Is a better crust worth a few extra bucks to your customers? Most Americans say yes, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by General Mills Foodservice.

True, any independent pizzeria operator who takes pride in their crust has probably caught some grief for raising menu prices in the past few years. But let’s roll with it anyway. The point is, of course, that no amount of tasty toppings can make up for an inferior crust.

That’s why 80% of the survey’s respondents said they’re willing to pay more if your crust is top-notch. Additionally, 91% said a bad crust can ruin a pizza.

The nationwide poll surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older. It focused on how American consumers eat pizza and, more importantly to pizzeria operators, just what they’re looking for in a good crust.

Related: How to create a crispy pizza crust

The results show consumers are more likely to eat pizza when dining out or ordering takeout if they know the pizza has a good crust (87%). Survey participants also cited the top attributes of their favorite crust: just the right taste/flavor (58%), thickness (51%), texture (38%), golden-brown color (35%) and char (12%).

The most preferred crust texture was dual texture—crispy on the outside, airy on the inside (33%), crispy (32%), thin (29%), thick (26%) and airy/chewy (15%).

“The survey demonstrates that the crust is truly the heart of the pizza,” Paras Bansal, who analyzes consumer insights for General Mills Foodservice, said in a statement. “We learned that consumers are passionate about pizza crust, which indicates pizzerias and operators want to make sure they get it right to please their pizza-loving patrons and be more profitable with pizza.”

Other findings from the survey included:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) named a great crust as the top reason they like their favorite pizza place.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) would be more interested in eating pizza at breakfast or lunch if they knew it had a good crust.
  • Hand-tossed/traditional is tops when it comes to the respondents’ favorite style of pizza crust when ordering/eating away from home (34%).
  • Americans’ favorite regional pizza style is still New York (36%), followed by Chicago deep-dish (20%). California-style was the favorite of 7%, with Detroit-style coming in at 5%, while New Haven-style and St. Louis-style tied at 2%.

Featured, Food & Ingredients