A look at this year’s pizza trends, pizza industry statistics and analysis
Welcome to our second annual Pizzeria Industry Trends Report presented by Pizza Today. We provide you, pizzeria operators and pizza professional, with a gauge of vital pizzeria insights, issues and trends backed by your most trusted pizza industry source, Pizza Today. This is also a critical resource for industry partners and others who want to gain insights on current pizza industry trends. We surveyed 748 pizzeria owners from across the country to see what’s happening in America’s pizzerias. We combed through surveys, national reports and key industry indicators to bring you the 2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report.
Special thanks to the 2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report Sponsors:
Table of Contents — 2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report
2024 Pizza Industry Key Findings — Top Pizza Trends
After producing our first State of the Pizza Industry report in 2023, we knew the key this year would be not so much in the data, but in how it has changed (or not) in the last 12 months. The ability to compare makes it easier to identify and analyze trends, which is the primary consideration now that we have two years’ worth of extensive metrics.
Some key findings and takeaways that jumped out the most when filtering through the data delivered in this year’s operator survey came top of mind when we ran the numbers through AI to find out what is most trending. The results:
Online ordering’s increase is not slowing. Its importance to the industry is paramount.
Quality remains king. Operators continue to say the quality of the ingredients they use remains the driving factor in their ability to retain customers.
Style variety matters. The trend of offering different styles of pizza is not slowing. Customers are now expecting it.
Plant-based and Vegan demand remains. Operators continue ramping up their efforts to provide these options to consumers.
Labor Woes. The pandemic may be over, but the labor pool has not gotten much deeper from last year, according to pizzeria owners.
Automation. Operators are seeking ways to streamline operations to battle the lack of labor and to meet consumer expectations.
Staying Social. Marketing via the various social media channels remains a critical opportunity, and sometimes a challenge, for pizzeria owners.
We uncovered many more trends, so this is just a topline overview of some prominent recurring responses in our survey data. Read on to dive deeper into what we’ve spent the last several months crunching and compiling!
What’s Important to the Independent Pizzeria Operator?
The pizzeria market as a whole is poised to continue its growth over the next few years. North America’s pizza market is set to grow by 6.11% and $51.38 billion, according to Technavio’s Pizza Market by Type and Geography – Forecast and Analysis 2022-2026. How big of an impact does the Independent Pizzeria Market have on those figures? Estimates vary widely from 40% to 60% represent independent pizzerias. Pizza Today classifies independent pizzerias as pizzerias not under a franchise or license agreement with nine or fewer units. The Indie Pizza Market is thriving in the U.S. post-pandemic. But, today’s independent operations are also facing many unprecedented hurdles. Let’s take a deeper look at the independent pizzeria market.
More independent operators completed our survey than the previous year. Of the 748 responses, 606 were independent operators. Amongst independent operation respondents surveyed, 73 percent of the pizzerias were single unit, while the remaining 27 percent operated two to nine units, which is the same unit breakdown as last year.
Current Independent Pizzeria Market Trends
Independents are finding optimism and challenges when we asked them what they see as the biggest pizza industry trends. While AI found the big picture ideas above, analyzing the independent market responses reflect what’s happening in American smaller pizzerias.
Costs and inflation are impacting the small pizzerias. This will require operators to continue to find cost savings and additional revenue sources in the coming year.
Operators are better equipped to tackle food costs. While costs soar, independents have been laser focused on reigning in food costs and it shows. We are seeing an encouraging increase in the number of respondents maintaining a 22% or less food cost and less operations teetering over that pivotal 30% mark.
Emphasize customer satisfaction. It’s more important than ever to find ways to keep customers happy, especially in a digital interface, whether that be your online ordering system or third-party delivery.
Innovation and technology are in reach of single-unit operators. As customers depend on technology for daily interactions, independents are meeting the demand by installing and upgrading systems. But, they are not stopping there, operators are continuing to upgrade their operating systems and equipment for efficiency and effectiveness and to ease labor issues.
Independents are leading the charge in menu creativity. They are rolling out new pizza styles and pizza topping combinations that are being noticed by major chains.
Independents are looking for sustainability and local sourcing. Each year we are seeing indies increasingly doing their part to create more sustainable businesses. A major factor is access to local products and pricing of eco-friendly products being more available to the singe-unit operator.
