We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve got a crowd to feed. Maybe you’re hosting the entire extended family for a day. Maybe friends are visiting from out of town, and you have to come up with a way to feed them all. Or maybe you’re throwing a graduation party, baby shower or some other celebratory event that is going to require a lot of food.
In situations like this, you have a couple of options. If you’re brave, you can attempt to cook for them all. If they’re all willing to pay for themselves, you can pile into a few cars and head to the nearest restaurant you can all agree on. But if neither of those options seems to be viable, what should you do?
The answer is simple — order pizza for the whole crowd. Few foods are as universally appealing as pizza or as easily customizable to fit wide ranges of tastes and preferences. No matter how many people you have to feed, pizza can usually be customized to suit everyone. Best of all, most pizza places will deliver straight to your door, meaning you don’t have to miss a moment of your party or get-together.
However, ordering pizza for a large group can be a challenge if you’ve only ever ordered for yourself before. How much pizza do you need for a group? What type of toppings should you choose to please everyone? And how do you save money on pizza for a group?
There’s nothing worse than running out of pizza mid-party, so it’s important to order enough so that none of your guests leave your gathering hungry. At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard because, even though cold pizza makes for a fun breakfast the next day, you don’t want to be on a strict pizza diet all week just to get rid of the leftovers.
To prevent drastically under or overestimating how much pizza to order for a party, it’s typically best to follow the 3/8 rule: Simply multiply the number of guests by 3/8.
But, just like any other rule, there are exceptions. We’re here to help you answer these questions and others with our list of tips for ordering pizza for a group of people.
How to Calculate How Much Pizza to Buy for a Group
This can seem like an extremely intimidating question. After all, aren’t there all kinds of variables? You have to consider:
- How many people there are in your group
- How many of those people are kids
- How many of them will only eat one piece
- How many can be counted upon to eat slice after slice after slice
All of these are factors when you order pizza for a group. The good news is there’s actually some pretty simple math that can help you figure out the answer to this question with a fair amount of accuracy.
Simple Math to Calculate How Much Pizza to Purchase
As we mentioned before, the easiest way to calculate how much pizza you’ll need for your group is to follow the 3/8 rule. Here’s the reasoning behind that rule: Most medium pizzas are cut into eight slices unless otherwise requested. Therefore, each slice comprises 1/8 of the pizza. Since the average hungry person eats three slices of pizza, it follows that you must simply multiply the number of guests by 3/8. The resulting number will be the number of pizzas you need to order.
If the answer does not work out to be a whole number, remember to round up. And if you ever find yourself in doubt, the best thing to do is to round up. It’s always better to have too much instead of too little. After all, it will still taste just as good the next day.
Of course, the equation can be changed slightly as necessary. If your party consists entirely of children, they will likely not eat three slices of pizza apiece. The average child will eat two slices. And if your party consists entirely of teenage boys or others with large appetites, expect them to eat four slices each on average. Adjust the equation as needed to fit your party.
But, let’s be honest, it’s hard to focus on math when you’re hungry. Luckily, our pizza experts came up with a simple pizza calculator to use when ordering pizza for a party.
- 10 People = 4 Pizzas
- 15 People = 6 Pizzas
- 20 People = 8 Pizzas
- 30 People = 12 Pizzas
- 50 People = 19 Pizzas
Use these guidelines to simplify placing orders for a large group and make pizza party planning a breeze. And if math has never been your strong suit and you just want to make sure the math is correct, enter your numbers into this widget to help you out.
Note that this equation is intended to work with medium pizzas cut into eight slices. If you’re ordering small pizzas, these typically consist of six slices, while large pizzas consist of 10 and extra large consist of 12.
Don’t forget to account for slice style, such as thin crust, deep-dish, stuffed, etc. Depending on density, some types of pizza might be more or less filling and require some adjustments to your calculations.
What Are the Best Toppings to Order for a Group?
If there’s one thing it seems like no ever agrees on, it’s pizza toppings. There seems to be no escaping the raging debate about pineapple on pizza, and even toppings as simple as mushrooms or olives can be a point of contention. So how can you make sure to order some variety of pizza that will please everyone?
The first thing to do is learn whether or not any of your guests have dietary restrictions. For example, is anyone allergic to certain foods? Is anyone on a special diet, such as vegetarian or gluten-free? If this is the case, order a special pizza or half a pizza for this individual and make sure it is set aside for them. This way, it won’t be accidentally eaten by some other hungry guest.
