According to a new study by Food Genius, a Chicago-based technology and services firm, pizza is now one of the most common dishes served in U.S. restaurants, appearing on 40% of all menus. The study, called “Slicing the Pie: Pizza Menu Trends and Insights,” examines data from the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and tracks 87,159 unique menus across the country. It demonstrates the rising popularity of pizza as well as its versatility, as more restaurants add gluten-free pies, flatbreads and non-traditional sauces – think barbecue and pesto – to their menus. “We’ve noticed in the last few quarters of data that pizzas have gotten simpler, with restaurants putting more emphasis on fresh ingredients and new preparation methods,” says Food Genius co-founder Benjamin Stanley. “We’ve seen examples of this in our data with the rise of Margherita pizzas, as well as with the rising popularity of fast-casual pizza chains like Pie Five Pizza Co. and Blaze Pizza.”
We are mere days away from Super Bowl Sunday. Is your pizzeria prepared for one of the busiest ordering days of the year? Are you promoting the event on your social media or offering any game-day specials to grab customers’ attentions? Remember, Pizza Hut and Domino’s will be all over the airwaves that day. Get a head start on them now!
The Bajalieh brothers in Birmingham, Alabama, have created one of the Deep South’s most innovative and successful pizzerias, combining gourmet pies, local craft beers and an aggressive marketing strategy. The result: Every night’s a Friday night at Slice Pizza & Brew!
It’s a vexing question for state governments looking to squeeze every penny of revenue out of taxpayers and business owners: Should sales of take-and-bake pizza at stores like Papa Murphy’s be taxed? And if so, should they be taxed as grocery items – such as the kind sold in supermarkets – or as prepared food sold in restaurants? According to USA Today, the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board is grappling with the issue now, and Papa Murphy’s, which operates in 40 states, would like to get the matter settled. Sales tax laws vary from state to state; 32 states don’t tax food purchased in supermarkets at all, while many others tax it at lower rates than other items or offer credits or rebates on the purchases. (Only Alabama and Mississippi levy full taxes on grocery store food without any credits or rebates.) For pizza, it often comes down to the question of whether uncooked pizza meets the definition of prepared food; some states say it does, and others say it doesn’t. One possible solution: the so-called “toggle rule,” which essentially lets individual states continue to do whatever they please.
If Two Cousins Pizza Co. can do it, maybe you can, too. With three locations in Mansfield, Lexington and Ontario, Ohio, Two Cousins has acquired 10,000 Facebook likes, even though the combined population of those three cities is only 58,000. “Our ‘free food’ contests generate the most engagement and subsequent business,” says co-owner Bill Konves. “Every Friday and then on through the week, we come up with something to get people talking. We tweak every single word we put into these contests to elicit the best response. We always boost these posts as well through Facebook paid advertising.” Recently, the company asked customers to post pictures of their pies and other food on Two Cousins’ Facebook wall. “Our page was filled with pictures of our food,” Konves says. “We then gave $5 gift certificates to all those who posted. All of those posts also landed on the news feeds of those customers that posted, so all of their friends saw it, got hungry and called us!”
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Artisan Pizza & Pasta in Charleston, West Virginia, knows that the Super Bowl is a big deal – that’s why the pizzeria created two special offers for the upcoming Broncos/Seahawks showdown, both of which target groups and parties. The smaller package, called The Deal, includes two three-topping pizzas, a dozen wings and a 2-liter bottle of soda, all for $24.95. Larger gatherings can take advantage of The Big Deal, designed to feed 12 to 15 people for $59.95. It includes two three-topping pies, two dozen wings, the fixings for four mega-BBQ sandwiches (with cole slaw and pickled red onions), a large stack of roasted potatoes and three 2-liter bottles of soda. Additional items purchased along with the Deal or Big Deal qualify for a 15% discount. Developing pizza packages for large Super Bowl parties is a great idea, and promoting them via social media throughout this week is an even better idea. But you’d better get started NOW!