Casual dining dominates independents. While fast casual and counter service are trending, the bread and butter of the indie market is sit-down casual dining.
Indies need to explore new revenue streams. Offering catering, third-party delivery, merchandise, mobile units and beer and liquor are all up this year.
What’s in a concept? Apparently, everything. 90.31 percent of our survey respondents were independent pizzerias with 9 or fewer stores. When we asked them to define their concept type, 38.3 percent selected casual dining. Another 30.25 percent opted for fast-casual.
Meanwhile, 16.54% say they offer carryout and delivery only. We found that particularly interesting as that was the same number as in last year’s survey. Yet last year, the casual concepts totaled 72.4% compared to 68.55% this year. So, where’s the difference?
A surge in Quick Serve is where the numbers point us as compared to 2022. As consumers continue to lead busier and busier lives, convenience trumps experience.
Current Pizza Industry Revenue Streams Changes
With that in mind, do we see any changes in revenue streams as compared to the prior 12 months? Let’s dive into it.
In 2022, pizzeria owners told us a diversification of their revenue streams were essential to their businesses. Catering, food trucks, alcohol delivery and adding grocery items were the top responses. Fast forward to this year’s data and while those streams remain important, we see that catering, beer and liquor to go and market/grocery items have slightly dipped (less than two percent each), while third-party delivery (38.75% are deploying it) is slightly growing. The biggest growth witnessed in the last year, however, comes as a result of more pizzerias returning to a dine-in focus: 15.5% say room/facility rentals for large groups or parties fueled important revenue in the past year.
Speaking of third-party delivery, where do we as an industry now stand on what has often been a divisive subject?
In 2022, income from third-party delivery was a driver for 37.2 percent of respondents. This year, that number increased very slightly to 38.75%. However, the numbers show third-party sales are becoming a larger part of the overall revenue puzzle. In 2022, 18.5% of our respondents said third-party sales accounted for more than 11% of their total overall sales. This year? That number is up to 22.45% of respondents. So, while roughly the same number of pizzerias are partnering with third-party delivery companies, there is a nearly 4% boost overall in how much third-party is impacting the bottom line.
Can the same be said of online ordering? In a nutshell, yes.
In 2022, 26.4% said they did not offer online ordering. That number is now down to 23.4%.
In 2022, 14.6% said that online ordering accounted for 18-27% of their overall sales. This year, 17.66% gave that answer. Online ordering continues to drive significant revenue in the industry, and it appears to still be steadily and consistently growing.
2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report Sponsors:
Pizzeria Labor Trends — The Employee Conundrum
Labor is not only a significant expense, but a most-oft listed headache amongst pizzeria owners. In last year’s survey we discovered that overall outlook was improving. Did that optimism come to fruition?
Statistically speaking, the number of employees pizzerias have in 2023 vs. 2022 remains virtually unchanged. 38.3% have 10 or fewer employees as compared to 37.9% last year. However, labor costs are on the rise: last year 26% of operations carried a labor cost between 29-35%. Now, 28.33% tell us their labor cost falls into that range, while an additional 10.1% of respondents say their labor cost is above 35%.
13.54% of survey respondents say they have increased employee pay by 12 or more percent. Additionally, 19.67 percent of respondents say they have increased employee wages by 7-11%.
2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report Sponsors:
Current Pizzeria Menu Trends
To stay up to date on the latest pizzeria menu trends, we examined what’s hot on pizzeria menus, what’s being added and what’s being removed. From pizza styles to other menu categories, operators shared what’s trending on menus across America.
First and foremost, our respondents know pizza! Nearly 80% of survey respondents shared that 55% or more of their total sales came from pizza sales and 41% said 80% or more were pizza sales.
Now, let’s dive into some menu category trends, including pizza styles, pizza toppings and other menu items.
2024 Pizza Style Trends
Offering multiple pizza styles continues to dominate the pizza market with over 68% of our respondents offering more than one pizza style. That is up 4% over last year.
