If you’re in charge of ordering pizza for a large group, it can be confusing. How many pizzas should you order? How many slices are people going to eat? What toppings should you get on the pizza?
Don’t worry. I’m going to make you an expert at ordering pizza by the end of this article. We are going to go over some things like the type of pizza, the pizza size, and the number of people.
Consider this article your pizza calculator.
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Why Pizza Is a Great Way to Feed a Crowd
I have some good news for you. The fact that you’ve been given the task of ordering pizza for your event instead of something else is great. You could be ordering sandwich platters, Chinese food, or even trays of chicken piccata and pasta.
But no… you’re ordering pizza and you’re lucky. This is going to be easy.
Ordering pizza for a large group is easy compared to other types of food. At Mortadella Head our catering division cooks for a lot of events. People always need to be guided through the ordering process. How much pasta? How much meat? Should I get a salad?
These questions come up all of the time and it’s normal. There is no shame in asking questions if you need to.
But with pizza, the ordering process is different. You don’t have to worry if people will be happy with what you ordered. Everyone loves pizza.
The amount of pizza we eat in the United States is crazy. According to Slice, the average American eats 46 slices per year! Wow!
One of the reasons that pizza is such a popular food choice is because it’s fairly inexpensive to feed a big crowd. Compared to other catering options, there is a big value in having a pizza party.
If you think about it, the cost of serving pizza to your guests is a fraction of what the cost would be if you were getting something else. It’s probably somewhere around five dollars per person compared to 20 dollars per person.
If you really think about it, that comes out to a lot of savings if you’re feeding a large crowd.
You should also think about the amount of cleanup time you’ll save. When you serve pizza at an event, you can leave it in the box and let people help themselves. There are no serving trays to put out and wash. There’s no plates and silverware to worry about.
All you really need are napkins. If you want to get fancy, put out some paper plates.
And when the party’s over, just take the empty pizza boxes and toss them in the trash.
If you have leftover pizza, the guests can take it home right in the same pizza box it came in.
Feeding a crowd really doesn’t get much easier than a pizza party.
The best way to order pizza for your next party is to follow some general guidelines that we’ll go over now.
The Different Types of Pizza
There are so many different kinds of pizza out there, where do you start?
Let’s start with round pizza. I’m talking about thin crust pizza that you envision when people say N.Y. style pizza. The kind you get at the local pizzeria.
For a large event, I think it’s safe to say you should stay away from small or medium pizzas. There is an exception if someone at the party has an allergy or dietary restriction.
In that case, you may want to order a small pizza for that person and have it clearly marked and set aside. It will probably be a 12-inch pie. Just make sure you let the pizza place know to do it so there are no mix-ups.
There are some places out there that make an extra-large pizza. An extra-large round pizza is usually 20 inches. Because not a lot of places make an extra-large pizza, I won’t spend too much time talking about it. The number of slices can vary with this size pizza.
In my experience, the 16-inch pizza is the most popular size out there. It’s what most places use for their large pizza and it normally comes cut into 8 slices.
Now let’s talk about the square pizza. When most people think of square pizza, they think of Sicilian pizza. But not all square pizza is Sicilian pizza.
At Mortadella Head we make round pizza and square pizza. But our square pizza is not Sicilian style. It’s a Roman-style pizza.
What makes it Roman pizza is the process we use for making the dough. It’s fermented for 72 hours and we use a lot of water in our dough.
This process creates a light and airy dough that is very different when comparing it to Sicilian pizza. In fact, it’s so light that many people have told me they can eat more of my pizza because they don’t get full and bloated like they do with other pizza.
Square pizza is great for a party. A large tray will feed a lot of people. You can even get creative with the toppings. Have the pizza shop make one tray but do half cheese and half pepperoni. They won’t mind if you ask.
What Type of Event Are You Ordering For?
Who you are ordering the pizza for will be a big factor in how much you need. This is true for both round pizza and square pizza.
If you’re ordering for the high school football team you know that teenage boys can eat! When I was in high school I could eat a whole pizza, no problem.
You probably want to order toppings that this hungry group will love. Things like Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, and pepperoni.
If you are ordering pizza for younger kids, you won’t need as much pizza. For kids’ birthday parties we see people ordering mostly cheese pizza and we usually cut the pizza into smaller pieces. Young kids have smaller appetites and tend to be a little fussier when it comes to toppings.
Play it safe for children’s parties and stick to plain cheese.
If your event is going to be a mix of different ages, such as a family group, you can get a variety of pizzas. Get some cheese pizza for the kids and get creative for the adults. Red onion, black olives, and artichoke hearts are always a good idea. Find out what people’s favorite pizza toppings are.
Order some Margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. Everyone loves that.
At Mortadella Head we make some cool specialty pizzas.
Our Buffalo Chicken pizza is a huge seller. It has fried chicken, Buffalo sauce, feta cheese, and a drizzle of creamy Gorgonzola dressing. It’s awesome!
The Shredder is a pepperoni pizza with jalapeno and a drizzle of honey. The thing is insanely good!
We also make a great vegetarian pizza called La Rustica. It has potatoes, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and rosemary. It’s a really beautiful pizza with simple and fresh ingredients.
How Many People Are Coming to the Pizza Party?
Now you need to tally up the total number of guests at the pizza party.
I have been tracking our large pizza orders in our catering department and I have some data that will be helpful. From what I can see, the average person eats about 3 slices of pizza at an event.
As I said earlier, some people will eat more, like the teenage boys and some will eat less, like the little kids.
But the average that I see is 3 slices per person.
So decide how many people and then figure out how many slices come in each pie.
Your usual 16-inch pizza has 8 slices. Your typical tray of square pizza has 24 slices. Do the math.
It’s better to have some leftover pizza than not enough. You can always let people take home some slices. They’ll love that.
Ordering Pizza for Large Events
Ordering pizza for a large event is easy, but there are some things that could go wrong if you don’t plan accordingly. Follow the advice below so your event goes off without any last minute problems.
Put Your Order in Advance
If you have a large order of pizza, it’s a good idea to call ahead. You want to make sure your local pizza joint can get the order done for you.
Keep in mind that most places don’t have much space in the oven, so a last-minute order for 50 pizzas might be impossible on a Friday night when they have so many other orders to fulfill.
Go Over the Details of the Event with the Pizza Shop
Talk to the people at the pizza shop about your event.
For example, let them know how many people will be attending and who those people are. If it’s a kid’s party they may suggest cutting the pizza into 16 slices instead of 8.
If the pizza is being delivered to a company, give them specific delivery instructions and make sure they are prepared to make a large delivery. Tell them if there is a certain door of the building where they should report, if they will need to bring a delivery cart or if there is one there already.
Find out if they have enough insulated bags to transport the pizza to your event and keep it hot. You don’t want the pizza to arrive at the event cold so this is important. Many small pizza shops may not be equipped to handle a really big delivery.
Ask for Special Deals and Services for Repeat Orders
If you work for a school or company that orders pizza for its students or employees on a regular basis, ask for a deal. It’s common in the pizza industry for places to give discounts on recurring bulk orders.
Let them know how often you will need the pizza and if there are any other big events coming up they can help you with. Oftentimes, the catering company is willing to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to calculating the amount of food needed. They may also make helpful suggestions that you didn’t even think about.
It’s good for you and it’s good for the pizza shop because it’s consistent repeat business.