A recent study by Merchant Centric, published by QSR magazine, found that take-and-bake chain Papa Murphy’s beat the competition in terms of guest satisfaction in 2022. The 1,168-unit chain, based in Vancouver, Washington, finished sixth overall and highest among the pizza brands included in the report.
The research took into consideration nine million online reviews of quick-service restaurant brands in the QSR Top 50, or the largest quick-service chains in the U.S. Out of those 50 brands, six of them are in the pizza business: Domino’s (6,686 U.S. units), Pizza Hut (6,561), Papa Johns (3,376), Little Caesars (4,173), Marco’s Pizza (1,067), and Papa Murphy’s.
Merchant Centric evaluated each brand based on several metrics that were broken down into four categories: food, staff dedication, price/value, and guest loyalty and referral. In-N-Out Burger claimed the top spot, scoring especially high marks in terms of staff dedication (5.3) and price/value (5.00). Marco’s Pizza was the only other pizza brand that finished in the top tier of the report, ranking eleventh, but suffered from a subpar “staff dedication” rating (0.95).
Other pizza brands did not fare as well as Papa Murphy’s and Marco’s Pizza. Pizza Hut (19th) was the only other chain to finish in the top half of the rankings. Little Caesars (38th), Domino’s (42nd), and Papa Johns (44th) rounded out the top players in the pizza segment.
Merchant Centric identified some general trends throughout the report. Overall, staffing levels had risen when compared to 2021, while perceptions of price and value had dropped precipitously. The report specifically identified value as an area where pizza players lapped the competition: “Pizza brands continued to have very high price/value scores… indicating they receive twice as much praise than complaints, with standouts including Little Caesars, Marco’s Pizza and Papa Murphy’s,” the report said.
On the other hand, pizza chains suffered from low staff dedication scores. While the overall “staff dedication” average across the fifty brands was 1.17, the six pizza chains averaged a score of 0.79. This may identify an opportunity where independent pizzerias can outperform the large chains: A little TLC with guests can go a long way in terms of separating from the competition.