Here you are:The Pans and Ovens
. Both Jet's and Buddy's use the same rectangular pans, of the same general type, in the same two sizes (8" x 10" and 10" x 14"). Both companies use conveyor ovens to bake their pizzas. Typically, a pizza at Jet's takes about 8 minutes to bake at about 500 degrees F; at Buddy's, the corresponding numbers are 11-12 minutes at 495 degrees F. Jet's uses corn oil to lubricate its pans (more on this below) whereas Buddy's uses soybean oil some other vegetable oil or blend, possibly containing canola. The Dough
: As you know, Buddy's dough contains only flour (bleached and bromated with a protein content of 12.2%), water, yeast and maybe salt. There is no oil or sugar. The Jet's dough comprises flour (allegedly a proprietary blend that is bleached but not bromated), water, yeast, salt, sugar and oil (corn oil), although the oil part of the dough is most likely due to the corn oil in the pans that ends up in the dough, and possibly oil used to coat the dough balls. I estimate the hydration of the Jet's dough to be around 65%. While we don't know exactly what hydration Buddy's uses for its doughs, everything points to a higher hydration than 65%. I believe that you can see signs of the lower hydration of the Jet's crust from the last photo at Reply 70 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8247.msg135948.html#msg135948
Based on the Jet's nutritional information and what we know about the Buddy's pizzas, a Jet's four-square cheese pizza weighs more than a Buddy's four-square cheese pizza. I believe the explanation is that Jet's uses a larger dough ball than Buddy's uses for its four-square cheese pizzas. However, that shouldn't be taken to mean that the Jet's crust will be thicker than a Buddy's crust, given that Buddy's higher hydration dough may yield a taller but more open and airy crust than Jet's.
Both the Jet's dough and the Buddy's dough can be characterized as emergency doughs and, as such, contain a fair amount of yeast. Both make their dough balls starting early in the morning. Jet's uses lids to cover their pans with the dough balls in them, whereas Buddy's keeps its pans uncovered but cross stacked. Jet's dough is intended to be used throughout the day (the lower hydration helps extend the fermentation period) but it has coolers that some franchisees use to hold any leftover dough at the end of final service to be used the next day (although there are some franchisees who simply discard the dough after the final service). I have seen no evidence that Buddy's uses coolers to extend the period of use of their dough balls. The Cheese
. Jet's uses only low moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese from Grande, in shredded form. Grande confirmed that to me in an email. Buddy's uses brick cheese only, in diced form, and most likely from Foremost Farms. The Jet's nutritional information suggests a lot of cheese but samples of their cheese pizzas as purchased by one of our members from a local Jet's did not confirm that. In fact, the weighed pizzas came in below the numbers indicated in the Jet's nutritional information. Buddy's says that it uses approximately eight ounces of cheese on its four-square pizzas, and double that for its eight-square pizzas.
As for the crispy cheese edges that are characteristic of the classic Detroit-style pan pizzas, it is not clear that using mozzarella cheese alone can produce that effect, or do so consistently. See, for example, the first and second photos at Reply 70 referenced above. Those photos also show the characteristic browning of mozzarella cheese. Brick cheese does not exhibit that characteristic to nearly the same degree. Jet's says that the mozzarella cheese that it uses on its pizzas is made from the milk of contented cows that have their own mattresses and listen to opera. We have not asked Buddy's, nor have they voluntarily revealed anything, about the habits or music preferences of the cows whose milk is used to make their brick cheese. The Pizza Sauce
. To the best of my knowledge, both Jet's and Buddy's use tomato products from Stanislaus Products. Jet's adds water (and spices also) to the tomatoes they use, so most likely they are using a concentrated tomato product from Stanislaus, of which there are several to choose from. Buddy's also adds water to its tomato product (also with spices), so the particular tomatoes it uses will be fairly thick to begin with. Since all of the Stanislaus tomato products are made from fresh-pack tomatoes, the major taste differences might be attributed to using different spices.
As can be seen in the photos at Reply 70, the Jet's pizza sauce is below the cheese. It is uniformly applied, not in dollops and stripes on top of the cheese as at Buddy's. Pepperoni is always on top, not under the cheese.Pizza Prices
. As best I can tell, a Jet's four-square cheese pizza at the new Austin location sells for $7.59 (https://order.jetspizza.com/Menu.aspx?T=t&RestaurantID=be2de82f-c4b3-4001-9dcf-bc8764347cce
). A Buddy's four-square cheese pizza sells for $7.99 (at its 6 Mile location). The Common Detroit Origins
. Both Jet's and Buddy's have their origins in Michigan. And I think that it is safe to say that the square pizzas of both companies are "Detroit style". However, I have never seen Jet's refer to its pizzas as Detroit style. I believe that is because they are tying to become a national chain and do not want to be viewed as predominantly a Detroit style pizza maker, especially since they also sell round pizzas and may have plans for other types of pizza in the future. Hence, I believe that they have intentionally disassociated themselves from a branding standpoint from the Detroit style.
If you are able to sample the Jet's pizza in its new Austin location, I hope you will provide some feedback on your experience, and to confirm or deny what I have presented above if appropriate. You might even be able to add more to what I have presented above, given that you are already an expert on the Detroit style and know what to look for, or even questions to ask if you can get a willing worker to reveal things to you.