This is strictly my opinion, folks. As a food, pizza is simple. However, pizza-making is not. But isn't it just crust, sauce and toppings, you ask. No. Let's take sushi for example. On the surface sushi is almost comically simple - a piece of raw fish atop a ball of rice. But it takes years of training and apprenticeship to become a real itamae (sushi chef). Pizza is no different.
For this reason I'm not a huge fan of the new make-your-own-pizza-create-your-own-masterpiece-use-unlimited-toppings craze. I especially object when some of them call themselves artisan pizzerias (I mean, if customers design the pizza, where's your artisanship?) Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to giving my customers whatever they want. Quite the opposite. It's just that I think what they really want is to be surprised and delighted. After all, food service (in America, at least) isn't about fighting hunger; it's about fighting grayness. It's a job of creating happiness. It's a difficult job. And it's my job. Not my customer's.
I must use imagination to invent new recipes. I must invest time to create perfect balance of ingredients and flavors, to figure out the correct process (yes, many of my pizzas are made in stages to ensure each ingredient is cooked to perfection), and refine, refine, refine, until I get it right. Is it harder than to just give the customer access to ingredients and the oven? Certainly. But it's also infinitely more rewarding.
Now, before you assume that I'm some kind of a pizza authoritarian, I should mention that I do offer my customers the option to customize their pizzas. They can even create their own, if they so desire. But very few choose to do so. Overwhelmingly, my customers prefer our signature pizzas. And for that I'm deeply grateful.