Letter from the publisher

Normally, you will read my letter from the publisher in which I talk about the overall direction of the issue. This issue, I am going to just talk about one thing…the status and direction of our industry. After your editor-in-chief, Tom Boyles, and I read the latest Pizza Power 2005 report (see page 68 in the magazine), we became quite concerned. Although the pizza industry had a good year, it had a modest increase in sales of 2 percent while the restaurant industry as a whole once again outpaced us with an increase of 5.5 percent. It’s disappointing to see that our industry is significantly under-performing compared to the overall restaurant industry.

If only a small percentage of influential members of our industry decided upon a uniform marketing calendar or media campaign and really focused on pushing our industry into the forefront of the restaurant segment, we could realize the true potential of what we COULD be. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities, but there has to be a catalyst. PMQ would like to help initiate the first step and offer a framework to enlist and support creative and dynamic leadership directed at increasing the demand of pizza beyond what would naturally occur. We would like to help organize and promote a coordinated marketing effort that would rival that of the dairy industry (“Got Milk?”) or beef council (“Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner.”)… and possibly include these groups.We will start by holding the first strategy meeting to form the Pizza Marketing Council during the Summit on the Sea on board the Pizza Cruise in January (For more information, visit www.pizzacruise.com or email me at sg@pmq.com).

Pizza is a great value without having to deep discount. Pizza can be healthy. Why aren’t these or other more positive angles the marketing directions our industry has taken? Now is the time for leadership to emerge. Let’s join together and focus on organizing national campaigns to promote pizza. Let’s focus on expanding our customer base. Let’s focus on branding the pizza industry as the best choice for dining out over the burger, sandwich, chicken and taco guys. It’s time for everyone… pizzeria owners, chains, marketing directors, ad agencies, CEOs, distributors, and yes…ALL of the pizza media to bring their ideas, perspectives and resources forward. We have just successfully launched the first-ever national independent pizza promotion with the History Channel. We just had two one-hour specials on the Food Network. Both were missed opportunities to do more because there wasn’t a coordinated plan to leverage the benefits. We are a $30 billion industry. We have a product people love and we have the clout to influence media outlets and publicity in a positive way. Let’s use it.

We are making this invitation: We want you to help give birth to the Pizza Marketing Council. Join us for the Summit on the Sea during the Pizza Cruise in January and offer your ideas and advice. If you are interested in laying the groundwork for this landmark event, email me at sg@pmq.com or call at 662-234-5481 ext 123.