Pizza Industry Bringing in the Dough

“Pizza is a traditional bailout dinner for dorm-bound college students and worn-out working parents alike. It’s also big business. In places like Chicago and New York City it’s practically a religion, with devotees and disciples fervently debating sauces, flour types, crusts, toppings, and cooking techniques,” reported “During March Madness, pizzas fly off the shelves like hotcakes. (hot pies?)”

“Americans love their pizza and the numbers are there to back it up. Papa John’s International opened more than 320 restaurants during 2011. The company expects to add at least 240 new units this year, with roughly half of those new locations in North America. The chain’s steady growth has mirrored its steady sales: $1.1 billion in 2009 and 2010, increasing to $1.2 billion last year.”

“Meanwhile, national rival Domino’s Pizza has seen its sales increase from $1.4 billion in 2009 to $1.57 billion in 2010, and up to $1.65 billion last year. Pizza Hut brought in its fair share of YUM! Brands $12.6 billion in 2011 revenues and privately-held Little Caesar Enterprises is still doing well enough to keep Mike Ilitch from having to sell the Detroit Red Wings or the Detroit Tigers.”

“Smaller chains are showing signs of life as well. Chicago-based private equity firm Victory Park Capital led a group that acquired the Giordano’s pizza chain out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year for $61.6 million. It’s quickly gone from bust to boom for Chicago-based Giordano’s, as executives recently appointed by Victory Park plan to double the number of Giordano’s locations from 43 to 86 between now and 2015. The company is keen to expand outside of the Chicagoland area, especially to Midwestern college towns in Michigan and Wisconsin.”