Pizza is a competitive market with an incredible amount of opportunity for growth. According to Technomic’s 2020 Canadian Pizza Consumer Trend Report, 81% of consumers eat pizza at least once a month, and overall consumption has increased since 2018.
Now more than ever, consumers are prioritizing 4 key pillars when it comes to dining experiences: value, convenience, personalization, and variety1. It’s up to operators to decide which pillars they can leverage most effectively, and use them to inspire pizza ideas and menu modifications.
Value, for example, can mean competitive pricing and attractive promotions, but it can also be related to quality, taste, and experience. Here’s the meaning behind these pillars and how they interact, so you can use them to create real value for your clients.
Variety: having something for everyone
The word “variety” brings innovation and creativity to mind. While variety can certainly include experimenting with different flavours, it also means having something for everyone. Well executed classic options are important too!
According to Technomic’s report, quality is an important driver of growth in today’s market. There is also significant demand for authentic dishes, so you can check both of these boxes by offering traditional recipes made with high-quality ingredients.
So, where does creativity fit in? According to Chef Beall, one of our expert menu consultants, you can reinvent classic pizzas by using different cheeses or adding a few inventive ingredients. By making a few small yet strategic changes, you can have 2 different pizzas on the menu: a traditional one, and one that’s unique to your restaurant (but still familiar to the average diner).
Personalization: top off your revenue with premium toppings and sides
Many consumers are happy to pay a premium for toppings that personalize their meal. When it comes to structuring your menu, the Technomic report revealed that diners actually prefer to pay a higher fixed price for a customizable pizza instead of paying per topping.
Once you have these elevated toppings on-hand, you can repurpose them into specialty pizzas. Whip up a “chef’s creation” using a specialty cheese like La Sauvagine, or a “pizza of the day” using leftover premium ingredients to avoid waste.
The report also highlighted add-ons as increasingly important for pizzeria profitability moving forward: restaurants that offer interesting side dishes will set themselves apart in a competitive market. Here are a few ideas for personalization options that also touch on the variety pillar!
- Crusts: original, whole wheat, gluten free, veggie, stuffed crust (with cheese, of course)
- Sauces: classic tomato, alfredo, rosé (a combo of tomato and alfredo – 2 recipes, 3 menu options)
- Premium toppings at extra cost: seasonal veggies, unique proteins, specialty cheeses (ex: Soft fresh goat cheese, Bocconcini, Fior Di Latte, Ricotta, and Blue cheeses)
- Fun side dishes: when it comes to pizzerias, 17% of consumers (and 24% of millennials) want other menu options besides pizza. Try a low-cost, crowd-pleasing dish like cheese bites.
Convenience: meet people where they’re at
You can also expand your offering to include at-home dining experiences: when it comes to pizza, 20% of consumers said they would enjoy cooking it if they had the right products. Offer a convenient option by selling pizza dough, or DIY pizza kits with pre-cut toppings and instructions included!
You can even take things one step further and sell frozen pre-made pizzas to use up leftover ingredients: frozen pizza sales skyrocketed by 133% when the pandemic hit2, which led consumers to rediscover this simple staple.
If you want to take a different tack, tap into the health-conscious market by identifying menu items as protein-rich, low-calorie, keto-friendly, lactose-free, vegetarian … not only do these indicators touch on the variety pillar, but you can also charge a little extra to modify certain dishes (gluten-free crust, lactose-free cheese) – that’s personalization!
The best thing about these 4 pillars is that they are all interconnected. Leverage any one of them, and you’re already on your way to creating value. Give diners personalization options, and you open the door to increased variety. It’s all about playing to your strengths, so start with what you’ve got, and see where it leads you!
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1 Technomic’s 2020 Canadian Pizza Consumer Trend Report
2 Nielsen MarketTrack, national All channels, week ending March 21, 2020 Total Tracked Sales including Random Weight Fresh