New survey says pizza is a staple

CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm has released the latest data set around one of America’s favorite foods: pizza. In the USA, pizzerias and Italian restaurant retail sales account for more than $62 Billion a year, reflecting the country’s preference for the popular item. As of March 2014, CHD Expert’s database has records of more than 98,000 restaurants in the USA that fall into the Pizza, Pasta & Italian Simplified Menu Type, with more than 70,000 of those restaurant operators being sub-classified in the Pizzeria Menu Type.

CHD Expert finds that pizza meals average at $12.29 per check, with 87 percent of checks carried by pizzerias totaling less than $10. Considering annual sales volume, 57 percent of the approximate 70,000 pizzerias in the USA report annual sales ranging between $500,000 – $1 Million. Additionally there are a significant amount of small local pizza joints across the nation, with approximately 38 percent of pizzerias reporting annual sales that are less than $500,000. Only 3.9 percent of pizzerias generate more than $1 Million in annual revenue. Where do you think Payton Manning’s Papa John’s franchises fall on the list?

The Denver Broncos star quarterback is not only a celebrity spokes person for Papa John’s, but Mr. Manning has also invested in 21 different Papa John’s franchises around the Denver area. According to CHD Expert’s FIND (Foodservice Industry National Database) there are 52 Papa John’s in the state of Colorado, 38 of which have been in business for more than 5 years. Recently, since January 1 2014, there have been 4 new Papa John’s that have opened in the Denver area, with new locations in Aurora, Lakewood, Denver and Boulder. CHD Expert FIND indicates that each of the Papa John’s in Colorado fall into the 57 percentile, generating between $500,000 and $1Million in annual sales.

While the national demand for pizza supports thousands of pizzerias that sell pies and slices, there are also thousands of Italian restaurants that serve the popular menu item, along with other more diverse Italian dishes. These establishments show higher and more evenly distributed sales figures. Around 39 percent of the approximate 29,000 Italian restaurants in the USA report less than $500,000 in annual sales, whereas 37 percent of Italian Restaurants sell between $500,000 and $1 Million annually. 24 percent of Italian restaurants bring in more than $1 million in sales a year.

Most avid or even casual pizza eaters will have a preference as to their choice of establishments, whether they’re tried and true large chains like Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, or small corner pizzerias where one can grab a slice on the go. CHD Expert’s data reports that 53 percent of all pizzerias in the US are independent (vs. 47 percent of chain establishments), showing an almost even divide between the two preferences. Italian restaurants, however, consist of primarily independent establishments, with approximately 84 percent being independently owned.

Of the nearly 100,000 places across the United States where you can eat pizza, about 27 percent of them are considered Full Service Restaurants (FSRs). At an FSR, table service is provided and the bill is paid after you eat. This is different from Limited Service Restaurants (LSRs) where ordering and paying is generally done at the counter before food is served. And while a chain restaurant can fall into either category, chains are much more prevalent in the LSR segment. To be considered a “chain” a restaurant brand must have more than 9 locations in operation.

While there are many chain LSR restaurants that serve pizza, there is only one FSR chain in the United States that falls into the Italian Pizzeria Menu Type, and that is Olive Garden. The Full Service Italian Chain Restaurant has more than 800 locations in operation across the United States. And while they have not yet to open a restaurant in Hawaii, there are now two Olive Gardens in the sate of Alaska, both in Anchorage.

Whether it’s from an independent pizzeria or a chain restaurant, certain US states are unquestionably more devoted to their pizza than others. The state of California leads the nation in the number of restaurants where you can buy pizza, with approximately 9,500 restaurants that sell pizza, followed closely by New York (with its famous New York style pizza) at approximately 8,400 restaurants.

To see a visual representation of the Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant landscape, with the top 10 most pizza hungry states, CHD Expert has created a complementary Pizza Industry Infographic, available for download.

With the 30th Annual Pizza Expo 2014 just around the corner, CHD Expert is excited to share its latest evaluation of the pizza market landscape with all of the operators, distributors and vendors that’ll be gathering in Las Vegas for the occasion. “Pizza is one of America’s most popular food options, and an important player in the foodservice industry,” said Brad Bloom, Director of Sales at CHD Expert North America. “I’m very excited to return to Las Vegas for this year’s Pizza Expo, and look forward to sharing industry insights and a slice or two with fellow foodservice colleagues.”

To obtain detailed information on any foodservice market or to schedule a time to meet during the 2014 Las Vegas Pizza Expo please contact Brad Bloom:

About CHD North America 

CHD Expert is the worldwide leader in collecting, managing and analyzing data for the Away-from-Home Global Foodservice Market. For more than 10 years CHD Expert has been dedicated to support Foodservice channel members in providing a global vision and an in-depth understanding of the industry (in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific).

Our objective is to support food service providers in their sales and marketing strategies by providing the most comprehensive and accurate foodservice census, housing operator intelligence for more than 5 million operators worldwide. For additional information, please visit or call 1-888-CHD-0154.