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US Pizza Restaurants market report

"Pizza is a segment where innovation is consistently occurring from a menu and service perspective. While the segment is becoming more competitive and consumers value a premium pizza experience, there is an interest in menu items that go beyond the pizza, with a focus on healthier sides and appealing non-pizza items on the menu."

- Diana Kelter, Foodservice Analyst

This report will cover the following areas:

  • A lack of loyalty among pizza chains
  • Consumers crave healthy sides

The purpose of this Report is to analyze consumers’ attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions surrounding pizza restaurants. The report will also examine how interest in pizza restaurants varies across demographics, generations and regions.

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following restaurant definitions:

  • QSRs (quick service restaurants) – Used interchangeably with “fast food,” QSRs specialize in inexpensive, convenient meals. There is no waiter service, no alcoholic beverages, and low price point. Examples include: McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut.
  • Fast casual restaurants – These establishments are characterized by a higher price point than QSRs though not as high as full service restaurants. Fast casuals do not offer waiter service and may or may not serve alcohol. Examples include: Chipotle, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, and Blaze Pizza.
  • LSRs (limited service restaurants) – These establishments provide food services where customers usually select and order items and pay before dining. Food/drink may be consumed on the premises, offered as carryout, or delivered to the customer’s location. These may also sell alcoholic beverages. LSRs include both QSRs and fast casual restaurants.
  • FSRs (full service restaurants) – These establishments have waiter/waitress service in which customers order and are served while seated. These may also sell alcoholic beverages and offer carryout services and include the restaurant segments: midscale, casual dining, and fine dining.
  • C-stores (convenience stores) – Convenience stores are establishments that retail a limited line of goods, primarily groceries and ready-to-consume beverages and snacks, in easily accessible locations. The majority of convenience stores also sell motor fuel.
  • MMI (Mintel Menu Insights) - MMI is a quarterly census of restaurant brands covering all commercial segments and US census regions/divisions, with trends going back to Q2 2004. MMI tracks more than 30 unique menu item attributes including flavor, preparation (physical and/or cooking), menu type/section, cuisine type, menu claims, etc., grouped into six major categories from macro restaurant, menu, plate, item dish, and beverage to micro ingredient detail.
  • MMI Legacy Data – This data is reflective of the historic MMI database prior to any expansion data being incorporated. This data can be trended back to 2004 and is representative of 580 restaurants and 3,000 menus.
  • MMI Expansion Data - This data is reflective of the MMI expansion that increased restaurant coverage from 580 to 1,500 and increased menu collection from 3,000 to 8,000. The expansion data incorporates expanded c-store coverage, including data for hot food, cold prepacked food, breakfast menus, and all self-serve beverage options.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • A third of consumers visit just one pizza restaurant type
            • Figure 1: Repertoire analysis, pizza restaurant visitation, September 2017
          • Frozen pizza innovates
            • The opportunities
              • 89% of consumers order pizza from restaurants
                • Figure 2: Pizza restaurant visitation, September 2017
              • The crust is critical
                • Figure 3: Important pizza restaurant factors, September 2017
              • Parents are ordering pizza delivery more often
                • Figure 4: Changes in pizza delivery usage, September 2017
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Top pizza chains are still growing
                  • Frozen pizza emulates restaurant pizza
                  • Market Breakdown

                    • Domino’s will soon be the largest pizza player
                      • Figure 5: Share of top 100 restaurant chain sales, 2016
                      • Figure 6: share of top pizza chain sales, among top 200 restaurant chains, 2016
                      • Figure 7: Change of sales of top pizza chains from one year prior
                  • Market Perspective

                    • Any cuisine is available via third party restaurant delivery
                      • Figure 8: Restaurant delivery usage in the past three months, June 2016
                    • Retail pizza market slows yet still poses a major threat
                      • Pizza goes free-from
                        • Figure 9: Pizza launches, by select claims, 2013-17*
                      • Pizzas highlight restaurant quality cues
                      • Market Factors

