Now is not a good time to own a restaurant, but pizzeria owners are faring better than most in the foodservice sector, according to market research company Sense360.
The National Restaurant Association has predicted the coronavirus pandemic will hurt the restaurant industry to the tune of $240 billion in lost sales through the end of 2020. Year-over-year sales are already down by 33 percent for fast-casual eateries and 20 percent for quick-service restaurants, Sense360 has found.
Pizzerias, on the other hand, have only seen a 5 percent drop in year-over-year sales. Meanwhile, the pizza industry is also experiencing a larger per-dollar order increase compared to quick-service and fast-casual competitors—an 11 percent jump for pizza vs. 9 percent for quick service and 8 percent for fast-casual, according to QSR Magazine.
It helps, of course, that the majority of pizza shops were already set up for delivery, carryout and online ordering prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It also helps that pizza is one of the ultimate comfort foods, noted Fred LeFranc of Results Thru Strategy.
“There’s no doubt that when people are under stress, they seek comfort of some sort,” LeFranc told Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN). “If the food travels well, the price is good and it satisfies the urge, people are going to go for it [even during a pandemic]. That’s why casual and fine-dining restaurants are struggling so much. It’s hard to think of your beautifully plated steak showing up in a takeout box.”
According to a Datassential survey, 63 percent of consumers said they sought out pizza during the pandemic – comfort food, indeed.
Some states have already started allowing restaurants to resume offering dine-in services, but it remains to be seen if customers are ready to take that risk.