The 2004 pizza census

Thanks to the 488 respondents to this questionnaire, who took part anonymously and who each received a complete copy of the results of this survey. Unfortunately, we can't print the entire results of this report because it wouldn't be fair to those who took the time to participate. We hope to encourage more of our readers to participate in next year's survey and share the wealth of information we are collecting. The next survey will be conducted during the month of September this year.

Want to know what real pizza operators are thinking? GMA Research recently completed 2004 Pizza Industry Census and has collected statistics on the views of 488 respondents.

According to the research, pizza operators are confident and doing well despite a relatively bad year for pizza. Of those responding, 53 percent said sales were increasing, 28 percent reported no change, while 19 percent said they saw sales decreasing. Overall, the final consensus was almost an even split as to whether 9/11 forced a decline in sales, but the most interesting statistic was the answer of 14.3 percent of those pizza operators who reported they weren't in business at the time. This, of course, means there are a lot more new operators in this business that many of us might have guessed.

How are consumers purchasing pizza? Delivered? Take-out? Dine-in? Here's the answer: Delivery 35 percent; take-out 30 percent; dine-in 29 percent; take-and-bake 4 percent; catering 3 percent.

Respondents reported the areas of highest growth during the last year were delivery with a 36 percent increase, take-out with a 35 percent increase and dine-in with a 26 percent increase.

This one is interesting. The most surprising response was to the question regarding the kind of pizza that operators would be interested in having on their menus if they had a good recipe. The answer was "low-carb" with 52 percent indicating enthusiastic interest.

Pizza operators are not unlike the general population in that 80 percent of responding pizza operators use the Internet frequently, 10 percent seldom use it and 9 percent never use it. The survey also revealed that 19 percent of you use email to keep in touch with your customers. Your favorite marketing strategies were, predictably, direct mail followed by flyers and doorhangers.

What is your most popular seller besides pizza? In the order of popularity: sandwiches/subs, wings, pasta, breadsticks and salads.

Now a little about those who took the survey: 79 percent of you were pizza store owners, 57 percent own one store, 20 percent own 2-3 units, 11 percent own 4-10 units and 11 percent own more than 10 stores. Our personal favorite answer was to the question of whether PMQ should produce our own trade show. Answer: 76.5 percent said yes. Thanks for the inspiration.