Pizza Projecting Upward

QSR pizza sales have hovered at $33–$36 billion for the last few years and projections for the upcoming year are very strong, Pizza Marketplace reported. The grim economy of the past couple of years has not crushed the spirit of folks who like to eat out.Pizza

Although pizza sales slowed in recent months due to extreme regional economic downward movement, they appear to be picking up again now, said Sandy Arrasmith, operations manager for J & H Oil Co., the Wyoming, Mich.-based operator of 43 convenience stores.

Arrasmith also noticed that one burgeoning trend in the pizza business over the past few months has been the switch from individual mini pizzas to what she described as a mega-wedge. “It’s a little more cost effective, and the retail is lower as well,” she said. “We felt that converting to a smaller retail package would serve everyone better. Otherwise, we’re sticking to what’s tried and true.”

Ed Zimmerman, president of Pizza.com identified four trends pizza retailers need to track for 2001: smaller portions, artisan cheeses, local produce and social media.

Smaller portions for smaller prices.“Pizza is a natural target for those that perceive pizza as loaded with fat and calories,” Zimmerman said. “One solution should be to remind people that pizza is simply a platform that can be as healthful as the consumer chooses.” Healthful ingredients include vegetables and reduced-fat cheeses.

Artisan cheese. Specialty cheeses pack a lot of flavor in a small package, Zimmerman said. “A few ounces of an artisan cheese will cost more per pound, but you can use much less and keep the cheese cost of your offer the same.”

Local produce. “This is the easiest, least expensive way to stay on the two hottest food trends: local and sustainable,” Zimmerman said. “Visit local farmers markets and buy produce.”

Social media. “Face it; large groups of your customers are online with Facebook, Twitter, etc. Simply mailing coupons and handing out menus will not build your business; you need both strategies, online and offline,” Zimmerman said. “Attend a seminar or Webinar on the topic and get comfortable. It may seem like a risk to begin, but failure to innovate is the biggest risk of all.”

Fast Facts About Pizza

—Americans eat around 350 slices of pizza each second, or 100 acres per day.
—Pizza is a $30 billion industry in the U.S.
—There are about 61,269 pizza parlors across the country representing 17% of all restaurants.
—Children aged 3-11 prefer pizza over all other foods for lunch and dinner, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
—Approximately 36% of all pizza orders include pepperoni as the preferred topping. Anchovies are the least favorite topping, according to Gallup.
—New gourmet pizza toppings have rapidly became popular. Some of those toppings include: oysters, crayfish, dandelions, sprouts, eggplant, Cajun shrimp, artichoke hearts, venison, duck and tuna.
—October is National Pizza Month. It was first so designated in 1987.
—Three of the top 10 weeks of pizza consumption occur in January. In fact, more pizza is consumed during Super Bowl week than any other week of the year.

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