After reading PMQ’s Pizza Power Report 2024, Ric Gruber, owner of Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza and other concepts, took to his blog at and shared his thoughts on December 20. With his permission, PMQ is republishing that blog post below. Click here to read the original blog post.

Here’s the thing: I debated about whether or not to even share this info because I prefer flying under the radar. That being said, it’s not just about me, it’s about the amazing team we have built at the Billy Bricks Restaurant Group, and much of what will follow below is about the incredible work we have done as a team, and that work should be showcased. As the CEO and a member of the founding family, I’m incredibly grateful for all their effort and dedication to our brand and its growth. This is for them.

The outline below follows the table of contents from the most recent PMQ Pizza Power Report 2024 edition and is based solely upon the PMQ Power Rankings.

Related: Click here to start reading the 2024 Pizza Power Report.

High on AI and Making Peace with Robots?
At Billy Bricks, innovation and adaptation are woven into our DNA and core values. However, and I can’t be any more clear about this, there is no substitute for human pizza makers—at this time—that make a pizza that will create a raving fan. While we are integrating AI into our operations for things like ordering and content creation, conversely, we are leaning into (at least for now) our 2024 campaign of focusing heavily on “Real People. Real Food. Real Fast.”

By Units and Sales
Names to watch and five contenders? I know I’m biased, but I’d say an eye—or two or three—should be kept on us…or don’t. The element of surprise can be fun too. So where does Billy Bricks rank? How are we “stacking” up? Firmly in the middle of some seriously great companies at $1.097 million.

Like most of the other brands listed, we have some units out-performing that average and some under it, but our average per-unit sales puts us, again, firmly in the middle of some seriously great company.

These sales are also based on 2022 sales to compare apples to apples with the figures used by PMQ for their rankings.

Also, what is going on at Mellow Mushroom? Going to have to check them out!

This photo shows a catered spread from Billy Bricks at a wedding, with a group of well-dressed men and women adding pizzas from the table to their plates.

Billy Bricks does a thriving business catering to weddings. (Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza / Instagram)

Fastest Growing Ingredients
Sauces and Flavors
We believe this [list] tracks as we have seen our Honey Love pizza rise to the top 4 in our pizza sales and is the most frequently requested specialty pizza for wedding catering.

Also, we’re not surprised by the rise of tandoori. This has been on our radar for social content as well as for a future promo pizza; see my prior post here from back in October of this year. I could feel this percolating in the pizza atmosphere based on my analysis of Google search trends.

We have a large following for our plant-based options as well as vegan cheese. However, it’s interesting to see the rise of spicy salami and soppressata. Our Honey Love originally featured soppressata, but we found a lack of customer knowledge on what it was and therefore an avoidance on ordering. When we swapped pepperoni in for soppressata, we saw our sales of that specialty pizza explode.

A fun category indeed, as the viral nature of the pickle pizzas this year has probably been the biggest factor in the rise of dill pickles. We even “played along,” with one of our seasonal pizzas being the Pickle RicK pizza. What do you think of ours?

I am excited to consider ways to put Calabrian chili to use. We have carried it in the past from Sogno Toscano and really enjoyed it.

Never been one to enjoy fruit on pizza too much, unless it’s a dessert pizza. That being said, we want our guests to eat pizza as their entree and have gotten away from pushing dessert pizzas. With the rise of Moo Joes Ice Cream at Billy Bricks, it seems like a lot of effort for very little return. We love pizza, but we’re not eating pizza after we just ate pizza, right?

This photo shows members of Billy Bricks' staff, including two women and two men, all wearing black logoed t-shirts

Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza / Instagram

Loyalty and Community
We agree that, as a company, engaging our staff is the best way to increase our sales and profitability. Our brand team (yes, we have a team just focusing on brand) is working on staff features, a staff-picks menu and recommendations, and turning our staff into micro-influencers at each location. This has created a much more engaging culture within our organization and a brand that our entire team is now understanding and connecting with in a real way. And that brand connection allows them to organically share their stories, experience and food with the world.

In addition to community building, as a company, we are reimagining our loyalty program to be even more engaging with our community and as a tool to build it larger and better than ever.

Most Popular Ingredients
Of the 60 most popular ingredients, we carry 53 of these topping and sauce options at Billy Bricks! It’s no wonder the build-your-own pizza (BYO) is our No. 1 selling item option for 17 years and counting.

Top Pizza Websites (By Total Traffic) & Digital Dominance (By Per-Unit Web Traffic)
While it’s no surprise, given our size and budget, that we aren’t in the conversation with the major chains that have hundreds and sometimes thousands of units, Billy Bricks is creeping close to the top 25 but likely would land itself somewhere in the top 50.

On average, our site(s) for the total Billy Bricks operation average 75k site visits per month, and we actually utilize Cloudflare to limit our traffic to highly relevant and localized traffic for safety, security and likelihood of being an actual Billy Bricks customer.

We currently have six open and operating brick-and-mortar locations as well as our food truck, or seven in total, and one new location that is yet to fully open but which would bring our count to eight units. 75,000/8 = 9.375k in monthly traffic per unit. That puts us firmly on PMQ’s top 25 and would actually rank us between the numbers 15 and 16 listed pizzerias in the entire United States. Crazy, right?

Did we mention we have over 13 million views and over 1 million likes on TikTok? All organic, zero paid spend.

It seems to me we are really hitting our stride and coming into our own. At the age of 18, Billy Bricks may just be all grown up and ready to leave the house, to venture out into the great big world. You could always join the family too!

Ric Gruber owns Billy Bricks Restaurant Group, the parent company of Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza and Zza Baby as well as other non-pizza concepts.

Pizza News, Pizzerias