America’s Top 10 Pizza Styles
New York continues to be the No. 1 Pizza Style in America. There has been movement in pizza styles offered at pizzerias in the U.S. Comparing our responses from last year, Neapolitan moved up one spot to No. 5 and Chicago Thin fell two places to No. 6. NEOpolitan entered the Top 10 for the first time tying with Chicago Thick. Here are the Top 10 Pizza Styles in America:
More than 15% of our respondents indicated that they offered a style other than the 25 listed styles. Some common style themes among the respondents that selected other include blending two pizza styles, non-recognized local/regional styles, gluten-free, cauliflower crust and stuffed crusts.
Pizza Styles on the Rise
It’s challenging to predict which pizza style will be the year’s trending pizza style. So, we asked our operators if they intend to add a pizza style in the coming year, what style will they add. The responses were a bit different than last year.
Detroit is Still on Top as Trending Pizza Style
Detroit Style Pizza is proving it has staying power as the hot pizza style to add. A mover and shaker is New York-style pizza making its debut in the Top 5 Pizza Styles to add. Pushed out of the Top 5 by a paper-thin margin is Roman style. Here are the Top 5 Pizza Style trending this year:
Grandma and Deep Dish (Tie)
Are you looking to add Detroit-style pizza? We’ve put together a complete guide on Detroit pizza including characteristics of Detroit pizza, its history, tips on making Detroit style pizza, Detroit pizzerias to look at, and Detroit style pizza recipes and tutorials. Check out our Detroit Style Pizza: A Guide to Detroit Pizza.
Want to test one of the five Trending Pizza Styles?
We’ve created a guide with dough recipes and dough formula with tips from some the best pizza masters and dough experts in the U.S., including Tony Gemignani, Laura Meyer, Anthony Falco, Derek Sanchez, Jeff Smokevitch, John Arena and the late Dough Doctor Tom Lehmann. Go to Dough Recipes for Top Trending Pizza Stylesand start testing a new pizza style in your kitchen.
2024 Pizza Toppings Trends
Pizza Topping preferences can very region by region. But first let’s see which pizza toppings are the most popular nationally. This year’s 20 most popular pizza toppings offer by pizzerias in America are:
In addition to our operator survey, Executive Editor Denise Greer monitors topping trends in America. Her picks include mortadella, corn and smoked salmon. See what other toppings made the list.
Pizza Cheese Trends — Cheese Please!
Part of the holy trinity of pizza, cheese is an area of evolution. Operators are constantly looking for ways to make their pizza stand out from competitors and cheese is a big wow factor. The biggest take away from cheeses added is blending cheeses.
Among the new toppings operators look to add, new cheeses are hot. Here are some new cheese additions:
Offering dietary and specialty pizza options have been critical for diners as parties choose restaurants that can meet the needs of every person in their group. We asked operators of the dietary/specialty pizza options, which they offer in their pizzeria. Here is the breakdown:
The biggest takeaway from our operator survey on toppings to remove from the list is that the majority are not removing any pizza toppings at all. Of the respondents who indicated they have removed toppings, those items include: beef, black olives, vegan meat and cheese alternatives, artichokes and shrimp.
Pizza Toppings on the Horizon
Pizza makers and operators are constantly testing new pizza combinations. In our survey, we wanted to know what toppings are in research and development. This year, the creativity in pizza kitchens is high. Here are some common themes among operators who are experimenting with pizza toppings at their shop:
Meat is king! They are working with meat toppings out of the norm from pork belly and smoked brisket to prosciutto and cup and char sausage.
Find the right plant-based toppings. Pizzerias are looking for the best plant-based products that work for their vegan and meat- and dairy-free customers.
More shops are incorporating hot honey. Hot pepper-infused honey came on the scene years ago. But hot honey is still being added to menus across the country.
Play with unique and creative toppings. While some may be seasonal, unique pizza toppings are finding their way onto menus, from more exotic mushrooms like shiitake to persimmons, waffles and even octopus. Others include smoked Kalamata olives, sweet drop peppers, curry sauce, lemons and pecans.
Look to International flavors. Mexican, Cuban, Indian and other Asian specialties inspired pizzas are wowing culinary explorers at pizzerias.
New this Year – Regional Pizzeria Trends Breakdown
With so many responses from pizzeria operators, we’re able to look at what’s happening regionally in the Pizza Industry. The regions are broken down as follows:
Northeast Region – including New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) and the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania)
Midwest Region — including East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota)
South Region — including South Atlantic (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia); East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee) and West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas)
West Region — including Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) and Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington)
Northeastern U.S. Pizza Trends
What Pizza Styles are hot in the Northeast?
