NPR logo Letter: 'Good Pizza Is Priceless'

Letter: 'Good Pizza Is Priceless'

"The Major" at Satchel's Pizza. Satchel Raye hide caption

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Satchel Raye

Satchel writes:

I have listened to every episode of Planet Money since its inception. I love Chana and her voice and style but today she shocked me. I have a pizzeria in Gainesville, Florida and I have $30 pizzas.They are awesome and business is booming.

You see, we pool tips and pay good wages (a dishwasher might start at $14 an hour, some veteran employees make as much as $25 an hour or more.) We have IRA's for employees, profit sharing bonuses twice a year, massages for employees and even a health savings account where we reimburse employees for medical expenses. I feel that if I'm going to run a business I need to be able to pay people good wages, offer benefits so they would rather work for me than someone else and make the best damn pies in America!

So, yes, our deep dish with 6 toppings is $30, but it feeds 4 people, that's $7.50 per person. How many people does Chana's $30 pizza feed? Not just Chana? I believe that America has been dumbed down to get crappy pizza for cheap. Cheap cheese, frozen dough, frozen toppings. If someone does it right, making everything fresh, paying employees well, offering good jobs and benefits, then the pizza should cost about... $30.

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A mile away is my competition with the medium $6.99 special. They are dead and we are slammed. Why? Because we have great pies and customers know that our employees are treated well. My labor is almost 50 percent of gross. This is ridiculous for most restaurants but our formula is working fine. The restaurant is busy, the employees are making money and buying houses and settling in, and in 2009 we paid out over $800,000 in wages. For a local pizza shop only open 5 days a week, I think that's awesome.

I get so frustrated reading reviews that say we are too expensive and obviously Chana would be one of my reviewers complaining about price. Why not complain about a $30 steak or a $100 bottle of wine? Good pizza is priceless.