Pizza Profits from Pandemic

Pizza sales and pizza-chain hiring have both been soaring during the pandemic, reported (July 27).

When the pandemic began in March, Domino’s said it was hiring back 10,000 workers, and now, Papa John’s announced it will be doing the same on top of the recently added 20,000 employees.

Pizza chains across the board experienced an increase in demand as more consumers stayed at home, reported CNBC (July 27).

During the three months ended June 28, Papa John’s North American same-store sales went up 28%, according to its preliminary estimates. Shares of Papa John’s, which has a market value of $3.1 billion, have risen 48% so far this year.

Domino’s reported U.S. comparable sales rose 16% for its fiscal second quarter that ended June 14, compared to just a 3% gain in the same 2019 period. “The second quarter marked a rather unprecedented acceleration for food delivery in the U.S., and we were certainly no exception,” Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison said on an investor call.

As for why pizza is doing so well, QSR Magazine noted that “pizza brands came into the crisis, on a broad scale, already equipped to deliver and fulfill carryout service. No pivot needed. It was ingrained not just in their operations, either, but in core consumer behavior as well. The latter factor might just be the more critical, given the scale of restaurants catching up and the sales gap that still remains.”

Sixty-three percent of consumers sought out pizza during the pandemic, according to Datassential, while Pizza Magazine reported that 83% of consumers were already eating pizza at least once per month prior to stay-at-home orders.

In DoorDash’s Deep Dish food trends report, make-your-own pizza was the number four most ordered item of the past six months, a trend that the company expects to continue into the second half of 2020. The item was particularly popular on the West Coast.

Pizza was also found to be one of the top foods Americans order because it is “Instagram-worthy.”

Additionally, Pizza Magazine reported that more pizza stores opened in 2019, with the industry totaling 77,724 units—up 1.3% over 2018. Independent restaurants lead in total number of units nationwide, but that is shrinking. Chains saw units rise to 36,151 from 34,967 in 2018, while independents lost ground with 41,573 stores versus 42,026 a year earlier.

Pizza has become so popular that Popeyes is trying to lure customers away from it with a new social media campaign called “Popeyes instead of pizza,” reported Fox Business (July 28).

The chicken chain is encouraging its customers to snag a family member’s phone and autocorrect the word “pizza” with “Popeyes instead of pizza” to ensure Popeyes rises as the top choice over pizza when it comes to deciding what’s for dinner. If customers screenshot the autocorrected text and post it to social media with the #LoveThatAutocorrect, they will receive a $5 discount on their next meal.