Several restaurant brands have added pizza to the menu. here’s why

Some say it takes three data points to establish a trend, so perhaps it’s time to examine why several non-pizza restaurant chains are adding pizza to their menus.

Consider Panera, which launched a new line of flatbread pizzas in late 2020.

More recently, Buffalo Wild Wings launched Boneless Buffalo Bar Pizza and Honey BBQ Boneless Bar Pizza. Both are topped with boneless wings and the chain’s sauces, among other ingredients.

Third, Tim Hortons is getting in on the action by try the flatbread pizza in several restaurants in its home market of Canada.

Rather than starting from scratch, Red Robin is making a concerted effort to incorporate Donatos pizza into its restaurants, with over 200 slots now including the option.

There are probably several drivers of this so-called trend. For starters, pizza companies have enjoyed disproportionate success during the pandemic as families ate in groups while hunkered down at home and avoided dine-in concepts.

Much of that momentum has continued, particularly as inflation-weary consumers turn to value offerings. A large $5-$10 pizza that can feed an entire family is probably considered “value” for most people.

Additionally, consumers’ penchant for ordering their food off-site, whether through delivery, drive-thru or take-out, has remained high even as dining restrictions have eased. Few menu offers travel as well as pizza.

Perhaps the biggest draw for consumers is that pizza is simply one of the most popular foods, especially with football season approaching. Adding a few flatbreads to the menu is a surefire way to earn that ever critical veto vote.

Buffalo Wild Wings CMO Rita Patel alluded to this in a statement, saying, “With wings thrown in any of our 26 sauces and seasonings, over 30 beer taps, wall-to-wall TVs and now Boneless Bar Pizza, why would fans choose to go elsewhere?

Commercially, pizza is relatively easy to add to operations, particularly if there are few ingredients or if the ingredients already exist, as is the case with Buffalo Wild Wings boneless wings. Perhaps most importantly, pizza companies generate a 15% profit margin on averagecompared to 3 to 5% for other restaurants.

There could also very well be a competitive movement at play here, and perhaps some market share up for grabs, albeit nominal. Sales at category leaders Domino’s and Pizza Hut have turned negative in recent quarters as demand has not been met due to shortages of delivery drivers. Consumers who hit a roadblock trying to order delivery now have a few more choices to fall back on to satisfy their pizza craving.

Ultimately, time will tell if pizza will become a growing staple in concepts traditionally known for their breakfast or chicken wings. Right now, though, those launches are giving rise to some interesting tales. Take, Panera for example. His pizzas helped the chain exceed its pre-pandemic performance metrics, executives said, and boost its dinner party in particular.

Red Robin’s restaurants with Donatos pizza outperformed other restaurants by 300 basis points and helped drive the chain’s offsite business to more than 40% of its sales. Red Robin expects its pizza profitability to exceed $25 million by next year.

Who knows, maybe the McPizza will eventually make a comeback. This article, which was deleted in 2000, was trending lately on twitterit is therefore preferable not to count anything.

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