The 9 Biggest Mistakes
Made When Ordering Pizza for a Group.
How To Avoid....
AND Make Your Event Fun and Memorable...with… Less Stress For You!
#1 Not enough food- hungry people are not happy people. I'll teach you to Cater like a Pro!
#2 Too much food- Why throw away perfectly good food and waste your hard-earned money? I’ll teach you the secret formula on how to calculate the RIGHT amount of pizza needed for your function.
#3 Wrong kind of pizzas- having a bunch of Meat Combination Pizzas will not impress a single vegetarian in your group! Order correctly and everybody will be happy!
#4 Overpaying - don’t base your decision solely on price! Sample the pizza and make sure it will make your group happy- at the same time- You are ordering a LOT of pizzas- YOU deserve the very best price available. I’ll teach you how to get the best value for your dollars.
#5 Unhappy kids- if they’re happy, then everybody is happy! Hey- I’m the proud father of 3 young kids- I’ll help you make your young guests super happy!
#6 A nonexistent guarantee. A serious player always backs up their work with a strong guarantee. Ours is the best. Deal only with a professional operator.
#7 Failing to confirm your pizza order- Have your pizza hot, ready and on time when YOU need it. People make mistakes- the devil is always in the details. Confirm, Confirm, Confirm.
#8 Forgetting Soft Drinks, Chicken Wings and other side items- most pizzerias can provide a complete meal, adding variety to your pizza party.
#9 Getting your pizza way early! Too many people freak out and get the pizza too soon resulting cold pizza and pizza crust that has the texture of the pizza box!
Now that you know the 9 biggest mistakes- take a moment to read on how to avoid these costly, embarrassing and event ruining mistakes, all while making your group happy and completely satisfied.
Hi, my name is Rolf Wilkin, I have 25 years experience in the pizza business, founding, owning and operating a multi-unit pizza company- Eureka Pizza®, www.eurekapizza.com
We have a terrific team. We have won 30 awards! We won the premier culinary event in Arkansas, The "Arkansas Culinary Classic", in an unprecedented 2 categories, Best Appetizer and Best Dessert- besides taking home an incredible $2,000 in prize money- we had the thrill of beating some of the top chefs in the state, many with extensive culinary educations.
I tell you this not to brag, but so that you know that this is not my 1st rodeo- I have been around the block a time or 2. I have fed thousands of groups over the years- from a reception for the President of the United States, The U.S. Secret Service, school parties, wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, championship sports teams, countless little league teams, Fortune 100 companies, Pharmaceutical Reps, office parties and hundreds and hundreds of churches among others.
I have written this handy guide to help you make your event super-successful- I’m confident that you’ll avoid the “9 Biggest Mistakes” and pick up a few tips to make things go well, with less stress for you and quite possibly you’ll save a few dollars as well!
If you live in a town with a local Eureka Pizza® I hope that you will give us a call- if not, I think you will get a lot of useful information that will help your event go smoother- no matter who ends up making your pizzas or where you live.
From my first week in the pizza business I discovered that pizza was a very popular food for feeding/ catering large groups- It is pretty obvious why:
1. Popularity- pizza is has been ranked as one of the most popular foods for decades- adults and kids LOVE pizza! That is the main reason why we sell literally thousands of pizzas each week to groups.
2. Perfect for groups! A variety of pizza usually satisfies the entire group. Pizza is a pretty balanced meal- often with all 4 “food groups” represented on every slice- so there little need for additional side items.
3. Transportable and portable- almost all pizzas these days are packaged in a sturdy, corrugated cardboard box. Most reputable pizzerias will transport pizzas in an insulated bag and often they will lend the insulated or “Hot” bags for your function. BEWARE the “heated delivery bag”. This is a marketing gimmick pioneered by a certain large delivery chain. Baking experts will tell you that the heated bag is TERRIBLE- usually making your pizza dry and stale. I’ve wasted thousands of dollars on this type of bag- before learning how bad they are for pizzas. I have found that the plain, old-fashioned insulated bag is far superior.
