You’re Ordering Pizza Wrong

25 February 02019

One of the things about ordering pizza for a large group is that you don’t know who’s going to want what and how much. Amateur pizza order-ers will assume that one of every kind of pizza will be enough for everyone (up to some monetary or pizza quantity limit). This invariably leads to some of the more niche pizzas going uneaten (vegetable, meat lovers, etc.) while the more common pizzas are instantly devoured (cheese and pepperoni). The solution to this is simple: order more fucking cheese pizza, nobody wants vegetable or meat lovers.

I think this speaks to a few things:

  1. People want to be inclusive in their ordering and have options available for everyone. This is a noble pursuit, but the realities of limited resources means that this variety creates tradeoffs, and the end result is worse for everyone expect the weirdos who really like vegetable pizza.
  2. Most people just want the “regular kind” of pizza, and that far outweighs people’s desires for niche pizza. Someone may really like pineapple gluten-free pizza with extra mushrooms and bell peppers, but they’re probably the only one and they’d frankly just be fine with cheese.
  3. This gets flipped on its head when there is infinite variety and unconstrained resources. If the pineapple guy wanted his pizza and you had unlimited money when ordering, this wouldn’t be a problem. If you haven’t read it already, read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson for more on this and its application to ecommerce
  4. Cheese pizza-only events are also much more logistically easy to execute. You don’t need to worry about load balancing the pizza, and you can spread it around more easily where everyone can reach a slice without having to get out of their seat. “You can have any toppings you want, as long as its cheese.”

In the course of doing some light research for this post, I discovered just how bad the internet can be at delivering information. When you look up “pizza toppings preferences” you just get pie charts (or is it pizza charts) of individual toppings, rather than combinations of toppings. The fact that 30% of people’s favorite topping is pepperoni doesn’t actually help me, because it doesn’t tell me what combinations of things people like (ie. What pizzas I should order and how much).