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Monday, December 3, 2012

The State of the Pizza Nation, 2012

The current issue of PMQ, a national pizza magazine, contains the 2013 "state of the industry" report. It includes some interesting findings and statistics. For one, the magazine reports that New York state ranks second overall in the percentage of independent (as opposed to chain) pizzerias, at 84%, right behind Connecticut at 88%. I wonder what the breakdown is between upstate and downstate. I'm guessing Upstate NY would've come in somewhere in the middle overall.
Midwestern states dominated the bottom end, with Nebraska coming in last, with just 23% of its pizzerias independent, followed by - or should I say preceded by - Kansas at 26%. I may have to rethink my idea of attending the College World Series in Omaha.
Nationwide, chains own 47% of pizzerias and control 60% of sales. For purposes of this report, "independent" refers to pizzerias with fewer than 10 units; anything over 10 is considered a chain. (They don't say how the classify a pizzeria with exactly 10 units.)
The top chains, ranked by number of units, are Pizza Hut (7595), Domino's (4907), Little Caesars (3518), and Papa John's (3001). I'd never even heard of number 5, Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza, at 1283 units.
Based on sales, Pizza Hut comes in again at #1, with 5.4 billion dollars in 2011 sales, followed by Domino's ($3.4 billion), Papa John's (about $2.2 billion), and Little Caesar's ($1.48 billion).
In terms of pizzerias per capita, New Hampshire is first at 4.09 stores per 10,000 people. New York is in the middle at 2.61, and New Mexico is last at 1.4 (at least they have good Tex-Mex).
Trends? For what it's worth, Adam Kuban, founder and editor of the Slice pizza blog, foresees more mobile pizza operations, like food trucks and mobile units that attend festivals and fairs. I'd have to agree, though I also think that like any trend, this one will crest and recede at some point. He's also seeing wood-fired pizzeria owners spin off non-wood-fired pizzerias (I'm not sure where they're going with that), and more pizzerias opened by previously home-based amateurs - don't count me among them.
There's a lot more stuff in the report, including information on pizza outside the U.S., but I'll leave you with the 2013 Pizza Industry Enterprise Award winner, Little Caesars. According to PMQ, Little Caesars has been the fastest-growing chain for several years (over 18% last year), its prices have actually gone down in recent years, and it's got a great record for charitable activities.
In light of its support of charitable causes, which I hadn't been aware of, I don't want to say anything bad about Little Caesars, though I wasn't impressed by the pizza I got there recently. I guess somebody likes it, maybe in Nebraska and Kansas. For me, I plan to continue supporting local independent pizzerias in 2013, and I hope you'll do so too.

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