Commentary: Paper or Plastic?

Recently I visited a local independent shop for lunch with a co-worker. I typically hit this place several times a year: it’s one of my favorite pizzerias in Louisville, Kentucky, where Pizza Today is based. Known for its oversized slices, this particular parlor serves straight-up, old school pizza, the kind you fold in half and eat as the grease races down your arm.

As you might imagine, this pizzeria offers a strictly no-frills environment. Paying no mind to presentation, the slices are served on a floppy paper plate. Plastic forks are available en masse near the soda fountain — help yourself if you need one.

While this is all well and dandy for a counter-service slice haunt, I find that it leaves something to be desired in a full-service establishment. You see, the pizzeria in question actually has servers that take the order, deliver the food, refill drinks, etc. To me, full-service implies a better customer experience. That experience isn’t exactly fulfilled when the server sits a paper plate in front of me.

I understand limiting the number of dishes that need to be cleaned daily. And part of the joy of many pizza styles is that you get to revert to childhood and eat with your hands. Try eating a calzone with your hands, though. Not pretty. Which brings me to my point. On the quick lunch with my co-worker I opted for the calzone over the slice. Have you ever tried cutting a calzone with a cheap plastic knife and eating it with a cheap plastic fork? By the time I was finished I had a bevy of broken “utensils” and one heck of a messy paper plate. While the food was delicious, the experience was not. Why not invest in your business and boost your image with better dinnerware and actual plates? For those of you still going the paper and plastic route, what justification do you have for doing so? What do your customers say about it? Do you see them struggling to cut into their food? Wouldn’t real utensils heighten the experience and give your pizzeria more credibility? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Hit me up on Twitter and voice your opinion (@PizzaToday) or e-mail me at the address below.

Best,

Jeremy White, editor in chief
jwhite@pizzatoday.com