After that’s been decided, here are several strategies to try when it comes to choosing pizza toppings.
1. Try Taking a General Poll
Ask your guests what they would like. Most guests will be polite and say something like, “Anything is fine with me.” However, one or two guests are sure to announce their dislike of one or two toppings, and this can be helpful.
Of course, the most reliable way to ensure you order the right kinds of pizza for your party is to ask your guests which kinds they’d prefer. However, sometimes, your group is too large to individually poll everybody. In that case, use these stats on the average American’s favorite pizza toppings to assist your decision-making process:
- Pepperoni: 36%
- Sausage: 14%
- Mushrooms: 11%
- Other: 10%
- Cheese: 8%
- Chicken: 7%
- Beef: 4%
- Onions and Olives: 3% each
- Peppers, Tomatoes and Anchovies: 2% each
As you can see, the top 10 most popular pizza toppings in the United States are pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. Keep in mind, however, that most popular doesn’t always mean most group-friendly.
Although plain cheese doesn’t rank that high, it’s still a dependable order for hosting large groups because most will settle for cheese if they don’t like any of the other toppings available.
2. Consider Ordering Before Your Guests Arrive
While polling your guests is one strategy, another strategy is to order before the guests even arrive. This way, you avoid any potential arguments that may arise over pizza toppings. If you choose this route, try sticking with cheese, pepperoni and veggie pizzas in a ratio of 2:1:1.
3. Avoid Any Controversial Toppings
Steer away from things like pineapple, olives or anchovies. Avoid these ingredients, especially if you’re feeding a party of children unless they’ve expressed a desire for these ingredients.
When you’re trying to decide what toppings are the most group-friendly, your best bet is to go with boring but inoffensive toppings. Yes, a plain cheese or pepperoni pizza may not sound exciting, but they are acceptable to most people. And yes, a bacon and pineapple pizza sounds like a lot of fun, but you may be left with three bacon and pineapple pizzas because no one wanted to eat them — which means many people will go hungry. When it comes to trying to please everyone, stick to the basics.
4. Try to Compromise
If you’re still having trouble deciding which toppings would be best for your group of guests, consider going half-and-half on some of the pies. Most pizza places allow you to order toppings on just one half of the pizza, and you may be able to offer your party people more topping choices by splitting up pies. Offering the largest variety of toppings possible increases the chances that every person at your party will be able to find at least one type of pizza they like.
As always, when dealing with large groups, it may be tough to please everyone with your pizza topping selections. Keep in mind that it is very easy for guests to pick off toppings they don’t like. So don’t sweat this detail too much.
How to Save Money on Pizza for a Large Group
If you’re hosting a pizza party, you should consider ways to decrease your costs. Most of us aren’t made of money, and we’re always looking for ways to save a few dollars. Here are a few of our favorite tips that can help you cut back on some of your pizza expenses:
1. Order the Largest Size of Pizza
This is simple math. The rate at which the size of a pizza increases is greater than the rate at which the price increases. In other words, one extra-large pizza will certainly cost more than one small pizza. But ordering enough small pizzas to feed thirty people will cost much more than ordering enough extra-large pizzas to feed thirty people. It’s almost always more cost-effective to choose the largest option available.
2. Shop Around for the Best Pizza Deals
Maybe you’re used to always going to the pizza shop just around the corner. It’s delicious, and it might be a bit pricey, but you usually buy only for yourself, so what does it matter?
However, it can get very expensive to suddenly order a whole stack of pizzas from this place. Instead, search the internet for pizza restaurants near you and look at their prices. Ask friends for their recommendations, making sure to clarify that you’re looking for affordable prices. If you ask your friends for recommendations, always take their advice with a grain of salt — their idea of affordable might be different than yours.
3. Look for Bargains
When it comes to shopping for options, this doesn’t just apply to the restaurants themselves. Search for the best deals as well:
- Browse pizza shop websites for specials and coupons. See if they offer group discounts or deals.
- Browse the internet for coupons. A simple online search for coupons or promo codes that might apply to your order could score you a great deal.
- The more pizza you order, the more likely you are to save a good amount of money. If your pizza party is not going to be very large, don’t count on finding many applicable deals.
- If you want to be the first to know about special deals at your favorite pizza chain or local shop, sign up for their email promotions, so you never miss a chance to save on pizza.
You never know what you might find simply because you took the time to look for it. Who knows what might turn up if you poke around a little?
