Pizza players optimistic about ’09

According to a news report from nrn.com, “Two of the largest pizza delivery companies, Domino’s Pizza Inc. and Papa John’s International Inc., put their best foot forward this week to close out a rough 2008 and project better days ahead for 2009.”

“With very different fourth-quarter results — Domino’s profit fell 32 percent and Papa John’s earnings rose 64 percent — both said sequentially improving sales trends and lower cheese prices could combine to help pizza operations turn the corner this year,” said the story. “The pizza segment, often described as volatile and promotion driven, was hit hard last year by increased costs for cheese, wheat and fuel, as well as declining customer traffic. Domino’s has worked to drive sales through new products like its $5 oven-baked sandwiches, while Papa John’s has carved out a higher-quality niche with premium meats and cheeses. Pizza Hut, franchised by Yum! Brands Inc., has added pasta dishes to its pizza offerings to expand menu choices.”

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