                        • Nearly a third of HHs purchase gluten-free foods
                          • Figure 10: Consumption of gluten-free foods, any consumption, 2013-16
                        • Wing prices soar
                          • Figure 11: Changes in food price indexes, 2016 average versus 207 averages
                        • Sports events are a win for pizza restaurants
                          • Figure 12: Behaviors of sports fans, by gender and age, July 2017
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • Domino’s, Blaze, and c-stores experience growth
                          • Pizza Hut may lose its #1 spot
                            • Operators branch into unique pizza toppings
                            • What’s Working?

                              • C-stores become major pizza players
                                • Figure 13: Pizza sales at c-stores, 2014-15
                                • Figure 14: Change of pizza incidence and penetration by restaurant segment, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                • Figure 15: C-store pizza examples
                                • Figure 16: C-store pizza offerings interest, December 2016
                              • Domino’s domination
                                • Blazing past the competition
                                  • Fast franchising fuels Marco’s
                                  • What’s Struggling?

                                    • Fast casual isn’t necessarily a recipe for success
                                      • Pizza Hut drags down YUM!
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Changing chains
                                          • Flower power
                                            • Tech continues to shape the pizza market
                                              • Pizza restaurants/chains to watch
                                              • ePerformance

                                                • What is ePerformance?
                                                  • Battle for the holidays
                                                    • Figure 17: National cheese pizza day email examples
                                                    • Figure 18: Eclipse email examples
                                                    • Figure 19: Back to school email examples
                                                  • Papa John’s appeals to local sports consumers
                                                    • Figure 20: Papa John’s targeted sports emails
                                                    • Figure 21: Papa John’s company email, August 8th, 2017
                                                  • Domino’s has high cross-utilization
                                                    • Figure 22: Overlap analysis of Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, and Papa John’s Pizza email recipients
                                                • Mintel Menu Insights

                                                  • Specialty pizzas grow; flatbreads still trending
                                                    • Figure 23: Change in incidence of top 15 pizza types on menus, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                  • Menus highlight quality claims
                                                    • Growth in international pizza types
                                                      • Figure 24: International influenced/fusion pizza examples, Q2 2017
                                                    • Opportunity for cheeses outside of mozzarella
                                                      • Figure 25: Change in incidence of top 10 pizza cheeses on menus, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                    • Speciality sausages can spice up a menu
                                                      • Figure 26: Change in incidence of top 10 pizza meats on menus, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                    • Operators go traditional or gluten-free with their pizza crusts
                                                      • Some like it hot
                                                        • Figure 27: Change in incidence of top 10 pizza sauces on menus, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                      • Pizza flavor matrix
                                                          • Figure 28: Flavor matrix: top 20 pizza ingredient flavors, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                          • Figure 29: Flavor matrix: top 21-40 pizza ingredient flavors, Q2 2015 – Q2 2017
                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Third party delivery may not be a huge threat
                                                          • Crust, toppings, and speed are most important to consumers
                                                            • Consumers choose pizza restaurants for fun occasions
                                                            • Pizza Restaurant Visitation

                                                              • Pizza restaurant visitation is high
                                                                • Figure 30: Pizza restaurant visitation, September 2017
                                                              • Young consumers value delivery, low prices
                                                                • Figure 31: Pizza restaurant visitation, by generations, September 2017
                                                                • Figure 32: Pizza restaurant visitation, by generations and Hispanic origin, September 2017
                                                              • Parents value convenient pizza segments
                                                                • Figure 33: Pizza restaurant visitation, by parents and age, September 2017
                                                              • Pizza chain visitation by teens and kids
                                                                • Figure 34: Teen LSR pizza restaurant visitation, any visitation, 2013-17
                                                                • Figure 35: Kid LSR pizza restaurant visitation, any visitation, 2013-17
                                                              • A third of consumers visit only one pizza restaurant type
                                                                • Figure 36: Repertoire analysis, pizza restaurant visitation, September 2017
                                                                • Figure 37: Pizza segment visitation among those who visit just one segment type, September 2017
                                                                • Figure 38: Repertoire analysis, pizza restaurant visitation, three or more pizza segments, by demographics, September 2017
                                                              • Pizza restaurant cross utilization
                                                                • Figure 39: Pizza restaurant cross utilization, September 2017
                                                            • Changes in Delivery Usage