4. Affordability. Even grossly expensive pizza is competitive with other food choices like Barbeque, sandwiches, greasy fried chicken or other catering options.
At Eureka Pizza® we can usually feed your group starting at less than $2 per person. In my town, a few local caterers charge up to $15 per head for sandwiches and plain ‘ole potato chips, other catering options range from $9 to $25 per person PLUS service charges, mandatory “gratuities”, set-up AND take down charges, linens, utensil and serving dish “rentals”, etc….etc... CAN YOU SAY NICKLE AND DIMED?
5. It’s Easy! Pizza is a food that almost everybody has ordered before- no need to learn unfamiliar catering jargon and lingo or spend precious time tasting food samples, or developing menus- just order what you need- SIMPLE! For a fancy wedding, spending hours with a caterer may make complete sense- but NO serious business has the time for such a tedious distraction.
Many pizza places can serve you with short notice- Just try THAT at a catering company. (They’ll sometimes actually laugh at you- and I’m NOT kidding!)
Okay- so you are probably already sold on pizza- here are my tips on making your event super successful:
How many people are you feeding? That is usually an easy question to answer. Sometimes though, when group attendance is uncertain, pizza is often the single best choice since most caterers require advance notice when preparing meal. Usually it is pretty easy for a pizzeria to make a few more pizzas. A caterer often requires a weeks’ notice or more and they may not even let you order LESS food, after you have accepted the menu!
As with other food choices it is helpful to differentiate between adults and children- since adults will usually eat more pizza- of course you knew that.
How Much Pizza Do You Need?
When you determine your adult/child headcount, you need to decide how many slices per person. I have recommended an average of 2.5 slices per person for many years- it is a good guess and I get few complaints with this recommendation. Most of my customers tell me it works well. Obviously young children will eat fewer slices and teenagers will eat more- college-aged men usually have an unlimited appetite! Keep in mind additional food served will cut back on the pizza required, salad, chips, desserts etc. Ask your “pizzeria of choice” for their suggestion- a heavy, filling pizza will feed more people than standard pizza. If your group has been involved with physical activities, like sports or games prior to your meal, then you’ll have hungrier people- so take that into account. Deciding how many slices is not rocket science nor is it a decision that you should lose sleep over. Order as few as 2 slices person or as many as 4+!
Here’s how to calculate how many slices you need at 2.5 slices a person.
Let’s go back to your Middle School School math class:
(slices per person) X (# of people) = (slices needed)
Now convert from slices to whole pizzas. The industry standard for Large pizzas is 14” pizzas, and most pizzerias cut their 14” pizzas into 8 slices. My 2.5 slices per person suggestion is based on a 14” pizza cut into 8 slices. So take the number of slices and divide by 8,
(slices needed) / 8 = (total pizzas needed)
This simple formula converts total slices into pizzas needed- if it is a fractional number I always round up to the next whole pizza. (Or if you hate math just figure 3-4 people per large pizza)
Now for very little kids- here is a simple trick that will make your event go better and usually save you some money- for very young children say 2nd grade and below- request that your 14” pizza be sliced into12 slices instead of 8. There should not be an extra charge for this simple request- You can even request slicing your pizza into 16 slices- be warned that a 14” pizza sliced into 16 slices means that your slices will be quite small. Usually young kids- 1st or 2nd grade and below will be pretty happy with a couple of slices from a large pizza cut into 12 slices.
Now here comes the moment of truth- do you have enough pizzas??? The easy answer (If you followed my formula) Is YES- but feel free to adjust, after all, only you know your group like you do- add a few pizzas or subtract a few, at your discretion. BE WARNED- hungry groups are usually NOT HAPPY GROUPS, so I usually err on the side of too much food- and you can take home the extra pizza- I have found that guests usually LOVE taking home extra pizza, by the way!
Don't Forget Side Items and Soft Drinks! Most pizzerias carry a lot more than Pizzas! Chicken wings, Tuscan Cheese Bread, Bread Sticks, Soft Drinks, Cosmic Monkey Bread and more. Be a thoughtful host and add variety to your meal.
