NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A war over the price of pizza between two Manhattan establishments is heating up – and customers are reaping the benefits.
Ray’s Pizza, on W. 54th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway, has been a neighborhood favorite for five years. Two months ago, another pizzeria – 99 Cents Pizza – opened across the street.
Last week, Ray’s dropped the price of a slice to $0.75 from $2.75. Along with an aggressive advertising campaign with flyers posted throughout the neighborhood, the price change has left the manager at 99 Cents miffed.
“They’re trying to fight with us almost, showing attitude,” manager Imran Ahmed, 26, told the Daily News. “It’s kind of stupid. They were trying to block our customers, screaming, ‘Don’t go there!’”
Ray’s Pizza manager Elsayed Elgaiar, 50, denies accusations that his employees were trying to dissuade people from eating at 99 Cents, but were only working hard to let customers know about the limited-time slice in price.
“We’re not going to have somebody like what he said, in front of his store,” Elgaiar told WCBS 880. “It’s everywhere. Customers got it, the people were staying outside, giving flyers.”
While the battle for the lowest prices is heating up, Elgaiar denies any bad blood between the two pizza purveyors.
“It’s no war,” he said. “We try everything nicely, we don’t have no problem – we don’t have no war with nobody.”
The people that are certainly enjoying the competition are the customers, who get to enjoy cheaper slices of pizza during a down economy.
“The economy is really down,” Elgaiar said. “You can ask any owners in Broadway – between 52nd and Broadway and 59th – how is the business. Business is very, very slow.”
“It’s good – that’s how it should be,” Midtown resident Matthew Steinfeld told the Daily News. “Pizza should be a value food. There’s only three ingredients.”