                                                              • Delivery usage is stagnant
                                                                • Figure 40: Changes in pizza delivery usage, September 2017
                                                              • Parents drive delivery usage
                                                                • Figure 41: Changes in pizza delivery usage, by select demographics, September 2017
                                                            • Reasons for Reduced Delivery Usage

                                                              • Third party delivery isn’t cutting into pizza sales
                                                                • Figure 42: Reasons for ordering pizza delivery less often, September 2017
                                                            • Important Pizza Restaurant Factors

                                                              • It’s all about the crust
                                                                • Figure 43: Important pizza restaurant factors, September 2017
                                                              • Young consumers have a need for speed
                                                                • Figure 44: Important pizza restaurant factors, any importance, by generation, September 2017
                                                            • Pizza Deep Dive: Crusts

                                                              • Thin crust beats out other styles
                                                                • Figure 45: Pizza crust appeal, September 2017
                                                                • Figure 46: Pizza crust appeal, by age, September 2017
                                                              • Crust TURF analysis
                                                                • Figure 47: TURF analysis: pizza crusts, September 2017
                                                            • Pizza Deep Dive: Cheeses

                                                              • Operators can expand their cheese selection
                                                                • Figure 48: Pizza cheese appeal, September 2017
                                                                • Figure 49: Pizza cheese appeal, by age, September 2017
                                                              • Cheese TURF analysis
                                                                • Figure 50: TURF analysis: pizza cheese appeal, September 2017
                                                            • Pizza Deep Dive: Sauces

                                                              • Opportunity for multiple sauce options
                                                                • Figure 51: Pizza sauce appeal, September 2017
                                                              • Men are interested in specialty sauces
                                                                • Figure 52: Pizza sauce appeal, by gender, September 2017
                                                              • Healthful sauces may appeal to older consumers
                                                                • Figure 53: Pizza sauce appeal, by age, September 2017
                                                              • Sauce TURF analysis
                                                                • Figure 54: TURF analysis: pizza sauce, September 2017
                                                            • Pizza Deep Dive: Meats

                                                              • Provide unique versions of popular meats
                                                                • Figure 55: Pizza meats appeal, September 2017
                                                              • A meat-heavy pizza appeals to certain consumers
                                                                • Figure 56: Pizza meats appeal, by meat important factor, September 2017
                                                              • Meat TURF analysis
                                                                • Figure 57: TURF analysis: pizza meats, September 2017
                                                            • Pizza Restaurant Ancillary Menu Item Interest

                                                              • Give them bread
                                                                • Figure 58: Pizza restaurant other menu item interest, September 2017
                                                              • Parents want supplemental entrée options
                                                                • Figure 59: Pizza restaurant other menu item interest, by parents and age, September 2017
                                                              • Non-pizza items can attract specific consumer groups
                                                                • Figure 60: Pizza restaurant other menu item interest, by gender and age, September 2017
                                                            • Restaurant Pizza vs. Frozen Pizza Occasions

                                                              • Consumers turn to restaurant pizza for many occasions
                                                                • Figure 61: Restaurant pizza vs frozen pizza occasions, September 2017
                                                              • Late night promotions appeal to younger consumers
                                                                • Figure 62: Restaurant pizza occasions, by generations, September 2017
                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                              • Data sources
                                                                • Sales data
                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                        • Terms
                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                          • TURF Methodology
                                                                            • What is Purchase Intelligence?