By Corinne Watson
Think about the last time you bit into a slice of pizza:
- The warm combination of cheese and marinara,
- the slight crunch of the crust,
- the feel of a smile forming on your face.
Consumers in the U.S. spend a lot of dough on pizza — approximately 14 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. That’s a lot (and the highest figure since 2007). There is nothing quite like a slice of pie, but there are a few things that we may argue are even better — like if it was free.
People have a tendency to like things that are free. In a 2007 study, Duke Professor Dan Ariely surveyed 398 MIT students, measuring their reaction to two different types of chocolate: Hershey’s and Lindt. While Lindt is notably more expensive and perceived as higher quality, when given the choice between free Hershey’s chocolate and discounted Lindt chocolate, the majority of students opted for the free chocolate.
If people had the choice between free average pizza and discounted specialty pizza, chances are they’d take the free — because nothing beats free, and all pizza is good pizza, according to some.
So, aside from participating in a less-than-likely research experiment, what other ways can you get a free pizza deal?
Ways To Get Free Pizza – Ethically
While it may not seem easy at first, getting free pizza is actually simpler than you think. The saying “patience is a virtue” applies to free pizza as well. Don’t expect to get your hands on a free slice immediately. The good thing is, we’ve done a lot of research for you!
First things first — let’s define the concept of free food. There is a fine line between ethically getting free pizza, and lying and/or stealing pizza. Here are some ways that you can get free pizza while also not breaking the law.
1. Join pizza reward programs.
Nearly every large nationwide pizza chain restaurant has a rewards program where certain qualifying events (like purchases and sometimes birthdays) add up points to allow you to get free pizza. Simply put, the more pizza eat, the more free pizza you can get. It’s almost like getting a free gift card for pizza.
Often seen as the best pizza rewards program, Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards is simple: for every phone, Domino’s app, or online order you place using your rewards account, you get 10 points at checkout. Once you get 60 points, you get a free order of Domino’s pizza. (Extra toppings, deep-dish and gluten free crusts may cost extra.)
Even better? If you forgot to sign up but have ordered within the past 30 days, you can still get your points and a free Domino’s pizza.
Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards Program. Source = Dominos.com
Pizza Hut’s Hut Rewards program gives pizza-eaters 2 points for every $1 spent. Those points can go towards breadsticks and pizza. For example, breadsticks are 75 points. You’ll also get a special surprise on your birthday and on certain game days.
Papa John’s Papa Rewards program gives you 1 point per $1 spent. For every 75 points earned, you get $10 “Papa Dough” towards a delivery area or takeout order. Papa Johns also promises “exclusive surprises and special pizza deals” to Papa Rewards members. What that means, we’re not sure.
California Pizza Kitchen has a complex, but awesome rewards program that gives you 1 point per $1 spent. Depending on the amount of points you have, you are given a limited-time tier: Palm, VIP, Diamond, and Elite. Each tier has different awards – but all tiers get a free birthday dessert (or entree) and a free small plate for 24 hours after you sign up.
For those of you who enjoy buffet-style pizza ranging from pepperoni to pineapple to dessert variants, classic Cici’s Pizza has a rewards program that can’t be beat. For every five visits with a purchase of $7 or more, you earn a free adult buffet or carryout pizza. You’ll need to download the Cici’s app to start earning free pizza.
Always a food-court classic, Sbarro is doling out free pizza with it’s Slice Society program. “A pizza party for parties who love pizza”, the email-based program gives you free birthday pizza, a Free XL NY slice with the purchase of a beverage within 24 hours of joining, and other coupons. This one’s a good one!
Since being acquired by Chuck-e-Cheese, Peter Piper Pizza introduced Club Piper, where shoppers can get “exclusive coupons, offers, and incentives.” A tad mysterious, but it might be good!
Hungry Howie’s rewards program seems great as well. When you make qualifying purchases, you accumulate Howie Points™ that can be redeemed for rewards like menu items.
A lot of these rewards programs are easy to access both online and through the pizza store’s app. Some, like California Pizza Kitchen, give you a physical card to carry around in your wallet for extra bragging points.
2. Sign up for email rewards.
Would you trade your email for a free pizza? Chances are, yes. Because pizza shops want to be able to send you emails and market to you, often times they will incentivize you by giving you free rewards after your submit your email for newsletters.
Papa Murphy’s doesn’t have a loyalty program, but if you sign up for their email and text offers, you’ll get 25% off your next order. Not quite free, but close!
Marco’s Pizza has a newsletter where you can sign up for deals — no promises of any free pizza, but you never know!
3. Go to local events and Meetup groups.
What’s simple to order, relatively cheap, and easy to feed a crowd? Pizza. It’s a tried-and-true favorite featured at school gatherings, pool parties, Superbowl celebrations, and now — meetups.
If you work in an industry that often hosts events around town, consider signing up so you can network with others and score some free pizza.
If you’re a hobbyist, consider joining a regular meetup group to meet new friends.
A great way to find meetups is through social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and through event websites like Meetup and Eventbrite.
Meetup example that may or may not come with free pizza.
4. Suggest that your company should buy the office pizza.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely recently conducted a survey amongst factory workers. The workers were promised one of three rewards if they had a productive workweek: pizza, compliments, or a cash bonus of around $30. Those who were promised pizza were the most productive.
What does this mean? Pizza is better than cash and compliments, in some circumstances.
If you work on a team that could use a workshop or team-building event, consider asking for a simple stipend from your company to pay for a pizza party. Not only will you end up with some free pizza – you’ll also have an opportunity to mingle with your coworkers and establish a reputation as someone who is interested in developing their team.
How NOT To Get Free Pizza
No one likes a thief or a cheater. There is nothing in life — including pizza — that is worth risking your reputation or character for. You’d have to be completely desperate to attempt any of the below ideas for getting pizza — and you’d better be ready to face the potential moral and legal consequences. We do not recommend these methods!
1. Lying about your order being wrong.
It takes time and money to create a pizza. If you pretend like your pizza order is wrong to get a new pizza, you are wasting the time of the cook who is making the pie — not to mention, you’re technically stealing from the company as they were able to complete your order correctly the first time.
Don’t do this.
2. Finding glitches in reward apps.
It seems as though there are more and more hackers diving into our personal data. Almost any website, online ordering system, or app can be “hacked”, with the right resources or inside man.
Finding a coupon or promo code for a pizza online is easy and moral, but anything beyond that is slightly or completely immoral.
For example — when Dominos ran their limited-time Points for Pies promotion in early 2019, users could upload a photo of any pizza to earn points towards a free pizza. The intention behind the promotion was to get people to order more pizza, but people found a hack: you could upload ANY picture of a small, medium, or large pizza — even from the internet — to get rewards. Uh oh.
Almost everyone loves pizza, and everyone loves free stuff (especially when it is delivered right to your door), so free pizza is a truly culinary match. While pizza is one of the most affordable meals around due to the low cost of ingredients, it is even better if you get it for free.
Finding ways to get free pizza may come with some additional great side effects, like building morale in your company, or finding a smaller local pizza shop to give your business to.
No matter how you find your free pizza, it’s sure to be delicious.
Do you have a new way to find free pizza? Let us know in the comments below!