The Top 5 Pizza Styles in Pizzerias in the Northeast are:
New York Style
The national Top 5 Pizza Toppings hold strong in the Northeast at:
But as we move into the Top 10, meatballs and banana pepper prove to be more popular in the Northeast than nationally.
Here is a quick glance at some toppings that pizzerias in the Northeast are testing: cup and char pepperoni, nduja, apples, vegan toppings and shredded pork.
Midwest U.S. Pizza Trends
What Pizza Styles are hot in the Midwest?
The Top 5 Pizza Styles in Pizzerias in the Midwest are:
New York Style
The national Top 5 pizza toppings didn’t hold as Extra Cheese fell out in favor of onion. The Top 5 Pizza Toppings in the Midwest are:
Here is a quick glance at some toppings that pizzerias in the Midwest are testing: cup and char sausage, chorizo, mortadella, plant-based alternatives, fried chicken, BBQ meats and pickled vegetables.
Southern U.S. Pizza Trends
What Pizza Styles are hot in the South?
The Top 5 Pizza Styles in Pizzerias in the South are:
New York Style
The national Top 5 Pizza Toppings hold strong in the South at:
But the rest of the Top 10 stray away from the national list. Beef moves into the Top 10. Here are standings:
Here is a quick glance at some toppings that pizzerias in the South are testing: short ribs, plant-based alternatives, crab and kielbasa.
Western U.S. Pizza Trends
What Pizza Styles are hot in the West?
The West favors California over Deep Dish compared to the national list. The Top 5 Pizza Styles in Pizzerias in the West are:
New York Style
There is some shakeup in the West’s Top 5 Pizza Toppings with chicken entering the list. The West’s Top 5 are:
The rest of the Top 10 stray away from the national list with pineapple and jalapeno moving into the Top 10. Here are standings:
Here is a quick glance at some toppings that pizzerias in the West are testing: pickled jalapeno, salmon, Hatch green chilies, kale, potato, lemon and figs.
Rounding Out a Pizzeria Menu
While some pizzerias keep their menus tight, sticking with pizza only, many others offer a diverse menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. What’s working on menus at pizzerias?
Best-Selling Non-pizza Items are:
We asked operators what their top-selling non-pizza items were and there are several common items among pizzerias. They include:
Wings.Wings remain hot on menus whether traditional Buffalo style, dry rub or sauced with unique flavors. One piece of advice, offer some heat options.
Salads. Healthy, cold salads pair well with hot and filling pizza. Salads range from a simple wedge to Caesar and seasonal harvest salads.
Pastas. Offerings tend to favor classic Italian entrees.
Garlic Knots/Breadsticks/Garlic Bread. These low-cost apps are winners and use leftover pizza dough.
13 Pizzeria Menu Trends from the Pizza Industry Trends Report
Executive Editor Denise Greer outlines Pizzeria Menu Trends from the Pizza Industry Trends Report. Explore Pizza and Pizza Toppings Trends, popular entrees, hot appetizers, alternative pizza crusts.
Marketing trends in many markets fluctuate depending on what’s hot a particular year. The pizza industry takes a steadier approach to marketing. We do not see huge changes from year to year. But there are several indicators that are showing changes from last year.
First, let’s examine budgets. More pizzerias are devoting at least 1% of their overall budget to marketing at 87%, up 4% over last year. Approximately 42 percent dedicating one to two percent, and 28 percent of our survey respondents budgeting three to four percent.
2024 Restaurant Marketing Trends to Watch
We’ve scoured dozens and dozens of 2024 marketing trend predictions to give you a look at what’s hot and what’s relevant to pizzerias. Check out 10 marketing trends to watch in 2024:
Online ordering is more valuable than just order taking. It is a marketing tool to increase check averages and frequency.
A strong social presence will dominate campaigns. Restaurants will continue to pour energies and budgets towards social strategies with an emphasis on short-form video, influencer campaigns and social commerce.
Customer data is ever more vital to growth. Use customer data more personally, as well as protect that data.