4. Ask Everyone to Chip in for the Cost of the Pizza
This is a matter of preference. It’s possible you’re hosting this party, and you would never dream of asking for help in paying for the food. But in many situations, it’s entirely acceptable and even expected to ask for some help. Ask your guests to all chip in a few dollars or whatever they can afford. This allows everyone to share in the cost and prevents the burden of paying from falling directly on any one individual.
5. Opt for Pick-Up Instead of Delivery
Every pizzeria and pizza shop will have its own policy on this, so be sure to do your research before you commit to anything. In most cases, however, delivery costs extra. To cut costs a bit, drive to the pizza shop to pick up your food instead of having it delivered to you. If you do decide to have it delivered, don’t forget to calculate money for a tip into your final tally.
6. Compare Pricing Options to Catering
Some pizza restaurants offer catering options. While this option isn’t the right one for everyone, it can be the perfect solution for some parties. Some restaurants and pizza shops may offer special group deals or packages that make catering more attractive and affordable. You can also set out your parameters with the pizza caterer ahead of time, meaning you have less to worry about on the day of the party.
7. Consider Quality vs. Quantity
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. As much as we all love a good deal, keep in mind that you typically won’t find a cheaper alternative than a big chain pizza provider. Decide whether it’s more important to support your favorite local pizza shop or save some money by ordering from the cheapest source available.
Other Tips for Ordering Pizza for a Group of People
A few more pizza ordering tips that don’t necessarily fall into any category we’ve discussed so far include:
- If you plan to order the pizza the day before the party and have it scheduled to be delivered at a certain time the next day, get an exact guest list. There will always be a few people who say they “might” come. See if you can get them to give you a straight answer. If there is any doubt, assume they will come. Order your pizza based on this guest list. Remember that it’s better to have too much than too little.
- Pay close attention to who you’re serving. Your guest list might include 50 people, but notice who these people are. How many are children who get distracted by the fun of the party and won’t sit still to eat? How many are vegans who won’t eat pizza? All of these things will affect how many pizzas you need to order.
- Remember that our pizza ordering suggestions are just that — suggestions. You know your group best, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For example, if you know a large portion of your guests will be vegans, try ordering a pizza made with vegan ingredients.
- Try to optimize your options. We know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone loves pizza. So even though it’s a pizza party, try to provide some side choices like salad, sandwiches or even dessert to make sure everyone goes home with a satisfied stomach.
- Figure things out ahead of time. If you’re going to ask your guests to chip in for the pizza, ask them beforehand. Don’t simply pass a hat around at the party, since few people are likely to have cash on them. Furthermore, people may be flustered to be put on the spot.
- If you’re getting your pizza delivered, it can be helpful to calculate the cost ahead of time. This allows you the time to add up how much a proper tip should be.
- With so many electronic payment options available nowadays, it may be easiest for one person to simply pay for the entire order and then request money from the other guests for their portion of the bill.
- Paying virtually also gives you the opportunity to alter how much each person contributes, depending on how much they eat to ensure that the check is divided fairly. For example, guests could send the host a dollar for each slice they eat. Of course, this could also be done in cash, but it’s not likely that most people will have enough bills on them.
- In addition to thinking ahead about the payment method, consider the timing of your pizza order. Try to time your order just right, so the pizza arrives early enough that people aren’t waiting around hungry, but close enough to your party’s start time that it’s still steaming when served. Choosing to cater may ease this stress by allowing you to discuss details of timing in advance with your caterer.
Let Giordano’s Cater Your Pizza Party
Looking for a pizza place to serve up the delicious, mouth-watering taste that will have your guests coming back for more slices? Try Giordano’s stuffed deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. We consistently top “best pizza” lists in and around the Chicago area and have been dazzling guests with our authentic taste for years.
We offer a wide variety of toppings that will provide something for all of your guests. Not only that, but we also offer a menu that extends beyond pizza and includes sandwiches, salads, pasta and other Italian dishes. We’re best known for our sit-down restaurant experience, but that’s not all we offer. We also provide pickup or delivery for your convenience, and we have a catering option as well.
If you’re in the Chicago area and looking to host a fabulous pizza party, we want to be a part of it. Once you’ve successfully used our pizza calculator to figure out how many pizzas you’ll need for your party, call Giordano’s catering to place an order.
And if catering isn’t a part of your plan, don’t forget that our tasty pizzas are also available for delivery and make a great choice for keeping your guests happy and well-fed. Search for a Giordano’s location near you today.