Today on This Week in Pizza: Delivery Boy Rescues Pets from House Fire; Sbarro Plans Standalone Locations; and Elderly Man Creates To-Go Ruckus
Frozen Pizza Market Surges in Wisconsin
A surge in Wisconsin's gourmet frozen-pizza market could represent a growing trend across the U.S., as private labels and corporate giants alike become an industry force.
As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Wisconsin-made pizza companies are filling up freezers in grocery and convenience stores around the state. These include Tombstone, Jack's, Moke's, LeRoy Meats, OvenWorks, Emil's, Lebby's, Dino's, Mama Mia's, Zimm's, Park Plaza Pizza and Palermo's. According to Packaged Facts, frozen pizzas accounted for $4.9 billion of the total $40 billion in U.S. pizza sales last year. Collectively, private-label frozen pizza makers generated $332 million in sales nationally in 2011, according to Grocery Headquarters. Nestle-owned DiGiorno had $722 million in sales that same year while Red Baron had $263 million.
Quick-serve chain Sbarro, best-known for its mall and airport locations, plans to add 10 standalone stores in 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The chain saw a boost in sales and customer traffic after overhauling its recipe in October, and Chief Executive Jim Greco told the WSJ that the company hopes to better compete with chains that position themselves as a step above fast food, such as Panera Bread Company and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Expansion is also planned in India, Canada, Colombia and Peru.
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Elderly Man Crashes Car into Pizzeria, Orders Pie
After crashing his Honda Fit through a pizzeria's storefront in Lincoln, Nebraska, last week, the elderly driver calmly looked around and, while still trapped in his car, ordered a pizza.
As JournalStar.com reports, the man, who said his foot got stuck on the gas pedal, was taken to the hospital, although no information on his condition was given. The pizzeria, Valentino's, didn't suffer any structural damage, and no one else was injured. According to one witness, the driver "seemed very calm and collected" through out the ordeal. "He acted like he drove through Valentino's every day." Unfortunately, the man never did get his pizza.
Patxi's Settles Complaint Over Healthcare Coverage
San Francisco pizzeria Patxi's Chicago Pizza will pony up $320,000 to settle a complaint from city officials that the chain failed to abide by San Francisco's healthcare law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
A city investigation found that Patxi's had been collecting a 4% surcharge from its customers to cover the costs of the healthcare law, but the money wasn't actually going to that purpose. Under terms of the settlement, Patxi's will increase by about $100,000 the amount it spends on employee health care this year. It also will distribute $205,000 among 115 current and former employees who were eligible for-but did not receive-health care benefits between 2009 and 2011. In a news release, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that, due to the way the chain resolved the dispute, "I am perfectly comfortable to continue being a loyal Patxi's customer."