What’s the Best Price for a Pepperoni Pizza?

What’s the Best Price for a Pepperoni Pizza?

What’s the Best Price for a Pepperoni Pizza?


There are many factors to consider when comparing prices across a range of options for any product.   When asking what is the best price for a pepperoni pizza, it has to include the questions of convenience, taste, size, and, ultimately, whether you will settle for something that isn’t what you originally had in mind.


How Convenient is the Pizza?

Do you want to cook or avoid cooking?  If you don’t want to cook, pre-cooked pizza is a popular option.  Accoridng to PizzaCarryout.com, over 3 billion pizzas are ordered each year in the USA, and over 1 billion of those are delivered, with the rest consumed in dine-in or carryout scenarios.  For the sake of comparing pizza prices without delving into the economics of the food delivery industry, we will assume we are comparing pizzas for pickup.


So you will want to identify all the pizzerias within a convenient drive from your location.  For example, if you live in Valrico, Florida, you won’t likely want to order a pizza to be delivered from Rogers, Arkansas—not if you are already hungry.  In fact, people eating in Valrico would probably not even order from Tampa, which is approximately 30 minutes away by car.  Anecdotal internet forums suggest typical pizza delivery drivers will go up to 7 miles to deliver pizza, but there isn’t much information on how far people are willing to drive for the best pizza option.  Also, the distance you will drive depends on the pizza density of your location; a small town might not have any pizzerias so people drive to another city, while a New Yorker near Little Italy may have five options within a 10-minute walking distance.  Distance—and the convenience of being the nearest pizza source—explains why there are so many pizzerias in the United States.  


Distance is not the only convenience factor.  If you’ve got a hungry toddler, you need something pre-cooked right now—no waiting allowed.  If you are ordering ahead for an event and have a way to keep food warm, you might be willing to expand the delivery distance for a unique or favorite pizzeria.   


While baking a frozen pizza at home might seem the most convenient and best-priced pizza method, it’s not always possible.  If your oven is broken, you can’t find a pizza pan, or you didn’t shop ahead, you might decide you can’t bake the pizza at home and need it delivered or picked up.   Any way you slice it, we narrow our choices based on convenience.  


Are All Pizzas the Same?

Let’s pretend you’ve decided you are okay with ordering a pickup pizza within 10 miles of your home.   The target is a large, 1-topping pepperoni pizza with thin crust.  That’s your favorite pizza, at least for this example.


When comparing prices, you need to make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” (or “thin-crust-pepperoni-large-pizzas to thin-crust-pepperoni-large-pizzas”).  For each potential restaurant option, pull up the price for a thin crust, pepperoni, large pizza.  Skip all the extras, like stuffed crust or extra pepperoni or anything that isn’t the same as the pizza you are comparing.  Go ahead, write down the prices.  You’ll end up with something like this, which happens to be the prices today in Riverview, Florida for 1 thin crust, large (14-inch), pepperoni pizza:


Reg. PriceTaxes & Other ChargesPrice + Tax & Other ChargesNotes
Chuck E. Cheese$16.78$1.43$18.21
Hungry Howie's$12.99$0.97$13.96
Justin's Pizza$11.49$2.36$13.85"Large" is 16-inch, so priced "Medium" for 14-inch.
Papa John's$14.58$1.10$15.68
Pizza Hut$14.04$1.06$15.10
Westshore Pizza$14.48$1.52$16.00(Thin crust not an option)

(There were several other pizzerias in the area, but we felt 8 was enough for explaining how to compare the prices.)  Again, we’re focusing on the price of the pizza, so do not include delivery charges and make sure to select “pickup” if asked online.  


Do You Have a Coupon, Discount Card, or Other Special Promo Code?

For almost each of these pizzerias, we have coupons, discount cards, or other promotional codes to save us money.  

If it’s Wednesday, we can use the 50% Off Westshore Wednesday coupon at the nearest location from the CouponFindr.com free coupon database, and if it’s not Wednesday, we can use either of the VIP Perks coupon app coupons for 50% off 1 pizza or BOGO Free 1 pizza at a different location.  

At Jet’s Pizza, we have a CouponFindr.com free, local coupon for a combo of a 1-topping large pizza, 12 pieces of Jet’s Bread, and a 2-liter Pepsi product for $19.99 (before taxes).  While it's not easy to use this coupon on a strict comparison of pizza prices only, it's good to keep it in mind in case we're close to a tie and need a deciding factor.

For Domino’s Pizza, we have a Slice the Price card from a fundraiser at Frost Elementary School which gives us a BOGO Free pizza of equal or same price.

For Papa John’s Pizza, our VIP Perks coupon app gives us 25% off online orders.

For Chuck E. Cheese Pizza, the VIP Perks coupon app gives us 15% off any 1 large, regular-price pizza.

