CHICAGO - A new report from Mintel reveals that pizza restaurants have been performing well, attracting customers with value offerings that it predicts will provide a 2.9% sales lift in 2012.
"The competitive nature of the pizza industry keeps the leading companies on their toes," said Eric Giandelone, foodservice director at Mintel. "Menu innovation, thoughtful pricing and national promotions aimed at value have been driving sales in the past several years and are expected to continue in the future."
During the past three years in an effort to remain competitive, pizza prices remained steady, up only 1%. Compensating for those low prices, restaurants have increased the prices of other offerings, such as vegetables (up 13%), desserts (up 12%), pasta (up 11%), and salads (up 10%).
Additionally, restaurants have been adding more healthful items to their menus, a strategy that Mintel said will serve chain restaurants well when they are required to show calorie counts on their menus.
For consumers, convenience, price, service, and variety are the four key factors in choosing a pizza restaurant, while ready-to-made pizza and/or pizza buffets are particularly enticing to lower-income patrons and those with children.
Thin is in, with 38% of respondents preferring thin crust, while 20% favor pan-style and 19% opt for thick crust.
Finally, pepperoni is tops among toppings, with 67% of respondents identifying it as their favorite add-on. Mushrooms, sausage and onions trailed with 53%, 53%, and 41% of consumer approval, respectively.