From your discussion, it sounds like the pizza assemblers at Donatos weighed the items that go onto a pizza. Is that so, and, if so, what kinds of scales or system was used to do this?
Yes, that is true. Cheese, as well as every topping, gets weighed. There are two phases in the pizza-assembling process at Donatos.Phase 1
In the hour or so before the dinner rush (and during the rush), workers at Donatos sauce-&-cheese at least a few dozen skins; maybe 50 or more. These are mostly large skins, as I estimate large pizzas constitute about 80% of pizza sales.
To apply sauce to a large skin, the sauce person presses the appropriate button on a gadget that resembles the soda dispenser at your favorite bar. After it dispenses 8 oz of sauce onto the skin, the worker uses gravity to distribute the sauce all the way to the edge of the skin (as shown in my pics here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2711.msg139661.html#msg139661
After the sauce person has applied and distributed the sauce on a skin, he or she passes the skin to another worker a few feet away. The cheese person places the pan on a digital scale and presses the tare button to zero out the scale. For a large pizza, the cheese person applies anywhere from 0.450 to 0.480 lbs of shredded provolone (from edge to edge, of course). This person then places the sauce-and-cheesed skin on a refrigerated rack.Phase 2
On the other side of the rack is the make-table (prep table). The make-table is about 8 feet wide; it’s a relatively standard prep table with three doors and a compressor (or whatever the reefer guts are called). There’s easily enough room for three people to assemble pizzas; possibly enough room for four pizza assemblers. So if three people are assembling pizzas, there should be three digital scales on the flat part (front) of the make-table. The scales are about 10” x 10” in width and depth, while they stand about 3 or 4 inches high. They express weights to the nearest thousandth of a pound. For example, it reads “.300” when someone has put the proper amount of pepperoni on a large pizza. To tare the scale, you just bump the large button located on the front of the scale.
For every pizza order, the make-ticket lists the pizza size, toppings, as well as the proper weight for each topping. Every pizza is topped on a scale, and every topping gets weighed. So if there is an order for a large pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, here’s what the pizza assembler will do:
1) Grab a sauce-and-cheesed skin from the rack in front of the make-table and place it on the scale.
2) Bump the button on the front of the scale to tare it out.
3) Apply pepperoni until the scale reads “.220” (of a pound).
4) Bump the button again to tare out the scale.
5) Apply the next topping on the ticket (sausage, I think) until the scale displays the same number that’s on the ticket.
6) Bump the button again to tare out the scale.
7) Apply the lone remaining topping listed on the ticket (mushroom, I think) until the scale displays the same number that’s on the ticket.
8) Sprinkle Romano mix over the pizza, then place the pan on the appropriate conveyor and never worry about it again.
(I don’t know how much sausage or mushroom is supposed to go on this pizza.)
Since 14” pepperoni is by far the most popular item on the Donatos menu, usually one of the pizza assemblers will prepare a large quantity of large pepperoni skins shortly before a rush begins, topping the sauce-and-cheesed skin with “.300” of pepperoni. After adding the pepperoni, the pizza assembler returns each pepperoni pizza skin to the refrigerated rack in front of the make-table, where it will remain until there’s an order for a large pep. (It takes more than a few seconds to apply 100 pieces of pepperoni to a sauce-and-cheesed skin in an orderly fashion, so this prep procedure is very necessary.) Using this strategy, whenever it gets really busy and there’s a new ticket for a large pepperoni, no one has to make it. All they have to do is grab one off the rack and set it on the conveyor.
Does that help?