While one-third of adults recently reported eating out less often, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey, pizzerias seem to be exempt from this trend. At the end of 2016, it was reported by CHD Expert and Technomic that pizza is a $45 billion industry in North America, having grown even more from the previous year. Take a look at this year's most notable pizza trends and how restaurants and pizzerias can decide their best course of action.
1) The Rise of Square Pizza
"Say hello to Detroit-Style Pizza. Aside from its distinctive square shape, this style is known for toppings go first, covered by cheese, then sauce. It's making a splash in cities outside of Detroit — notably LA and Austin," AJ Beltis writes in Toast.
There is no doubt America loves its pizza. The new AudienceSCAN study showed 10% of American adults order pizza at least 3 times a week! We call this hardcore audience Pizza Lovers.
"The more that digital technology becomes the default way that people are going to access brands—and it is already the majority of our business—I think that’s going to continue to play to our strength,” says Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle. Statista also pointed out the sheer growth that online ordering from pizzerias will see in 2017, while the NPD Group found that digital ordering increased by 18% in 2016."
During the past month, 29% of Pizza Lovers have used smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices to order food from a restaurant, according to the new AudiencecSCAN survey results.
3) The Wake of Breakfast Pizza
"If you're eager to jump on this trend while it's still growing, consider opening up a few hours early and offering a commuter-sized breakfast pizza."
"What could be new about pepperoni?" Dan Pecha asks in The Positively Pizza Blog. "To provide a more artisanal or homemade look, food manufacturers are creating random-cut pepperoni as an alternative to the cylindrical shape."
5) Food Trucks and Wood-Fired Pizza
"Food trucks and portable ovens were everywhere, and innovators are bringing pizza to the people through means other than your typical delivery service. The concept of portable pizza parties is growing in popularity — from graduation parties to wedding anniversaries."
How to Compete in 2017
1 Clean up your act.
"Millennials want natural ingredients and “responsibly raised” meats without any added hormones and antibiotics. Natural, unprocessed, sustainable and locally grown ingredients are more important than “low-fat” and “low-carb” to many consumers, especially millennials and Generation X," Rick Hynum writes for PMQ.
2 Offer nutritional data.
"Once the larger chains start providing this info as required by law, health-conscious customers will come to expect transparency from smaller pizzerias, too. According to the National Restaurant Association, 70% of customers order more healthful options at restaurants today than they did 10 years ago. You don’t have to put nutritional data front and center on your menu, but make it available on your website or in your app."
This is especially important to 27% of Pizza Lovers. The new AudienceSCAN survey showed 26.6% of Pizza Lovers set personal goals to eat healthier this year.
3 Get creative in the kitchen.
"Create new specialty pizzas and LTOs featuring locally grown, in-season toppings, and explore new flavor profiles and ingredients, such as chorizo, chipotle or Jamaican jerk chicken. To boost your lunch business, offer lighter, personal-size pizzas or create a breakfast or brunch pizza for the weekend crowd, Technomic recommends."
4 Take the online ordering plunge.
"Talk to your POS company about the options available to you. If they can’t help, third-party providers now abound, and you can negotiate with them on fees and commissions."
Promote mobile ordering capabilities with mobile campaigns. The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 55% of Pizza Lovers took action after getting mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads in the past 30 days!
5 Cash in on the demand for delivery.
"If you’ve never offered delivery before, this is the time to give it a second look. You don’t necessarily need a team of drivers; third-party aggregators like DoorDash and UberEats will get your pizza into more living rooms if you’re willing to share a piece of every sale."
6 Reward your loyal customers.
"The major chains are leveraging tech-based rewards programs to foster loyalty and acquire crucial data about their customers. Don’t let them get ahead of you. Set up a system that your customers can use online and offline, make signup a snap, track spending habits, and tailor your rewards to users."