYC (Little Pie Company):

                          http://www.littlepiecompany.com/retai...

                          Looks like they have three sizes to the pies...

                          How much are you planning to charge per slice? (Although, I guess that probably depends on where you are regionally...)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jbsiegel
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                            Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 10:05 AM

                            Around Chicago, pie slices go for $5. I'm a bit outside the city, though, but in a pretty expensive area, so I'm toying with $5 but may need to go a little lower.

                            1. re: Potatopants
                              s
                              sandylc Oct 9, 2013 10:26 AM

                              Maybe you can find a way to enhance the perceived value rather than cut your price. Make it trendy, make it pretty, find signature garnishes, some sort of bait, so to speak.

                              1. re: Potatopants
                                j
                                jbsiegel Oct 9, 2013 11:29 AM

                                Are you going to sell whole pies too? I would think there would be a market for that as well.

                                I agree with the others who suggest setting yourself apart and upping the perceived value. Think outside the box - partner with other local businesses, have some fun toppings to put on the slices - beyond whipped cream, etc. I love the miniature pie idea too...single serve and you don't have to worry about cutting!

                                Gosh this is fun!! :-)

                                1. re: jbsiegel
                                  j
                                  julesrules Oct 9, 2013 11:58 AM

                                  I agree, for take home individual tarts are more appealing that pie slices. Also, since I make pie, I balk at high prices for single pies (or slices for that matter). I would probably not pay more than $15 for a pie or tart, but I would pay $4 each for 4 tarts for my family, even if a single pie at $20 is actually better value. It's also nicer presentation to take to a party or friend's house. It is not rational and I know making tarts is more work...

                                  1. re: julesrules
                                    greygarious Oct 9, 2013 12:20 PM

                                    I think that a rustic crostata/tartlet is no more work than a larger pie. Cut 6" pastry rounds, fill no more than a 4" diameter, fold over and pleat the dough edge. The increased evaporation of the filling intensifies its flavor, and the shape may be new and different for customers, depending on your location.

                            2. greygarious Oct 9, 2013 11:00 AM

                              You mentioned other pie shops being in your area. So you will have competition, making a viable business more of a challenge. I hope you get help and advice from the SBA.
                              Since you were unaware of SCORE, I have the impression that you have not done much in the way of boosting your chances of success. (I have no small business experience but know what the Service Corps Of Retired Executives is.)
                              It may be that the existing businesses have already saturated the market. A wise hairdresser would not open a shop in a strip mall or small town that already has two barbers, a nail salon, and three beauty shops.

                              You should try to set your products apart from the competitions' in some way. Maybe whole grain or gluten-free crust options, using local produce, creative filling combinations, miniature or hand pie options, savory pies....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: greygarious
                                p
                                Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 07:09 PM

                                Yeah, really, I'm just one month into this, so I'm learning as I go. I got an opportunity to bake in a commercial kitchen and jumped on it.

                                There are a few pie shops in the city, but nothing near me. And with the commercial kitchen, I don't have the expense of starting up my own kitchen/retail front. I'm also trying to do something a little different--fancier flavors, locally sourced, all handmade by my one-woman operation.

                                I feel good because I'm doing lots of the things people have suggested in this thread, and I'm so grateful for all the input! The recommendations for SCORE, especially.

                              2. Veggo Oct 9, 2013 04:31 PM

                                A 9 inch pie will yield either 6 - 4.7 inch wide, 60 degree slices, or 7- 4.0 inchwide, 51 degree slices. If it's good pie, I would prefer a 4.7 inch wide, 60 degree slice. Depends also how thick.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo
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                                  Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 05:27 PM

                                  It's a good pie. :) You'd want the bigger slice! I always do.

                                  1. re: Potatopants
                                    s
                                    sandylc Oct 9, 2013 06:52 PM

                                    What kind(s)? I'm intrigued!

                                    1. re: sandylc
                                      p
                                      Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 07:07 PM

                                      Everything has booze in it, for one thing! Traditional recipes (apple, pecan, pumpkin, pear), dressed up with booze to deepen the flavor profiles. I'm also doing mini pies (4-inches) and pie pops, along with 9-inch pies sold by the slice or whole.

                                      1. re: Potatopants
                                        greygarious Oct 9, 2013 07:52 PM

                                        I forgot about pie pops! I made them for a gathering last year, where they were almost as big a hit as they were a pain to make. They're only good for 2-3 bites so people will buy them as a novelty, or a way to try a new flavor, but not on a regular basis.

