pizza buying guide

A Mathematical Guide to Optimize Pizza Buying

By Anupum Pant

The logical engineer in me has always paid a lot of attention to how well my money is being put to use, or if something I bought was well worth it. So, before buying anything, I usually love to add in a basic mathematical calculation that would ensure the best logical use of my money. I used to do the same when I was studying engineering and had come up with a handful of tricks, which enabled me to eat the best food, in best quantities at the lowest prices.

Optimized Pizza Buying

Till date, I had relied on calculations for individual joints to buy the pizza that gave me the best value for money (irrespective of what my stomach could fit). In other words, I had never used statistical methods, as I always went to only 2 or 3 pizza places and never felt a need to do it statistically.

So yesterday, while skimming through blogs on NPR, I came across a post by Quoctrun Bui, where he had calculated the best valued pizza size using statistical methods. 

The final findings of his study based on 74,476 prices from 3,678 pizza places were condensed into a graph which depicted data as follows (here is the link to the article for an interactive version of the graph).

pizza guide


The above graph plots 74,476 data points to find the pizza size that gives you the best value for money. The y-axis plots price-per-square-inch – the lesser price-per-square-inch you pay, the better deal you score.

This basically means that buying the largest pizza gets the most value out of your money. As the size increases the value for money increases or the price you pay per-square-inch of pizza decreases. – Statistically speaking.

Adding value

I felt a need to add value to the study by finding how well ‘buying a large pizza’ to get the best value works in India.  So, I selected a popular joint Dominos (where I go all the time) for the test. I dug out their menu (probably an old one) to see if buying the large pizza always works in India. Here is a record of price you pay per square inch at Dominos for various sizes and categories of pizzas. (Click the image to see a better version)

pizza buying guide dominos
I did not pay much attention. Please point if there is a mistake.

Conclusion (Dominos India)

  • No, always buying the large pizza clearly is not the best option at Dominos in India.
  • A small pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Simply veg, Veg I or Simply Non-veg.
  • A large pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Veg II, Non-Veg I or Non-Veg II
  • Never go for the small Non-veg II pizza. It is the worst choice you can make.
  • Never ever get a medium pizza from any category!

I’d love to see someone doing the same thing for other popular pizza joints. Do get back to me if you have done it. I’ll add it to the article as an update.


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8 thoughts on “A Mathematical Guide to Optimize Pizza Buying”

  1. 1. I think the Small one is 6″
    2, It would be useful to compare crust area vs cheese+topping area as well.
    3. The Pizza Mania range would give some interesting figures as well.
    4. There is almost always at 20-25% discount on online orders which is not applicable to Simply Veg/Simply Non-veg so that affects the calculation as well.
    5. Price per sq inch might not always be the perfect measure. Medium has options of Fresh Pan and Cheese burst as well which do not add to the area but make the Pizza more filling.

    I’d love to see a more comprehensive study 😀

    1. 😀 Someday I’ll definitely sit and take all those points into consideration – the volume, toppings, discounts etc.
      But that is the beauty of science. One by one people keep making little contributions to develop a comprehensive study.
      And the menu said that the small one was 7 inches. May be they’ve increased or decreased 1 inch. I don’t know which menu I used.
      Pizza mania is always a yes!

  2. A lot of good eating went along with the research. I think approximation of 1 ” of crust circumferentially , may be a good estimate of accounting for 2″ reduction of pizza diameter to get at the filling part of the pizza unless it’s a stuffed crust pizza. …So 7″ has approx 5″ filling diameter and 13″ pizza has 11″ filling etc.

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