Cause marketing never goes out of style. Hone in on the organizations that are important to you and fit your overall brand.
Go hyper local with your social influencer and media campaigns. While everyone loves national exposure, go after local for a high return.
Voice Search taps into your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking when users prompt “Hey, Siri”, “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Google” with local pizza questions.
Claiming and interacting with Review Sites will be critical to your online presence.
Giving customers free WiFi access allows you to capture customer data.
Optimize or upgrade those loyalty programs. A good loyalty program will have a huge ROI.
Where are pizzerias putting their advertising dollars?
In our extensive survey, we asked operators where they are devoting their advertising budgets. Here is a look at that breakdown:
We do not advertise — just word of mouth
Pizzeria Social Media Trends 2024
Over 93 percent of American pizzerias promote their businesses through Facebook, followed by Instagram (71%). X (24%) and TikTok (20%). Facebook and TikTok are up 5% from last year. When asked which social channel provides the best ROI, Facebook led at 67 percent and Instagram followed at 26 percent.
Takeaways from social movers and shakers 20024:
Facebook still dominates the pizza industry’s social space.
Instagram and X formerly Twitter have steady usage in the industry.
Both TikTok and YouTube are on the rise.
Recently launched Threads has almost zero presence in the industry.
Pizza Restaurant Technology Trends — Tech Nation
Technology is driving development in pizzerias like never before. We asked pizzeria owners “Which of the following new technology and equipment did you invest in over the past 12 months?” Here were the answers:
That’s good news for equipment and supplies manufacturers who are counting on pizzerias to buy in the next year. It should make for a busy Pizza Expo 2024!
2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report Sponsors:
Pizzeria Industry 2024 Outlook: A Look Forward
As we move into a new year, some of the same concerns will remain paramount in the pizzeria market. In the coming year, operators will need to control costs as much as possible, add/increase revenue sources to offset higher labor and operating costs, raise prices when it makes sense and apply new approaches to find and retain employees.
Optimism is abound when it comes to sales growth, nearly 65 percent of operators surveyed expect their gross annual sales to be up in the next 12 months with 44 percent of respondents expecting sales to be up by 5% or more. With costs food, labor and operating costs continuing to climb, operators are less optimistic about their profit margins with over 53 percent of Independent respondents expecting profit margins to be flat or down.
We asked operators to select their top three business concerns for the coming year. The top three align with last year’s priorities and include:
Maintain current business
There is a big shift in the top six priorities with adding revenue streams moved up in priorities and community involvement entering the top six priorities. They are:
Add new revenue stream(s)
More community involvement
Eyes on Adding Units
As we analyze the independent market, some operators are looking to expand. Over 30% of independent operators surveyed look to add at least one new unit to their business in the coming year.
Renovations on the Horizon
A major cost for pizza operations are renovations. According to our survey, 41% of operations last renovated their business before the pandemic or never. Nearly 34% of independent operators indicated they plan to renovate their business in the next 24 months. The top six areas where they plan to focus their efforts are:
Kitchen/Back of House Configuration
2024 Looks Cautiously Optimistic
When we asked our independent pizzeria operators how they would describe the outlook of the pizzeria industry over the next 12-18 months, we see over a majority were optimistic at 66%.
The 2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report has revealed what’s happening in America’s pizzerias. Use our findings to identify areas to grow and improve your pizza business. The report delved into specific trends for independent pizzeria operators, highlighting their focus on cost savings, customer satisfaction, and menu innovation. Additionally, regional variations in pizza styles and toppings are explored, providing insights into the diverse preferences across different parts of the United States. Examine these key findings to explore your menu and strategies in the coming year.
About the Survey
From August 2023 through mid-September 2023, Pizza Today conducted an extensive survey of its readership with over 60 questions, taking participants between eight to 10 minutes to completed. The survey included pizzeria profile questions and was divided into various topics impacting American pizzerias. 748 operators participated in the survey. Of those respondents, 606 were independent pizzeria operators with nine or fewer locations. Respondents represented pizzerias across the United States.
The 2024 Pizza Industry Trends Report was produced by Pizza Today with analysis and coordination by Executive Editor Denise Greer and Editor In Chief Jeremy White. Layout, Photography and Art coordination by Senior Art Director Josh Keown.
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