People Love Pizza
U.S. retail sales of frozen and refrigerated pizza
exceeded $5 billion in 2014, while restaurant pizza
sales reached $41 billion, reports market researcher
Packaged Facts. The group forecasts the restaurant
pizza segment will have sales approaching $43 billion
by the end of 2015.
According to Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry
analyst for the NPD Group, in the year ending
November 2015, 5. 2 billion ready-to-eat pizza
servings were sold in the United States (individual
slices and whole pie purchases combined). Most
were sold by major pizza chains, but 4%—or 209
million servings—were sold by convenience stores.
While that number is relatively small, sales of
c-store pizza jumped 8%, 13% and 19%, for each of
the last three years, respectively.
“It’s probably coming from those c-store concepts
we call ‘food forward,’” Riggs said. “They are into more
prepared foods, higher quality and more variety.”
Pizza has long been an easy, convenient and
affordable meal, but staying on top of the business is
a challenge. “There are all kinds of business models,”
said Jack Cushman, corporate foodservice at CST
Brands Inc., which operates Nice N Easy Grocery
Shoppes in upstate New York. “There are the delivery
guys, like Dominos; the people who deliver and offer
sit-down, like Pizza Hut; people who just do sit down,
like Mellow Mushroom; and Mr. Gatti’s, which is an
entertainment model. We sell pizza whole and by the
slice, and that’s more of a New York City pizza [style].
“People think pizza is simple, but it’s not,” he
added. “You’ve got to take it seriously and have a
passion for it. It’s not just another category. That’s a
mistake people make.”
Keep It Fresh
QuikTrip of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a solid pizza
program but continues to roll out enhancements.
Last month, the retailer introduced a made-to-order
Carryout X-Large Pizza with 12 substantial slices.
Customers can choose from a pizza flavor on the QT
Kitchen menu or select favorite toppings.
For convenience, the new pizza’s ingenious
container is a perforated box that converts into four
separate pizza “plates.” The remaining parts refold
into a smaller pizza box for storing any leftovers.
“Not only do you have to make a good pizza,
you have to price it competitively,” said Mike
Pizza. Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty tasty, but when it’s at its best, there are few things that aste better. Every pizza provider wants to give customers that enjoyable pizza experience, and to keep up with the competition,
some convenience stores are serving up new pizza
tastes, along with a slice of technology.
In January, Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General
Stores launched a free mobile app that shows all
of Casey’s 1,900-plus locations, most of which
make fresh pizza onsite. The app features monthly
promotions, pizza specials, coupons and contests,
but more importantly, it allows customers to order
pizzas and subs for pickup or delivery. About 400 of
its stores provide pizza delivery, and that number
“Pizza is definitely a competitive product, and
the app is going to be another way for us to connect
with our customer,” said Bill Walljasper, senior
vice president and CFO of Casey’s. “We anticipate
increased pizza sales and increased add-on sales.”
“People think pizza is
simple, but it’s not. You’ve
got to take it seriously and
have a passion for it.”