You are almost ready to place you order. For many pizza parties for kids- ordering half of the pizzas to be plain cheese and half pepperoni often works- for very young kids often just plain cheese pizzas work well. My kids simply adore our “4 cheese” cheese sticks- order a few orders of these at a nominal cost, a classy, kid-pleasing, extra “touch”!
Having just 1 type of pizza can be easier with small kids too. Kids also like ground beef pizzas since typically ground beef topping is mild- most kids’ aren’t fans of spicy pizzas. Adults often like more variety.
Always, always order some plain cheese pizzas- I usually find that plain cheese should be at least 25% of the order- cheese will take care of the cheese pizza lovers and the non-meat eaters as well. While we’re on the subject of non-meat eaters- make them happy- order non-meat pizzas- cheese pizzas, mushroom pizzas, ripe olives, and/or veggie combos- pizzas with vegetable toppings are certainly becoming more popular these days.
Ordering extra cheese is often a good idea since it is the world’s most popular additional pizza topping- people LOVE extra cheese! An extra layer of cheese also helps to keep pizza hotter and fresher longer- in the catering business this is referred to as “hold” time. Extra cheese is a good idea and usually at a pretty reasonable “up charge”. Don’t forget- it’s your party, Don’t forget about YOU- so order the pizza that you like best as well as pizzas that your guests will appreciate!!
Adults usually really appreciate specialty pizzas- Super Supremes and other stepped up pizzas are very popular and often cost just a little more. , Specialty pizzas are often your best choice for pizza. We have an incredible 5 Cheese Pesto "The Elise" which is a Cheese Pizza lovers dream come true. The Tuscan Chicken has white pesto sauce, grilled chicken, green & black olives, red onions, and sliced roma tomatoes. For carnivores, our Meatfest has 4 meats and is a great choice and many more.
Please check out our menu online at www.eurekapizza.com
Order your preferred crusts. Children seem to prefer hand tossed crust. Side items are another way to show your appreciation for your guests. Bread Sticks and Cheese Sticks are quite popular on individual orders and are certainly very popular for groups. Most pizzerias have a selection of soft drinks available. Eureka Pizza® offers ice-cold 2 liter bottles of popular soft drinks- making us 1 stop shopping- often the last thing you want to do on the day of your big event is to run around to different stores- so treat yourself to peace of mind and just order from your favorite pizza shop.
Get a good selection of pizzas- you know your group, so get exotic or play it safe depending on your group. Anchovies for example, usually get very little group support! (If you get a few fancier pizzas- getting plenty of cheese and/or pepperoni pizzas are a way to hedge your bet!)
Choosing a pizzeria- Obviously you have your favorite- and I recommend you giving your neighborhood pizzeria a shot at your large order business. At Eureka Pizza® we would love to get an opportunity to work with you, if you live where we are.
Be warned that for very large pizza orders (20 plus), most pizza places, including most of the delivery chains simply don’t have the oven capacity for large orders, especially at busy times. (And most pizzerias, understandably HATE turning down a large order- so often the customer never learns of their capacity limitations- until they discover their pizzas are COLD). Pizzas are cooked either in a deck oven(s), usually 6 at time or in a conveyor oven. Most large conveyor ovens can produce a pizza every minute- that sounds like a lot, until you consider that a 30 pizza order will take over 35 minutes!! This means that the first pizzas made are over 30 minutes old when the last pizza comes out of the oven- which means by the time pizzas are actually eaten they may be over 90 minutes old- that’s an eternity for a pizza. We learned this lesson many years ago and our stores are equipped with high capacity pizza ovens- ours can bake 125 pizzas every hour and every store has at least 2 high capacity ovens,—that’s 250 pizzas an HOUR- people- that is a lot of pizzas! Several of our stores have 3 of these gigantic, fire-breathing beasts!!! A pizzeria that has limited oven capacity is like you trying to cook a church breakfast with a household waffle maker- sure you can do it- but it might take a week or more!
