By Alex Koons

Do you ever face challenges from pizzeria customers questioning your pricing? In today’s economy, price sensitivity is at an all-time high. I’ve encountered people walking into my shop who were visibly taken aback by the menu prices—or they opted to purchase a pizza only to later express discontent about the cost. It’s a tough hurdle to overcome with certain customers, especially when you’re charging a premium.

While ensuring top-notch quality is crucial when charging a higher price, the reality is that even the best pizza may go unappreciated if the initial cost offends someone unwilling to fork over the money.

Admittedly, my pizzas aren’t cheap, but then again, nothing about my approach is. When you consider the various components, from the pizza itself to packaging and overhead costs, it becomes clear why I feel justified in setting my prices where they are.

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Offering benefits like healthcare and fair wages for employees is something most people believe in, but these come at a cost, too. Communicating the intricacies of pricing to consumers has proven to be a challenging experience. I understand that the cost of living is going to vary and that Los Angeles comes with a higher price tag, but a lot of these values are objective.

Personally, I use a unique blend of four flours in my dough, creating a sourdough pizza with 100% organic flour. These distinctive flavor profiles elevate my product, and, in my view, the additional digestibility from quality grains and the sourdough process make it worth the investment. My hard red whole-wheat flour itself sits at close to $4 a pound!

But not everyone appreciates the effort that goes into naturally leavened pizza or values organic ingredients. So, what do you do when you’re not willing to sacrifice your own profit for the sake of your product? What do you do when you want to ensure your team has the right opportunities to thrive beyond work and live comfortably?

You charge what your pizza is truly worth. Not doing so is of no benefit to our industry or the people working in it.

That’s how I sleep soundly every night, knowing my community is getting the best product made by some of the happiest people I have ever worked with. What’s your pizza worth to you?

Alex Koons is a pizza industry consultant and the owner of Hot Tongue Pizza and co-owner of Purgatory Pizza, both in Los Angeles.