Pizza restaurants are gaining momentum

Pizza restaurants are on a roll. When the pandemic first began, the the average person in the U.S. was spending slightly more on pizza restaurants year over year. But that amount has increased dramatically in recent months - as of August, the average person spent 24% more on pizza restaurants than they did last year.

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When it comes to the share of wallet that each restaurant category occupies for the consumer, Quick Service still has the largest share - over half. Pizza's share of wallet was at its highest, 15%, during the severest part of the pandemic in late March and early April. Its share has gone down to 10% in recent months, as Casual Dining restaurants have opened up and gained some share. Nonetheless, Pizza's share of wallet is higher than it was before the pandemic, and it has seen a big increase in dollars spent per consumer.

How many people eat pizza?

According to an ongoing gen pop survey we've been fielding since March, throughout the pandemic, 14% to 19% of people have eaten Pizza in a given day. This has trended even to slightly up over time, with some weekly fluctuation. Pizza has clearly become a mainstay in the American diet.

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Who eats pizza?

On average, people skewing younger, Caucasian, male, and those with children in the household have been the biggest Pizza eaters.

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Pizza's sales performance

Pizza’s sales growth during COVID has been driven primarily by higher check size, which is hovering at a 14-15% increase year over year. But sales growth has also been driven partially by a lift in transaction volume, which has been up around 8% YoY in recent weeks.

The pool of customers buying from Pizza restaurants hasn't grown much - Penetration is flat year over year. But Pizza's existing customer base is spending more, which is driving growth.

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Performance of individual pizza chains

The Big Four pizza chains (Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and Little Caesar's) have seen the biggest year over year increases spend per customer, ranging from 22-37% up year over year.

Marco's Pizza has seen especially stellar performance recently, up over 50% year over year in spend per customer.

And smaller chains that have a Pizza/Fast Casual model, like Blaze and MOD, have seen the biggest recovery from the beginning of the pandemic to now, with an increase of over +40 percentage points. They've also been trending even higher than Papa John's in third-party delivery spend on DoorDash.

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