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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Pizza: A True Slice of American Life and Culture

In an interview with Pope Francis last month marking his second anniversary as the leader of the Catholic faith, he said he enjoyed being pope, but missed his freedom. The Pope said what he really craved was the chance to go out and “get a pizza.”

Yes, even the Pope dreams of eating pizza. Forget burgers and Mexican food, pizza is God-like and the best food created by man and/or woman. It’s universally loved as it comes in all shapes and sizes, and more importantly, a myriad of flavors.

If you have any doubts about the joy that pizza brings to our everyday lives, here are a few stats and facts to ponder and enjoy:

  • Pizza is a $125 billion global market. In the U.S., the pizza market is about $40 billion.
  • There are about 75,000 places selling pizza in the U.S. – a little more than half are independent operations.
  • Americans eat about 46 pizza slices a year, on average.Liguria Cooked Pepperoni and Sausage
  • The no. 1 day of the week Americans eat pizza: Saturdays.
  • The largest chain in the U.S. is Hunt Brothers, which boasts 7,300 locations in 28 states. Most are in gas stations and convenience stores, where their conveyor-belt ovens churn out small, two-slice pies for about $2.99.
  • The next two largest pizza chains, Pizza Hut and Domino’s with 6,000 and 5,000 stores respectively, continue to grow especially internationally. Domino’s is now in 80 countries with 250,000 workers selling around one billion pizzas annually.
  • Fast-casual pizza is the fast growing category: Both Blaze Pizza and Pieology have opened more than 40 restaurants.
  • Online ordering continues to expand at an incredible pace – almost on par with orders placed by telephone (47%/53% for online vs. telephone).
  • The biggest day of the year for takeout pizza?  The Super Bowl when Americans order about 12.5 million pizzas.  Followed by New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and the day before Thanksgiving.
  • About 37 percent of all pizza orders will be with pepperoni.
  • Finally, what do adults drink with pizza? Beer is no. 1 but the Millennials are raising more wine glasses with their slices. Zinfandel and Syrah varietals are popular but a poll of wine writers selected Barbera d’Alba from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Obviously, when you see all these numbers, it’s easy to see that the Pope isn’t the only one dreaming about pizza, perhaps with an Italian red wine.  Cheers!

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