Today on This Week In Pizza: Super Bowl Pizzas for Troops; Chili's Enters Pizza Biz; and 38-Year-Old Pizza Order Video Goes Viral
Troops Get Super Bowl Pizza Party
Super Bowl Sunday is traditionally one of the biggest pizza nights in the U.S., but not so much in Afghanistan and Kuwait. This year, however, will be different as the non-profit group Pizzas 4 Patriots (pizzas4patriots.com) plans to ship 21,000 pies to American troops serving in those countries.
Retired Master Sergeant Mark Evans conceived of Pizzas 4 Patriots, now in its fifth year, and has already sent more than 122,000 pizzas to U.S. soldiers. Evans' goal this year is to feed every soldier in Afghanistan and Kuwait. The Chicago-style deep-dish pies will be shipped out from Illinois-based Great Kitchens by DHL Express. Pizzas 4 Patriots continues to welcome donations and assistance from other pizzerias and industry suppliers looking to support the cause.
Video of First Computerized Pizza Order Goes Viral
Thirty-eight years after a Michigan State University professor used a computer to order a pizza over the telephone, a video of the groundbreaking event has gone viral on the Internet.
According to MLive.com, Donald Sherman, whose face was paralyzed by a rare congenital disorder, used the world's first artificial language computer program-which allowed Sherman to express himself through a computer-generated voice-to order the pie. The video, taken in 1974, shows Sherman and his colleagues inside Michigan State's computer center as multiple pizza parlors hung up on him. Finally, one took the robotic voice seriously and Sherman got to place his historic order: a pizza with pepperoni, mushroom and sausage.
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Total Restaurant Count Increases in 2012
The total number of restaurants in the U.S. increased by 4,442 units in 2012 as compared to the previous year, according to a report by the NPD Group, a global information company.
The total number of U.S. restaurants is now 616,008, a 7% increase over 2011's numbers, according to the report, which tallies commercial restaurant locations in the spring and fall each year. Most of the increase in units were in the quick-serve category, which added 4,037 units.
It had to happen sooner or later-Chili's has announced that it will begin serving pizza in all of its 823 company-owned restaurants in March, the Dallas News reports.
According to Chili's parent company, Brinker International, the chain is outfitting its restaurants' kitchens with impinger ovens to handle the new menu item. The roll-out follows tests in 41 locations. The new menu will feature a pepperoni pie, a taco pizza and a Southwestern with onion and bell pepper.