                                        Are you familiar with tassies? They can be made in mini-muffin tins, and are easier. I'll bet a container of 6-8 assorted tassies, as a sampler, would sell well, and bring in repeat business for the regular slices and mini or whole pies.
                                        Think a pie version of Dunkin Donut munchkins. They'd cost more, of course.

                                        1. re: greygarious
                                          p
                                          Potatopants Oct 9, 2013 08:12 PM

                                          I love the sampler idea! That's great. I'm doing tassies for holiday tray orders through the bakery associated with the commercial kitchen, because, yeah, pie pops are pretty labor intensive.

                                        2. re: Potatopants
                                          m
                                          Maggiethecat Oct 9, 2013 08:24 PM

                                          Please be aware that some people cannot or will not imbibe in any alcohol, even if it is baked into something like a pie filling. There are various religious, medical, and purely personal reasons for this. I'm not saying you shouldn't make boozy pies, but please make sure to advertise this well so people who can't/won't consume alcohol know to avoid your pies.

                                          1. re: Maggiethecat
                                            p
                                            Potatopants Oct 10, 2013 06:12 AM

                                            Of course.

                                  2. bagelman01 Oct 9, 2013 04:56 PM

                                    I am stuck in the past....
                                    I've been out of the bakery business since 1980, BUT 9" seems awfully small fro a commercial pie. The industry standard in the northeast was 10"

                                    Even today in our area the 9 5/8" aluminum disposable pan is most common for quality pies, therefore 7 slices would yield what I could consider a very skimpy portion.

                                    I you can't make a healthy profit at 6x $5/slice, than your costs are way out of line, either ingredients, packaging,labor or rent

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bagelman01
                                      s
                                      sandylc Oct 9, 2013 06:52 PM

                                      I wondered about that pan size, too.

                                    2. Cherylptw Oct 10, 2013 03:43 AM

                                      If you were doing a 9 inch tart, I'd say you might get away with seven slices because the dish would be wider but no, do yourself a favor and make it six slices for your fruit pies with double crusts.

                                      If you're offering tall meringue pies, you can consider 8 slices per pie because there is the impression that you get more as the meringue offers height.

                                      Other money makers are individual tarts, as others have mentioned, turnovers or "hand pies" as they are being called these days, beggar's purses, bite sized or two bite tarts (use mini muffin tins). These bite sized tarts, etc would be cute offered in baskets and make nice additions to dessert tables for the upcoming winter holidays.

                                      Pie on a stick would be creative; cut out two small crust rounds, fill one side with a bit of filling and crimp the second round over the first. Insert stick and bake. Once cooled, you can drizzle or dip these in icing and sprinkle with all sorts of garnishes. You can even make bouquets out of these.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Cherylptw
                                        p
                                        Potatopants Oct 10, 2013 06:13 AM

                                        Thanks, Cheryl, I'm actually experimenting with all these! We'll see which sells best, and then I'll stick to those.

                                      2. k
                                        kseiverd Oct 10, 2013 05:03 PM

                                        A bit OT, but on "slices"?? Called in a pizza at local place. Got there a few minutes before it came out of oven, with on wooman ahead of me. Pizza guy ook it out of oven, STEAMING hot... and asked if she wanted it cut in 6 or 8 pieces?? Sounded logical to me, depending on how many eating... avoid a fight! She said... NO LIE... cut it in 6 cuz I don;t think we'll eat 8 pieces!?!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: kseiverd
                                          j
                                          jbsiegel Oct 10, 2013 05:22 PM

                                          Hilarious!!!

                                          1. re: kseiverd
                                            p
                                            Potatopants Oct 10, 2013 05:42 PM

                                            HA! Awesome.

                                            1. re: kseiverd
                                              EWSflash Oct 10, 2013 07:16 PM

                                              Oh, you're bringin' it, that's an old joke (but a funny one)

                                              1. re: kseiverd
                                                Motosport Oct 11, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                Hey!! Yogi said that!! Give credit!!

                                              2. EWSflash Oct 10, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                Oh- from the title I was going to say "if it's really good, four!" but I see you're a professional in the business. I dont' have an opinion about that, but will read on.
                                                Good luck to you and your pie shop!

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