Pizza Was the Restaurant Hero of 2020

Pizza Was the Restaurant Hero of 2020

A few times a week, Elizabeth Renninger goes to a pizza restaurant near her job for lunch. He orders the same thing every time: a cheese slice and fry for $ 6. For a little thrill, she sprinkles on some peramason and red pepper flakes.

Before the coronavirus epidemic swept across the country, Ms. Renninger, a criminology student at North Arizona University who works at a dog day-care facility, estimated that she ate pizza only once every two months. This changed late last summer when he took a walk in a slice and ice pizza parlor.

“Maybe there is some comfort food for me with the hot, gooey cheese epidemic,” Ms. Renninger said. “I go once a week, maybe three times in a few weeks, which is embarrassing.”

For many Americans, pizza has been an ideal epidemic option, a casual meal for a time that is anything but casual. Whether a thin-crust version topped with fresh vegetables or a high-heaped pie pile with sausage and pepperoni, Pizza has checked many boxes during these odd times, mainly because it travels well And can easily feed – sometimes quite cheaply – a whole family. In the first nine months of 2020, Domino’s and Papa John’s combined revenue grew so much that it was the equivalent of nearly 30 million larger cheese pizzas than their sales, which they had a year earlier.

In a year when restaurants across the country are unable to cover rent payments, and with the government being unable to pay employees due to mandatory closures, people who have generally performed better. According to food industry research and consulting firm Technomic, pizza sales grew 4 percent last year. Pizza and chicken are the only foods that have grown up.

“The pizza category as a whole was a big winner,” said Sarah Senatore, an analyst covering Bernstein’s restaurants. Ms Senatore said it could become a meal for families who find themselves on tight budgets due to falling wages or lost jobs.

For big pizza chains such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and the privately held Little Caesar, the epidemic proved to be a sales boon. According to Technomic, 43 percent of the US $ 44 billion market controlled the epidemic. Some analysts say that large chains, most of which have yet to report fourth-quarter earnings, almost certainly gained more market share as their size led them to grow for things and other materials better Allowed to navigate issues such as paying prices, working on additional help or covering fares. Especially after weeks of lean compared to independent pizza parlor owners.

For the first nine months of last year, Domino’s and Papa John’s combined revenue increased nearly 12 percent, or $ 434 million. Pizza Hut’s revenue for the same period was lower than the 2019 level. The chain was in the midst of a turnaround plan when it had to deal with Kovid-related closures and restrictions at its dine-in restaurants across the country. Even Frozen Pizza showcased frozen pizzas for more than $ 6 billion, with sales of about 21 percent, according to NielsenIQ.

“Pizza was the right food for the epidemic, but I think it’s also the right meal for all time,” said Domino’s Chief Executive Officer Rich Allison, who saw double-digit increases in same-store sales in the United States . last spring. Over the past year, Domino’s stock has risen 40 percent to $ 385 per share. In the fall of 2008, it traded at a low of $ 3.

“We entered an epidemic in a fortunate position,” Mr. Allison said, noting that the company had a strong delivery service and had invested in its digital capability over the past decade.

Nevertheless, as demand rose during the epidemic, Domino’s ran to hire 30,000 people; Prohibited the production of fresh flour to be shipped to all its locations; And meat producers faced occasional shortages as meat producers shut down due to an outbreak of coronovirus in their facilities. In television commercials, which typically take months to plan and shoot, it resumes within a few days to allow drivers to wear masks as they make deliveries.

Mr. Ellison said his company had also become very agile in response to the epidemic’s customer behavior. When it saw that cheeseburgers and tacos were also popular epidemic options, it quickly found two specialties: cheeseburgers and chicken tacos. Both become hot sellers, Mr. Allison said.

“My new favorite is chicken tacos, and I add extra jalepinos to give it some zip,” he said.

The epidemic has been disastrous for the restaurant industry. According to Datacient, last year, more than 68,000 restaurants closed permanently, with buffets, French bistros and soup and salad spots being the toughest. But 11,000 restaurants opened during the epidemic. The pizzeria led the way, with about 2,000 openings.

Justin Morse and his colleagues served Brasserie Brixton, a cozy, 45-seat French bistro in Denver in July when serving their own version of escargotes (served in a little ramekins with salt crackers) and steak frites for dinner. Was expected But they became increasingly nervous as the food embargo in the city declined in late fall, and they found themselves unable to apply for government relief programs such as paycheck protection programs because they could not show a history of lost revenue.

Mr. Morse and his co-owners knew they had to focus on delivery. Realizing that things like French onion soup do not travel particularly well, he almost confronted. On Thanksgiving weekend, they built and installed a wood-fired pizza oven.

“Is the industry already set up for delivery and takeout? Pizza, ”Mr. Morse said. “We said, ‘Let’s mimic an industry people are already comfortable with in terms of delivery and takeout.” “While their restaurant, Temporarily Named (Lay) Bricks Pizza & Wine, offers a classic Margherita pizza, it also sells pizza with French. Flair comes with a white anchovy and thyme and another potato, crème fresh And with henna.

“We’re not selling enough pizza to cover all costs, but it’s better than the alternative,” said Mr. Morse, who distributes the bulk of the pizza himself. He said the group hoped to return the French fare in a few months, but was considering continuing the pizza business at a different location.

Mr. Allison of Domino’s stated that he believes the demand for pizza will remain strong even after the epidemic ends.

“We have been given an opportunity during the epidemic to serve a lot of new customers who had never taken an order from us or ordered for a long time,” he said. “We hope that we have done a great job serving them and they have become loyal customers.”



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