Is Pizza the Key to Productivity?

There have been many work motivators and productivity boosters but none of them is as effective as pizza. This may sound absurd but there are scientific studies to prove it. People work 9 – 5 jobs with an expectation to get some remuneration and occasional treats in terms of bonuses, leaves, and so on.

Just like a monetary incentive, food or even a cup of coffee can increase the level of your productivity significantly. Pizza is the favorite food item of many for obvious reasons. It is exceptionally yummy and is available in every corner of the world. However, it is loaded with calories and you simply cannot call it a healthy food item. Nevertheless, people love pizza and never say no to it.

Besides tantalising the taste buds, there is another very interesting and unknown benefit of eating pizza. Various studies have been conducted and all of them prove the same thing; pizza increases productivity at work. Offering pizza is not only beneficial for the employees but also for the employers as it helps to retain employees for a longer period of time.

The Study

The study was conducted by Doctor Dan Ariely in an office in Israel and is described in his book Payoff: The hidden logic that shapes our motivations. The main reason of the study was to prove that pizza was the greatest performance booster. In competition with pizza was a cash bonus ($30) and

The study spanned just over three weeks. At the beginning of each week, Dr. Ariely sent them one of the three productivity incentives. In the first week, he sent the workers a cash bonus of $30. In the second week, the boss complimented the work of all the workers and finally in the third week, they were all treated with free pizza coupons.


The pizza was the clear winner as the workers showed a 6.7% increase in productivity during the week. The boss’s compliment stood at the second position with a marginally lower increase in productivity at 6.6%. The cash bonus increased productivity by a mere 4.9%. This came as a bit of a shocker to employees as well as to Dr. Ariely.

It was found that two days after the employees received the cash bonus, their productivity dipped by 13.2%. At the end of the week after all the calculations, it was found that this group saw a 6.5% decline in overall productivity.


Clearly, pizza came out on top and established itself as the productivity booster in the workplace. An interesting finding was that the employees were more motivated by pizza than money. The research also proved that morale boosters like compliments from bosses have a positive impact on the performance of employees.

However, at a later point in the study, it appeared that compliments worked well in the long run and boosted productivity more than pizza. But pizza worked as good motivator in the short run and the productivity increase was clearly visible.

It turned out that you could use pizza to inspire your employees or friends to get the job done quickly. Pizza easily goes down better than compliments and monetary incentives, at least in the short run.

There is one more reason why pizza coupons won the incentive game. Think about it. It’s far better to come home and say, ‘I won pizza coupons because I did great work’ and share the spoils with family, instead of ‘The boss complimented me at work’.

The good news is that pizza works for both the employer and the employee. It works as a motivator and improves the productivity of the employees. It is pretty clear that money benefits only inspire for a few moments whereas recognition from your boss and pizza have the power of positivity and boosts motivation level.


Shyamal Parikh - https://www.smarttask.io/

Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that's helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who's doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team's productivity.