Pizza Chains Succeed in Slow Economy Through Focused Positioning, Reports Technomic

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite flat sales in 2008 and into 2009 throughout most of the limited-service pizza industry, some chain operators are finding success through a strategy of focused positioning, says foodservice industry consultant Technomic. The fastest growing chains are characterized by strong differentiation. The new 2009 Technomic Top 100 Limited-Service Pizza Chains Restaurant Report analyzes and profiles the leading chains against the background of industry trends and metrics.

“Most successful pizza chains have staked out highly-defined market positions that allow them to stand out from the pack,” says Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic. “The key to growth in the slow economy will be differentiation. Top players will have to understand the competition, successfully identify emerging trends, and find and execute a strong position in the market.”

Some trends, chains and products examined in this report include:

  • Value: Little Caesar’s $5 Hot-N-Ready
  • Healthy: Pizza Fusion, “Fresh, Organic and Earth Friendly”
  • Complimentary catering: Pizza Hut’s Pasta to Go
  • Take N’ Bake: Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Pizza; Homemade Pizza Company
  • Quality product/experience: ZPizza; RedBrick Pizza
  • Ethnic consumer focus: Pizza Patron’s Pizza for Pesos
  • All-you-can-eat buffet: Cici’s Pizza

The 2009 Technomic Top 100 Limited-Service Pizza Chains Restaurant Report was designed to help restaurant operators and suppliers identify top performers, analyze their performance in sales and units, and better understand the industry’s dynamics and current trends. Comprehensive appendices list the Top 100 LSR Pizza chains alphabetically, rank them by sales and units, and profile individual chains.

Other findings include:

  • The Top 100 pizza chains had U.S. sales of $18.8 billion in 2008, up 2 percent over 2007. The total limited-service pizza industry grossed $29 billion, with growth comparable to the total restaurant industry at 0.4 percent.
  • Pizza Hut led the Top 100 chains with $5.3 billion in U.S. sales in 2008, up 3.9 percent over 2007; it also registered unit growth of 1.3 percent. Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s followed with $3 billion and $2 billion in sales respectively. Papa John’s grew sales by slightly more than 3 percent, while Domino’s netted a decrease in sales of almost 5 percent in 2008.
  • Within the limited-service pizza segment, four out of the 10 fastest growing chains by percentage of sales growth were in the fast-casual subsegment: Straw Hat Pizza, ZPizza, Puccini’s Smiling Teeth Pizza and RedBrick Pizza.

To purchase or learn more about the 2009 Technomic Top 100 Limited-Service Pizza Chains Restaurant Report, please visit or contact one of the individuals listed below.

About Technomic, Inc.

Technomic provides clients throughout North America with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.