This post is part of the Reporter’s Notebook blog.
Of all the Pi Days in all the millennia, this one in 2016 is especially significant, because it matches the rounded value of pi — 3.1416 — better than any of the others.
The March 14 “observance” that sends math geeks into spasms of joy has been especially delightful for the pizza “pie” brands, and this year is no departure, especially for Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut and Washington, D.C.-based &pizza.
But other restaurant concepts have got into the action to celebrate the 3/14/16 date, which dovetails nicely with the round infinite number of a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter. Charlotte, N.C.-based Bojangles, for example, is using the date to promote its sweet potato pie.
Perhaps going the geekiest, Pizza Hut this year is partnering with John H. Conway, the distinguished professor-emeritus of mathematics at Princeton University, to release three mathematical equations at 8 a.m. E.T. Monday on the brand’s blog with prizes for those who are first to solve them.
The prize to the first customer to solve each problem? That’s 3.14 years of free Pizza Hut pie, which the company values at $1,600 in gift cards. Click here for the rules.
"Pi may be irrational, but free pizza is anything but," Conway said in a statement issued by the 15,600-unit division of Yum! Brands Inc.
And the marriage of math and pizza continues this year at &pizza in the Washington, D.C., area. The 13-unit pizza maker again will again turn its Columbia Heights shop into a “pop-up Vegas-style wedding chapel.”
From flowers to music to a special wedding menu, guests will be treated to the ultimate pizza lovers wedding. A marriage officiant will be on-site from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT to make things legal.
No less sweet, of course, is the National Pi Day offer from the 657-unit Bojangles', which is offering three sweet potato pies for $3.14 — but just on Monday.
That price point is a big one for Pi Day.
“Our sweet potato pie is incredibly delicious and National Pi Day is the perfect occasion to reintroduce it to our fans,” said Randy Poindexter, Bojangles’ senior vice president of marketing, in a statement.
To see how these promotions have gone, we’ll, um, circle back next year.