Why The Neapolitan Pizza Is Regaining Popularity (And What You Can Learn From It)

Users enjoy having options, but there's also such a thing as too many choices. Sometimes maintaining a higher standard design is made significantly easier simply by reducing the options to only the appropriate choices, eliminating the opportunities for bad decisions.

In the early days of the American pizza industry, the pizza market was dominated by Italian immigrants from the mainland city of Naples. They believed in only two types of pizza: the margherita and the marinara. There was no question of adding, substituting, or removing toppings. The pizza came as the pizza was.

It's easy to see that the American pizza market has changed significantly since those days. Pizza chains now dominate the scene and, to their success, they've given customers a plethora of options for cheeses, crusts, and toppings.

However, Americans are now starting to realize that choosing the pizza chains means accepting a lower quality pizza. While there are a variety of reasons that the large pizza chains are unable to maintain a level of quality on par with the authentic Neapolitan pizza, the plethora of choices they give their customers is a contributing factor.

In the mid 90s, a new generation of Neapolitan pizzaiolis started bringing American pizza back to its roots. They use the same methods and toppings that they've been using for more than a century in Naples, and they don't give the customers any flexibility when it comes to the crust, cheese, or toppings. For these pizza aficionados, there is only one right way to make a pizza, and they're not going to let the customer screw it up. While this can sometimes baffle the American pizza lover who is used to the have-it-your-way style, they usually agree that the authentic Neapolitan pizzas are the best.

Giving your customers options is only a good idea as long as the options don't hamper the quality of the finished product. Empowering your customers can be a useful tactic for pleasing your customers, but the enjoyment will only be temporary if you allow them to frustrate themselves with poor decisions.

Written by Chris Allison on January 8, 2010


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Chris Allison