Pizza Rules Fast Casual

What some thought was a passing trend 10 years ago has turned into a major sector of the pizza industry.

According to a recent article on Eater, pizza now reigns supreme as the leading fast casual restaurant model, representing 37% of all fast casual restaurants. This number is ahead of seafood fast casual at 25% and "healthy" at 21%.

Fast casual pizzeria operators have learned over the years that differentiation and delivery is important to their success, something they undoubtedly picked up from the independent pizzerias around them.

So what can independent pizzerias learn from their fast casual counterparts?

Here are a few takeaways we picked up about fast casual pizzerias from the Eater article:

1. Fast casuals offer quick, affordable, personal-size in-store pizzas.

2. They offer "wild, organic, creative, natural, high-quality" ingredients.

3. They get guests in and out quickly during a lunch rush.

4. Guests have a variety of options when it comes to crusts, sauces, and cheeses (including vegan).

5. They cater to regional preferences.

6. Through careful pre-measurement of ingredients, operators know approximately how much each pizza will cost them.

You don't have to be a fast casual pizzeria to offer a quick lunch, more topping options or regional pizzas. I visited a traditional pizzeria in Destin, Florida, that featured a notepad menu. Guests were invited to mark the crust, sauce, cheese and toppings they wanted on individual sheets, with a certain amount included in the price and extras for an added charge. I loved the interactivity of the menu and the ability to choose everything I wanted. I'm pretty sure it made things easier on the kitchen and waitstaff as well.