Get The Bigger Pizza

Bigger pizza

You should always get the bigger pizza.

No, this isn’t some bigger-is-better American standard where size matters more than quality or consistency. It’s not because everyone loves pizza so you might as well get more of it (it’s the glutamate we find so irresistible).

And I’m definitely not using the number of slices rule that says the average adult will eat about three slices. That completely ignores the fact an extra large pizza has a slice which is much larger than a medium or small.

Instead, I’ll rely on math. Or maths for you Brits.

At most national pizza chains, a medium is typically 12” in diameter, a large is 14”, and an extra large is 16”. To compare the amount you’re getting with the options, we calculate the area of the pizza using the formula: Area = pi * radius squared. Using this formula, an extra large is 201.1 square inches, a large is 153.9, and a medium is 113.1 square inches.

To determine which one is the better value, we need to know the prices. As one example, a large Supreme Pizza recently was $23.29 while a medium was $21.39. The large pizza is 36% larger than the medium one but only 9% more expensive. The large is comparatively a bargain, making it an easy decision to get the bigger pizza.  

This trend seems to be nearly universal. NPR checked 74,476 prices from 3,678 pizza places across the U.S. and found you should almost always get the bigger pizza. And this doesn’t seem to have changed despite shrinkflation.

Not long ago, I mentioned this phenomenon to the GM of a Bay Area award-winning pizza chain. Grinning, he replied that Silicon Valley engineers had figured out this pizza arbitrage and, as a result, he priced based on square inches. For this pizza place, there is no price advantage to get the bigger size.

However, I do love their Big Sur special. So, I still get the bigger pizza.



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