Pizza prices

Frustrated and feeling like throwing in the towel…
I’ve owned my take out delivery shop for 22 years. I’m located in MA and the current minimum wage is $12 and is scheduled to increase to $15.
When I opened the minimum was $5.25 and the price of a large pizza was $8.00, now my large is $11.99 and I need to go up again. Domino’s is $12.49.

My issue is customer complaints on social media… I’ll place a Facebook ad and former customers will bash me for high prices. I am barely making a profit and people make it seem like I’m price gouging…

3 people left bad comments yesterday and everyone looked to be over the age of 60.

I got frustrated because it’s an ad and I did not want to get into a public discussion on how expensive I am so I did not respond and I deleted the comments.

I’m sure it’s because they remember the $8 pizza price from 20 years ago. I do have a 15% off senior discount and I am considering private messaging them but honestly its probably a lost cause…
The amount of time I work on the business per day week isn’t worth my paycheck.

I’m in my 50’s and I’m really afraid the stress is going to kill me.
Time to get out???

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Hang in there! you may say easier said than done but trust me,
If you can tell the difference between your pizza and major chain’s in quality,look and taste then you have a legitimate shot at it. Come up with good toppings which can tell the difference, Automate things in kitchen where minimum labor help is needed. Customer will pay the price you want them to as long it’s fair but you have to set yourself apart.
That’s where i would start.
Good luck …cheers

Our pizza is good and some of the comments say that we are really good but overpriced.

I just took pictures myself of my entire menu and completely revamped my website and online ordering system. I’m trying to get the teens to want to order my pizza over the chains.

I’m currently changing some of my pizza toppings to better quality meats and rewriting my menu descriptions.

Also added a few new breadsticks.

It’s just getting more and more difficult…

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your large pizza is 11.99 is not over priced. what sort of demography are you in? income, education that sort of things. if you cater to that crowd then who cares about few complainers,
20% of crowd will not be pleased no matter what you do, 20% will like what you do no matter what, question is how you are going after 60% ( meat of the crowd). learn to ignore few and don’t take it personally as long you are completely honest about you fair pricing and quality.

what sort of oven you are using?

Xlt conveyor. Italian style pizza.

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Population in my delivery area is around 100k people. Medium income is $54,000. Area has had a huge influx of immigrants over the past 10 years.
The population that is complaining seems to be older, fixed income.

I think I really have to focus on marketing to the young people.

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What size (how many inches) is your large pizza?

All pizza came out of conveyor look the same, i can not tell the difference as a customer from PJ, Dommino, PH and name few more.


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Wood fired is awesome but not my business model.
Domino’s does use the same oven as us but a different cool time and temp.
A “gourmet” shop up the street from us also uses a conveyor

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I have no problem replying to comments about high prices. Most of the people complaining about prices are the same people that want me to pay cooks $15 an hour. I have what people consider high prices. I think we have good pizza. We sell it for what can to keep our store open. When people complain I remind them that a lot of people wanted a higher minimum wage. We pay cooks 12.50 and drivers base is up to 9.10. I sell a large cheese for 16.50. It will feed 3-4. If people don’t want to pay that then grab the stuff from the chains or go get a $14 hamburger and split it four ways. If we can’t sell pizza for a profit I won’t sell pizza. It’s a business. Our area has a lot of higher income tourists so I don’t have the same issues but a lot of locals complain that we are priced high. The people that like us pay for it though. For $30 you can feed four people and get a drink. I think that is a good deal. What does it cost in ingredients and time to cook a meal for four at home. Spend an hour making it and $10 on ingredients for a basic meal and tell me $30 delivered to your door with plates and napkins isn’t a good deal. When minimum wage goes up everything goes up.
End of the day I wish I could pay my cooks more if they deserved it and we could raise prices to support it. It won’t be my decision to run that experiment. The people that vote will force me to do it first by raising minimum wage for 16 year old kids with no marketable skills whatsoever. At that point I will raise prices to $30 a pie if I have to. I will not lose money or work for free though.

