How Pizza is Still Crushing It In Franchise Growth
How Pizza is Still Crushing It In Franchise Growth

Pizza industry sees acceleration in last three to five years, according to Technomic

The pizza industry has a history of extensive growth--and that is not expected to change anytime soon. What exactly is responsible for success of the pizza segment?

David Henkes of Technomic offered valuable insight into the state of the industry. In 2016, the pizza segment grew at rate that actually outperformed the the broader limited service.

“Historically, pizza has always been a fairly mature business,” he said. “In the last three to five years, there has been an acceleration.” Henkes attributed this increased growth to a variety of factors. One reason to keep in mind is when a segment begins to delve into the fast casual sector. This typically tends to accelerate the growth of the category.

Another element that has contributed to the recent success of the pizza segment is that the big players are reinventing themselves. For example, the recent focus that Domino’s has placed on technology has refreshed the brand’s success. In 2016, the company grew by an impressive 14 percent.

One such pizza company that follows these trends is Toppers Pizza. In the last three years alone, the chain has doubled in size and was listed as one of the top five fastest-growing brands by Technomic in 2016.

“It's a really exciting time to be at Toppers,” Said Toppers Pizza Chief Development Officer David Biederman.  “Our whole businesses was started and built on having unique, cool flavor combinations and great toppings at a price point that's a great value to customers, and delivers. This is our time. If you want a great pizza, we're the guys.”

One way that this company has continued its growth is through investment in technology. With over 40% of its orders being placed online, staying on top of these trends has been essential for promoting growth. “Our online ordering platform is one of the top five in the industry and one of the best out of all restaurants in the U.S. It’s easier to order on than it is to order at almost any chain restaurant,” said founder Scott Gittrich.

Toppers has also stayed on top of consumer preferences by offering delivery services. Over half of the order the business received are for delivery. By offering this service, the franchise has been able to reach more consumers and stay top of mind when customers are making meal plans.

Another way that Toppers Pizza has continued to grow is through its careful selection of franchisees. “We want people who want to be in their restaurants every day. We like people who are a little cocky and competitive -- it’s part and parcel of being active and passionate in the business,” said Gittrich.

“In any restaurant,” said Henkes. “The challenge is to find out what your unique point of differentiation is. Ask what you are doing better or different than your competitors and if that point of differentiation is sustainable. If your unique selling proposition is just cost, you will lose every time because it is just a race to the bottom.”