The Pizza Story, A Cautionary Tale
Once upon a time, in a pizza shop far, far away, pizza makers made pizzas. Not just ordinary pizzas, but extra-deluxe pizzas with tons of toppings, including chocolate sprinkles.
Each pizza shop made a different type of extra-deluxe pizza, depending on the tastes and experiences of the pizza maker.
Then came state pizza standards, and the pizza expectations changed.
“Extra-deluxe pizza is way too much — no extras like chocolate sprinkles! Making deluxe pizza is OK, but you should all try to make the same deluxe pizza.”
“Hmm…” thought the pizza makers, “Chocolate sprinkles probably don’t belong on a pizza anyway, but why does our pizza have to be the same as another shop’s pizza?”
Soon, though, the pizza makers adjusted to making deluxe pizzas according to the same recipe. It wasn’t too bad — there was still a lot of pizza variety and creativity.
Then came district pizza essentials, and the pizza expectations changed again.
“Deluxe pizza is too much — all those toppings are non-essential (too fancy, too expensive, non-standardized, not very SMART…). Get rid of the toppings and focus on the essential pizza.”
“That seems kinda harsh,” thought the pizza makers, but eventually they learned to focus on just the essential, no-frills pizza: crust, sauce, and cheese.
Occasionally, the pizza makers still had enough time to dust the surface of the pizza with a few chopped herbs or red pepper flakes to make the pizza more tasty.
Then came competition from other industries demanding time and space inside the pizza shop, and the pizza expectations changed again.
- “What about something to drink? You can’t serve pizza without a drink. Make sure that you serve some water with the pizza (essential, no-frills water, of course).”
- “What about some fruits and vegetables to go with that pizza?”
- “What about events before and after the pizza?”
- “What about dessert?”
- “What about a nap?”
- “What about non-pizza announcements and presentations?”
The list of pizza competitors grew and grew, adding tremendous pressure to the pizza makers’ daily expectations and routines. How would all of this affect the customers?
With myriad demands from different stakeholders both inside and outside the pizza shop, making quality pizzas has become an extraordinary challenge, requiring pizza makers to cut into the very essence of pizza itself. The choices pizza makers face today are limited and often paradoxical — ultimately they make no one (except maybe the crust, sauce, and cheese corporations and their lobbyists) happy…
“I guess I’ll just have to take away something from the essential pizza,” says the pizza maker. But if you take away the crust, sauce, or cheese, it’s no longer a pizza. What happens when a pizza is no longer a pizza?
“I’ll serve smaller pizzas,” says the pizza maker. But then customers only get a small bite, and leave feeling hungry. It’s better than nothing, right? What happens when customers are deprived of their recommended daily serving of pizza?
“I’ll hand out the essential pizza ingredients in the pizza shop, then have my customers bake the pizza at home. We’ll call it the Homework Pizza,” says the pizza maker. But it takes hours to bake pizzas at home, some customers don’t have pizza ovens, and some customers prefer going out to other restaurants rather than staying home and baking pizza. What happens when customers balk at having too much pizza homework?
“I’ll ask my customers to gather the essential ingredients, bake, and eat the pizza at home, then we can discuss the pizza in the pizza shop tomorrow. We’ll call it the Flipped Pizza,” says the pizza maker. But then the pizza shop is no longer necessary. What happens when no one makes pizza and just wants dessert?
“My customers didn’t show up today, so I’ll excuse them from their daily pizza,” says the pizza maker. But then we starve our customers. What do we do for customers who frequently miss their essential pizza shop visits?
It’s really tough being a pizza maker these days. I feel sad for the pizza makers and their customers. I hope stuff like this doesn’t happen in schools…