Is a pizza just a pizza???

I was reading an article about Chris Bianco, owner of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (named by many as having the best pizza in the country). According to the article, “he won’t allow people to take pizzas out of the restaurant. If you want to change something, he’ll tell you to leave rather than do it. He simply won’t compromise his vision of what a pizza is supposed to be.”
On the other hand, there is conversation in the Think Tank about how to deliver a huge order…in there you will find owners who think nothing of loading there product in cardboard boxes, letting them sit for long amounts of time, and then delivering them to their customers thinking they are delivering a product which is pretty close to perfect.
It occurs to me, that even though we all sell pizza, and we all fall somewhere between the above two extremes…we really are in different businesses based on the visions of the owners.



Great point. Personally, I’m guilty of attacking the large order market as well. Though I take deliberate steps to ensure the highest quality pizza possible for large orders I still know in the back of my mind that the first pizza out of the oven will be a minimum of 15 minutes older than the newest.

So, you’re right. It’s all about the owner’s philosophy on how he wants his pizzeria to run. Some, like Chris Bianco, will only offer dine in service and won’t let a pizza leave his restaurant… ever. Most however, feel they must offer delivery, dine in, and carryout to make ends meet and will do whatever it takes to acquire new business. They also stick these pizzas in cardboard boxes in order to deliver, thinking they are delivering a product which is pretty close to perfect. Here’s a quote from a particular website I ran across that backs exactly what I’m saying:

Whether you are feeding 8 or 100, F…'s will help make your lunch a huge success. We’ve got the food that everyone will enjoy! Just give us 24 hours notice and we’ll have your feast hot and ready to go, whenever you want it! AND OF COURSE, PIZZA!
Enjoy any of F…'s fabulous pizzas chosen from our pizza menu.

As you can plainly see, even this operator sacrifices quality in order to capture the “huge order” market. He must in order to feed 100 people. He even offers delivery at his 15th Street store so the pizzas must be placed in cardboard boxes there as well. I’m not saying it’s wrong because I do the same. I just wish we could close the gap of the different extremes you were talking about.


The pizza delivery market is huge. Someone has to serve the people that can’t drive, don’t have time to pick up, or are just completely lazy.

I have to agree that the pizza loses taste in transit, however there is a huge demand for it… and some people do not care about taste. (ie Dominos) They just want convenience.

If putting pizza in a cardboard box deteriates the quality, what would you offer as an alternative? Putting it on a tray in my opinion is much worse. The steam and grease make the bottom of the crust soggy, while the cardboard will absorb this to some extent. I don’t offer dine in, but the crew pies that get put on a tray are definatly not close to the quality that I want to give my customers.


I think you infer what I didn’t imply. My point is that both extremes are in business making money, though they do so very differently (I care not to pass judgment on either method as both do work). It is my very humble opinion that a lot of business owners haven’t done the most basic work of determining exactly what business they are in, who are their customers, and why these customers will buy from them. By the way, I resemble the remarks you found from the website.


has anyone tried these?

a bit pricier than boxes I believe, but might it improve quality?

By the way, I resemble the remarks you found from the website.

LOL, I figured you’d get a kick outta that one. I agree with you 100% in your approach. I also agree with you when you say most pizzeria owners have no idea why sales are the way they are. They just know they’re there.

Getting back to the point you made in your first post:

It’s a shame we’ve got to result to the cardboard box approach because (and I’m sure you’ll agree) my pizza simply tastes better when it’s 15 minutes out of the oven. Mr. Bianco has it right in his philosophy of keeping the pizzas in the store to ensure freshness with every order. However, like I many times have noted in the past, have adapted to the philosophy of quick service dine in, delivery, and carryout. I’ve done this not because I choose to, but because that’s what my market dictates in order to turn a profit.

Personally, I’d love to have a restaurant with 40 tables and only serve the freshest pizzas in a dine in only atmosphere. It’ll save a bundle on labor costs, mileage expense, and insurance to name a few. Unfortunately, I’m afraid if I did that I’d be out of this business and in debt up to my earballs because my market is delivery-oriented.

So, knowing the best approach in getting a quality product to customers (dine in), my question is this:

How can we ensure the best quality pie in an industry where over 50% of pizza orders are pick up or delivery oriented?


NOt to be a smart aleck, but I think part of the answer is to but the highest quality pizza into that box that we can. On a 100 scale, if we put a 50 pizza into that box, it will drop in quality in transit . . . and probably more quickly than the 75 level pizza. I operate under the assumpton that higher grade pizzas start higher and have less drop-off in the boxes if we handle them well and let them lose steam for a minute before losing the coffin/pizza box.

It could be a fun marketing tool to build the dine-in business. If your customers love your delivery pies, then a cmapaign based on, “If you love our delivery pies, just imagine how good they were fresh out of the oven!! Come try one in our spacious, comfortable dining room today. Here’s a coupon”. Something like this just came to mind reading the messages today. I’m gonna work this up next month to push our newly re-opened dining room.

I think the plastic bag would decrease quality by steaming the pizza. I could be wrong - but I’m thinking you might as well microwave it.

Here’s what we do:
We deliver the HIGHEST quality we can - perhaps the highest quality that can be delivered - other than delivering an oven to your house with a pizza cooking in it…

We ensure the pizza gets cut within seconds.
We ensure the boxed pizza gets into a hot bag within seconds.
We get the pizza out the door with a driver within minutes.
We mostly send out drivers with single deliveries. Occasional double runs as needed.
Any other ideas we come up with to get a pizza to a customer that’s as fresh and hot as possible are considered!

hi guys. someone suggested to me to paste on top of the box reheat instructions, like ‘reheat in oven toaster’ or something. that would also remind the customer that it’s better if it’s dine in where it’s fresh out of the oven. I haven’t done this yet though. maybe later.

Therein, part of the saturation of the market.

However, competing just in fresh pizza is not the game play anymore. Competing with the best burger, salad, sandwich along with the pizza is where the business is. So, if you’re going to ruin everything, sell it all!

I tried like there is no tomorrow to get my customers NOT to order the BBQ Chix Pizza or the like for delivery but they would not go there.

Life is a rat race. Moms work, Dads work, Kiddos schooling - they take what they can get but…from the BEST.

Hence, place the pizza in a box, give it to the delivery guys and go scream in the walkin when given the moment to.

Hello guest,I strongly agree w/ putting focus on other things than just pizza.I am in Phila.where the pizza industry is MANY.So what I did was not only use quality ing. for pizza of course.I make the BEST hoagies in the area or city as I can legally say winning best of Philly for our hoagies/subs.Yes people are coming to us for hoagies which by the way has great profits,but when they call for delivery or come in they usually get pizza as well.