2012 August: Pizza Sizing Math Lesson

Did you know that a 14-inch pizza actually has nearly twice as much area to cover than a 10-inch pizza? That’s right, believe it or not. In order to figure the area of your pizza (in square inches), turn back to your school days and recall that the area of a circle is ascertained by taking pie — or 3.14 — and multiplying that times the radius squared.

Okay, okay, too complicated. So, trust us. We’ve done the math for you. A 10-inch pizza is comprised of 78 square inches, while a 14-inch pizza has 154 square inches.

What that means is that a 14-inch pizza will contain nearly twice the amount of sauce, cheese and toppings of a 10-inch pizza. When setting your menu pricing, this is a critical point.

Now, let’s say you offer 14-inch “small” pizzas and 16-inch “large” pizzas. A 16-inch pie is 201 square inches — approximately 31 percent larger, in terms of area, than a 14-inch pie. Just like in the example above, what this means is that your 16-inch pizza, though only two more inches in diameter, will require 31 percent more sauce, cheese and toppings in order to look and taste like your 14-inch pizza.

Does that mean your 16-inch pie should carry a price point that’s 31 percent higher than your 14-inch pie? Perhaps. If a 14-inch cheese pizza is priced at $8.99, for example, then a 16-inch cheese pizza would be marked up to $11.75.
Unfortunately, customers in many markets aren’t willing to pay $11.75 for a cheese pizza when they can get one loaded with toppings from a major chain for under $10.

Ultimately, the best method for determining the final price of your 16-inch pizza would be to figure your food costs, then find an acceptable markup from there. You likely won’t make as much per pie as you do on your 14-inch pizzas, but your customers won’t feel overcharged and alienated, either.

Finally, if you are resigning yourself to making more profit on a small pizza than a large, there’s no need to fret. By pushing your 14-inch pies in your marketing and bundling small pizzas with breadsticks or wings and soda, you can increase sales of these pizzas.