Justin’s Pizza has a free coupon on CouponFindr.com for a large, cheese pizza for $9.99 weekdays, and medium starts at $7.99, so we’d save about $2 on the base pizza price (before taxes).

We didn’t have a coupon for Pizza Hut, so we looked on their site and under /Deals found the “Tastemaker” offer of $10 for a large, up to 3 toppings.   We built it online for pepperoni and clicked “extra pepperoni” and it still priced in the checkout cart at $10 before taxes, so it’s $4 better than regular price and worth scrolling through the deals.

We didn’t have a coupon for Hungry Howie’s, so we searched /Deals on the site and tried several.   Because this research was on a Wednesday, we found the “Wacky Wednesday” promotion, clicked through, built the pizza, and saved $6.  The new price was $6.99 (plus $0.52 taxes).


After discounts, and considering all BOGO FREE Pizzas as repricing the pizza at half price, our prices became:


Discount/ Coupon/ DealPizza-Only Price After Discount (Before Taxes, etc.)
Chuck E. Cheese15% Off$14.26
Domino'sBOGO Free$6.87 (per pizza)
Hungry Howie's"Wacky Wednesday" Deal =$6.99$6.99
Jet's Pizza$19.99 Meal (other items included)$15.88
Justin's Pizza$7.99 $7.99
Papa John's25% Off$10.94
Pizza Hut"Tastemaker" Deal =$10$10
Westshore Pizza50% Off$7.24


Originally, the best price for a large, thin-crust, pepperoni pizza was Justin's Pizza, and after all the discounts, coupons, deals, and special offers were applied, three other brands passed it with better prices, with Domino's least expensive, Hungry Howie's second less expensive, and Westshore Pizza ranked third in price per 14-inch pepperoni pizza.  Since some of the deals were day-of-the-week specific, your answer may change on a weekend.   And since coupons and deals change, take note of expiration dates and make sure to preview your favorite sites before ordering in case new coupons and deals have been added.


Is This a Favorite Brand Based on Taste, Flavor, and Other Eating Qualities?

Even if you aren’t a picky eater, most people have preferences.  For some, it’s a certain flavor, and for others it’s the amount of toppings, the smell, the “doneness” (not burnt and not raw), the texture (soggy, brick-hard, or bready).  For this reason, transplants from one city to another will often seek out a familiar brand name with a standardized recipe that does not vary from city to city.   National chains depend on this sameness to retain customers who are looking for security of getting what they expect—even if it isn’t the “best” pizza in town.  


Regional chains and local pizzerias are not necessarily any worse or better than their national counterparts—but they may have unusual offerings.  For example, many chains don’t have eggplant on their pizza menus, while a small, local pizzeria might have several eggplant-inclusive pies on the menu.   


Since taste is such a personal opinion, the best way to determine which pizzas you actually like the most is to conduct a taste test.  Round up several options, invite your usual pizza-eating companions, or at least some who like the same toppings as you, and conduct a blind taste-test to help you rate your favorite pizza pies.


Are the Pizzas the Same Size?  Really?

As we saw with the example of Justin’s Pizza, their “large” is actually 2 inches longer in diameter than most other brands.  Their “medium” is 16 inches, equivalent to most brands’ large diameter.  Diameter and surface space are one side of the equation.   Two pizzas with the same surface area can have different weights and mouthfeel if one has a puffy crust and the other is thin—the thicker crust will add more dough without adding toppings.   Again, some people prefer thicker crust or even stuffed crust, while others prefer thin.  Being able to find and buy the pizza you really prefer is a plus.   


There’s another difference due to crust thickness: price per ounce of the pizza.  If you ever look at “per ounce” prices in the grocery store, you might notice two different pizzas marked at identical prices but one weighs more than the second pizza.  The thick crust has caused the price per ounce to go down.  Again, this is not a negative or positive in general—only important to help the buyer make a decision.


What Else Needs to be Considered?

The world abounds with additional pizza considerations.  If you are allergic to certain ingredients, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, or have food sensitivities or concerns, you will do research on all of the brands to find the ones which fit your pizza needs before you compare prices.  

People are also biased against and for brands based on previous interactions, advertising, friends’ opinions, political views—really, the list of reasons is endless.  However, if you have a bias against a brand, simply don’t include it in your comparison.  And if you have a bias for a specific brand, try to identify the bias and figure out how much it will influence your purchase decision.  For example, if you could save $5 by ordering a different brand than your favorite, would you make the substitution?


Conclusions on Pizza Pricing

To summarize, we made certain we were comparing as similar products as possible, compared regular pizza prices across local brands, compared again using an assortment of coupons and discounts, and discussed non-money factors that can influence the decision.

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