They are trying to stretch their dough.
As inflation soars, NYC’s famous 99-cent pizza joints are cutting back on mozzarella and marinara sauce to continue serving slices for as little as a dollar, customers complained to The Post.
“It doesn’t taste like New York pizza,” said Jerry Johnson, 30, of Times Square’s 99 Cent Fresh Pizza. “They skimp on cheese, gravy, everything.”
Luke Ericson, 38, ate a dollar coin at 2 Bros. Pizza on W. 38th Street and 6th Ave. and said something was missing.
“If I were making this at home, I would definitely add more cheese,” he said.
While customers have noticed a dip in quality, others are just happy that the cheap eats are still an option.
“I eat here at least once a day. It’s delicious and affordable,” said Alex Garay, who lives in a homeless shelter and frequently begs outside a Midtown Dollar Pizza joint. “It would be much more difficult for me if they increased the price.”
The Deck family of Lancaster, Pennsylvania were on their way to a Broadway show recently when they stopped at a 2 Bros. for lunch to buy a few dollar bills.
“It’s a pretty good pizza where we’re from — tall and better than what you can get for $5 at home,” Casey Deck said.
Despite its popularity, the dollar bill is becoming increasingly scarce. Some stores have had to raise their prices while others struggle to remain a bargain.
“If I raise the price, I lose the customer,” said Quadeer Khan, who runs Best Fresh Pizza in Hell’s Kitchen, where slices of cheese still sell for just under a dollar.
The Pakistani-born pizza maker and his brother took over the business in December 2019 and have since faced supply chain issues, not to mention soaring prices for cheese, sauce and flour.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost per pound of cheese was $5.90 in May, compared to $5.33 in the same period in 2019 before the pandemic. Natural gas rose to $1.57 from $1.04 a spa, a pound of flour was up from 45 cents to 46 cents, and a pound of tomatoes remained at $1.82.
“My profits are much lower and it’s hard to survive. I may have to close shop soon,” Khan said.
Dollar-slice stores, which are now a Big Apple staple, didn’t appear in droves until the Great Recession of 2008. The business model was all about volume rather than profit margins and quality pizza.
Even before the current economic downturn, dollar slice shops had a limited shelf life, said Scott Wiener, the pizza fanatic who runs Scott’s Pizza Tours.
“We’ve started to get to the point where all these 10-year or 15-year leases have expired,” he said. “So it’s not just the cost of ingredients that’s going up. Rents are also rising.”
Weiner said the dollar piece’s disappearance would be a blow to the city.
“There’s something to be said for living in a town where the rent is an arm and a leg but you can feed yourself for a few bucks,” he said. “It’s kind of nice. It’s the dichotomy of New York City: It’s big and expensive, but there’s a way to get through it.”
https://nypost.com/2022/07/02/nycs-99-cent-pizza-joints-cutting-back-on-ingredients/ NYC’s 99-cent pizza places are cutting back on ingredients