Ask the tough questions- If you need 20 plus pizzas (we’ve made more than a thousand for a single customer!) insist that your group requires hot, fresh pizzas and you will be extremely disappointed if cold and stale pizzas are sold to you.
Price. As with anything- you should buy the product you need and price is just one factor of many to consider. At my restaurants, we often have the best price AND we serve high-quality pizzas- but buyer beware- there is a lot of TERRIBLE, cheap pizza out there- don’t let your group down for the sake of a few dollars. We have all been to functions and meetings that have been destroyed because of poorly thought out food choices. Bad food really saps the morale of a meeting or group.
The US Military is famous these days for the high quality food they serve our brave service members- they know the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach! The Internet is a good place to start- most serious pizzerias these days have their menu online- you can get a general idea what retail prices are in your area.
Be careful with the national chains- their web sites are often frustratingly vague and thin on specifics- especially regarding pricing since they’re having to represent thousands of stores spread around the world.
We have really stepped up our web site recently- we have tons of useful information and customer testimonials available online, you can place your order online as well- check out www.eurekapizza.com.
Call around and get quotes from several places. At Eureka Pizza® we strive to offer the absolute best value possible. In the town I live Domino’s Pizza® charges $12.99 for 1 large 1 topping pizza!! At Eureka Pizza® we sell large pizzas for as little as $4.99 each- these are pizzas we have sold by the MILLIONS since 1992.
Here is what I usually suggest for an order where the buyer is looking for the best value (that usually means 1 topping pizzas), lets say they’re you’re feeding 32 people.
32 people X 2.5 slices each = 80 slices / 8 slices per pizza = 10 large pizzas
3 Cheese Pizzas
3 Pepperoni Pizzas
3 Smoked Ham Pizzas
1 Ground Beef Pizza
If you want to go first class- check out this menu for 32 people:
3 Elise 5 Cheese Pesto Pizzas
3 Pepperoni Pizzas
2 Tuscan Chicken Pizzas
1 Chicken & Spinach
1 Barefoot Sally (Veggie)
Consider the Guarantee- I have built my company on our industry leading, hassle-free money back guarantee. We’re proud of our business and we proudly back up our pizzas. Some other businesses have a different philosophy- so be careful- getting bad pizzas will make you look terrible to your group- as with other purchases- a strong guarantee gives you peace of mind, and you know you’re dealing with a serious player.
Placing the order- Get input from the pizzeria manager or owner- odds are they have experience making large pizza orders and can give you tips specific to their style of pizza and pizzeria. Obviously the more notice the better. I suggest a 1 week notice if possible. Eureka Pizza® can often handle large orders with very little notice- others often can’t. We appreciate notice at Eureka Pizza®- but if you need pizzas right away- give us a call- we’ll do everything possible to get your order completed on time.
Keep in mind that you never know if someone else is ordering a large pizza order on the same day that you are- that can make things tricky for all involved. Popular times are during the day on Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Super bowl Sunday among many others.
Confirm your order and make sure you leave a phone number where you can be reached easily- typically your cell phone is best. Call back and confirm again! Computers crash, notes get lost- hey- people screw up everyday all over the world- and a pizzeria is no different- you can’t over confirm an order!
“Your Pizza was Excellent. I ordered 15 for a business lunch - arrived HOT!” Cynthia Cornell, Fayetteville, AR
Picking up or Receiving Your Order
This is the easy part. Most pizza places will mark your pizza boxes so you’ll know which pizzas are which. Request this to make sure it happens. We provide napkins and usually we have paper plates as well at no extra charge. Make sure you received what you have paid for.
Don't forget to Tip!
For a very large order delivered, if the delivery driver does a good job and is courteous $5-10 or so is an appropriate tip. Rude service should merit a $0 tip and a phone call to the pizzeria manager. Usually payment is expected at this time. My company will bill you (purchase order) if desired, that option is very popular with businesses, schools and Universities. We accept all major credit cards and most checks
That’s it- Why not treat YOUR group to PIZZA? It’s easy, fun, popular and affordable- Call Us TODAY!!
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