hat is the general consensus on Half & Half Pizzas?
Our policy (written on our menu) is that we don’t do half/half on smalls (10") or on ‘make your own’, i.e. we only do half/half on menu pizzas on large (13") Family (15") and Jumbo (18").
(We also surcharge $1.00 for half/half pizza makes and price on the costliest half, which is the norm over here).
Bear in mind that in Australia we mostly do listed menu pizzas and not 1, 2, 3 etc toppings as I’ve noticed on a lot of menus of US outlets (presume Canada is the same?).
In fact we removed the part on our menus that the previous owner had that read “Build your own” with all the available ingredients listed to discourage people from doing so and hoping they order a menu listed pizza.
All of this may sound arrogant on our behalf but we find that it is too time consuming to do build your owns and half/halfs opposed to our menu pizzas, especially on busy nights. You slow down too much checking what ingredients they want, especially when someone wants 4 or 5 regular toppings and 3 or 4 Gourmet toppings.
One outlet in the suburbs of Sydney has on his menu and website - No half/half, No build your own, No variations to menu pizzas, and guess what? People flock to his store. He is akin to Henry Ford with the T model Ford - you can have any colour as long as it is black - you can have pizza as long as it is only on our menu.
I don’t think that’d fly in the US. We expect to be able to order anything off the menu and have it suited to our tastes (no onions on this, light on the spices on that, etc). As long as you use a “marker” on your half/half pizzas so the first cut is obvious (a black olive on the crust on both sides showing where to make the first cut, then remove the black olives), you shouldn’t have a real issue. The customer is paying for it, you should make them what they want. Charging a person an extra buck for a half/half pizza is really helping your labor %. I don’t think it would fly over here.
To run a successful shop, it seems to me that you have to do everything the competition does AND do it better. One of those things that’s really easy to improve on over the chains is customer service. Charging extra and not letting customers make their own choices is not improving the customer service aspect at all.
I think I may just be recapping what snowman has said, but basically…to be successful and extra successful, is to be all that and more over your competitor. If you are just the same as the guy down the street then why would they come to you?? If it is not the norm to allow per item ordering then why not add it as an advantage and a niche over your competitor? Seems to make excellent $$ sense to me.
I agree, that would not fly in the US. We like to have what we want to have, and we expect that kind of service as well. I would bend over backwards for my customers, after all I cannot make it without them. We exist to serve our customers and I can’t see not giving them what they want if I can do it. You guys are lucky over there in an unlucky way I guess. To each their own.
Yeah I guess you are right that we are lucky in an unlucky way (I guess that’s why they call Australia “the lucky country” ). Not having our menus based on 1, 2, 3 toppings as most seem to do over there probably sets us up for doing mainly menu pizzas so the expectations of the customers are probably not as high as you guys/gals experience. They are in the most happy to choose from our vast menu selection, and are happy to pay a small premium to do half/half makes.
We do go out of our way to give customers what they want (to a certain degree) but the half/half can be a real pain especially on busy nights. We can make 3 menu pizzas to one make your own, so when your up against the wall not doing make your own or half/half makes life a lot easier and keeps the 95% of menu ordering customers happy as their pizzas are not delayed.
I totally agree with the philosophy of giving customers what they want, but there has to be a defining line. We certainly do not disrepect our customers wishes and do what we can within a reasonable request. I guess we are lucky to the degree that most outlets are based on strong menu lists and 95% of customers choose from that.
I guess different strokes for different folks. That’s the reason for the post to see how you guys handle it.
Oh and by the way the franchises charge up to $2.50 for half/half makes, using the dearest half to cost the total pizza.
Thanks for your comments. Gives a good insight to how the industry works in other areas.
wa dave I wonder what would happen if you took a more American view on your menu and customer service? I think you could steal away lots of your competitors customers and make a ton more on your new volume rather than the current way through surcharges on special requests. Just a thought, I am a firm believer in different strokes for different folks so I am sure you are doing what works for you. Good luck.
I noticed one person posted " you only tell a customer NO once". I had a guy tell me once that he and his wife did’t eat pizza because no one would make them the way she liked so they gave up on pizza. I assured him that we would treat them right if they would come on in and try us out. As it turns out, yeah, they like their pizza a little different than most, but heres the point I’m making: nowadays, we make their extra sauce, no cheese, 1/2 & 1/2 (no surcharge) pizza just the way they like it EVERY WEEK, along with a calzone, and their four friends that they turned on to our place come in with them and order two large pizzas WEEKLY. (True story, no bull)!
I know everyone else is telling you the same thing Dave, I just thought I would share the long term benefits I’ve seen from good customer service without the surcharge.
I may have misled you all a bit re what we do and don’t do.
We do “make your owns” and do change the menu orders to suit personal tastes, but we don’t do “make your own” half/halfs or half/half on smalls.
We have a number of customers who don’t want this or that or want something else added which we oblige with no heitstion (without surcharge). A customer can come in and order their pizza tailored to their own requirements without any surcharge. Like you we have customers who have come in and asked if we can make a pizza with this and that toppings, something they haven’t been able to get from the franchises, especially the huge aray of toppings we have. No problem we have made them and these people have passed the word on us, just like you experienced (except not ordering every week).
The main focus of the post was “make your own half/half” which we have (and others) decided not do. I guess this is our call we have to live with but in all reality the number of requests for them are very, very low to make any deciding factor to our overall trade anyway. On the make your own half/halfs most revert to ordering 2 pizzas equivalent to the total of the one they originally wanted to order with one being the one half and the other being the other half.
At times I wonder where it will all end with all the marketing gimmicks that come along like the franchises/chains bring out. Sorry but they can keep there perfecto crusts (what the hell is it anyway?), stuffed crusts (once you have tasted them you agree they are STUFFED :D) and the double deck double cheese double bacon pizza (how the hell can you cook a double deck base?). We will continue to make our great pizzas without any gimmicks which keep people coming back.
What I am learning about pizzas is that the customer is more demanding than other food outlets. Try getting deliveries from your local fish & chip shop, burger joint etc or ask for your burger to be half salad and the other half just meat and bacon
Keep the comments coming as I love hearing what you do there.
Hey, this is also the first post j-r0kk hasn’t replied to in the firts day of it hitting. I miss you valued input and sense of humour.
The only restriction I put on half & half is they have to have the same sauce on both sides. When the customer wants half of a menu item and half build your own the whole pizza is charged at the higher of the two prices.