I usually have no problem responding but this was comments on a sponsored Facebook post.
I didn’t want to get into a discussion on an ad that is supposed to generate business.

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I feel your pain. I strongly suggest trying instagram if you want to target a younger crowd. FB seems to have turned into a cesspool of bitterness. I’d get rid of the account completely if I could figure out how to without losing instagram. The instagram posts we’ve been boosting seem to get pretty good response. I basically think of FB on the same level as yelp. I do like posting things about the value of our pies, mentioning using local ingredients, house thrown dough etc. I think part of the battle is educating people so they understand we aren’t just heating frozen patties and putting them on frozen buns.

I do suggest unplugging for a day or two if you are this stressed out. It builds and is not worth it. Best of luck.

We have also have a Instagram and its slowly taking off. We do advertise on both but I’m thinking about additional age filters on Facebook. Times are changing and I cannot stay open on prices from 15-20 years ago… I have a 15% off with discounted delivery for the seniors but they still want to complain…

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My dad, who’s in his 80s, complained that we don’t offer deals/discounts & I told him he wasn’t our target audience & he could keep buying cheap pizza @ the cheap places. Why work harder for the same profit? Raise your prices, make a quality product & treat your customers like you really appreciate them.

Hey Npizza did you know when you do a paid Facebook ad, you can hide any comment you want.

Yes, when you hide the comments the person and all their friends can still see it but the rest of Facebook can’t.

I usually hide but in this instance I got upset and deleted all 3. The comments were all posted on the same day and I believe they may have been friends.

I was at the pizza expo and my phone was acting up. The comments were hours old and I never received notifications.
I just wanted to stop more from coming in.

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I give seniors 15% off of the first pizza and discounted delivery. Many are on fixed budgets and I have no issues with helping them out.

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I was reading an article about the owner of a fairly big company. They have a very good reputation and they make it a point to manage and monitor their social media. They generate a lot of positive feedback. The owner said one of his employees ran in to his office and was very agitated about a negative social media posting. This employees wanted to formulate a response immediately. The owner said, “you know we receive hundreds of positive comments all the time but we receive one particular negative post and instead of focusing on the hundreds of positive posts you have chosen to focus and be worried about the one negative”.
I had someone say that if you receive no negative comments when you raise prices that you have not raised them enough. I have watched this operator raise prices higher than I thought they should be many times and he does get his quota of negative comments. He also shows me his numbers and a time frame. He does lose a few customers but he makes more on the ones that stay with him and then, after a time his customer counts are back and growing again. He maintains his quality and he maintains his margins.
There are a number of older citizens out of proportion to the general population. They are the slow adjusters to inflation. They are some of the people who illogically support minimum wage increases and then complain when prices go up. They are sometimes the people who cannot taste the difference between your quality pie and the (pick your name) product. My reaction concerning this is that if a customer cannot tell the difference between the quality of my pie and the low end operator down the street then he is wasting his money buying my product. I will concentrate on the people who know the difference in quality and are willing to pay the higher price. We cannot serve higher quality at lower quality operator prices. That is a losing game. And the lower quality operator cannot charge your prices. Customers who have little or no perception of quality are not going to change from the lower quality guy to you because they do not perceive the difference and therefore cannot justify the price.
And some people are simply irrational. The manager of one of my locations told me of two instances today. (1) a guy buys about $25 worth of product and when the cashier turned to do something he reached over and got a large soda cup. He went right to the self service soda and filled it up. The manager tried to politely explain that the cashier did not see that he had the cup and did not charge him for it…meaning he had to pay for it. This guy said that was outrageous and did my manager understand that he just bought $25 worth of product? He said he was in business himself would never think about charging for the soda.
(2) A woman grabbed a 24 oz soda cup. The cashier asked if she wanted a soda. The woman said no because she just wanted water. She went to the soda machine and filled it up with soda. The cashier politely tried to say that we have to charge for the soda. The woman she just wanted a sip of soda and started yelling at the cashier. Cannot let these people ruin your day or throw you off track. It is all very difficult because the nature of our business is to try to please.