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CHD Expert Evaluates the Pizza Industry in the United States: Any Way You Slice It, Pizza is Popular, and When Looking at The Landscape, Independents are Making a Statement.

From New York to Chicago and everywhere in between, pizza is everywhere in the United States. This casual food staple makes up 14% of the total US restaurant landscape, and 13% of the total US Independent restaurant landscape.

(Chicago, IL – March 19, 2015) – CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm, has released the latest data around one of the most popular casual dining staples in the US: pizza! As of March 2015, CHD Expert’s database has data and contact information for more than 96,000 restaurants classified under the “Pizzeria” and “Italian – Pizza & Pasta” Menu Types. These two menu types combined make up 14% of the total US restaurant landscape.

Individually, the Pizza and Italian menu types have a strong showing, particularly Pizzerias. CHD Expert’s data shows there are over 68,000 restaurants with the Pizzeria menu type in the US, accounting for 10% of the total US restaurant landscape. It is the second most popular menu type in the US behind Varied Menu.

While domestic pizza chains make themselves known internationally via widespread advertising campaigns, there is a large collective of small independent pizza restaurants who are more than holding their own within this segment. There are approximately 60,000 independent Pizzeria and Italian – Pizza & Pasta restaurants combined across the US, and these establishments make up 13% of the total independent restaurant landscape. CHD Expert defines an independent restaurant as having less than 10 units in operation, while a chain will have 10 or more.

Of the Pizzerias in operation in the US, 53% are classified as independent and 47% are classified as chains. Pizza Hut holds the highest market share of the chain Pizzerias (20%), followed by Domino’s (15%), Little Caesars (12%), Papa John’s (9%), and Papa Murphy’s Pizza (4%).

Within CHD Expert’s database, 100% of all the pizzerias fall under the Limited Service Restaurant (LSR) segment. When broken down further, 47% are classified as Quick Service, while 53% are considered Fast Casual. CHD Expert defines a Quick Service establishment as a traditional “fast-food” restaurant, generally with check averages under $7, while at a Fast Casual establishment food is prepared to order with fresh ingredients and suited to sophisticated tastes with check averages between $7-$10.

The more sit-down variety restaurant where one can order a slice would be the Italian – Pizza & Pasta Menu Type, which accounts for over 27,000 units and are overwhelmingly Independent at 84%. Chain restaurants make up just 16% of this Menu Type, and the top chains include Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fazoli’s, and Mellow Mushroom.

Italian – Pizza & Pasta restaurants differ from Pizzerias in yet another way – 95% of these establishments are classified as Full Service Restaurants (FSR) and just 5% are LSRs. Though this Menu Type only makes up 4% of the total US restaurant landscape, the average revenue is higher than that of a Pizzeria at approximately $970,000 (the average revenue at a Pizzeria is approximately $515,000).

No matter the Menu Type, pizza is a popular staple for most Americans, particularly in the so-called “pizza cities” of New York City and Chicago.

Both New York City and Chicago buck the national trend of an even spread of independent and chain restaurants. Of New York City’s 400+ Pizzerias, 85% are classified as independent. Chicago is a similar story: 72% of the city’s 400+ Pizzerias are independent. In New York City Pizzerias make up 5% of the total restaurant landscape in the city, while in Chicago they make up 6% of the landscape.

The biggest difference between the two cities comes down to approximate revenue. In New York City, the average revenue for a Pizzeria is $390,000 and the average revenue for an Italian – Pizza & Pasta restaurant is $850,000. In Chicago the average revenue for a Pizzeria is $510,000 and the average for an Italian – Pizza & Pasta restaurant is $1,080,000.

Where can you get a cheaper slice? The average check at 69% of Chicago Pizzerias is $7-$10, while similarly the average check is $7-$10 at 65% of New York City Pizzerias. (And as for who has the better tasting slice… we’ll leave that to you to decide.) In the United States as a whole, 75% of Pizzerias have an average check of $7-$10, followed by an average check of $5-$7 at 19% of Pizzerias.

With NYC and Chicago’s strong association to pizza, it may be surprising to learn that neither New York nor Illinois is the state with the highest percentage of pizza restaurants in the total state restaurant landscape. When the Pizzeria and Italian – Pizza & Pasta Menu Types are combined, Pennsylvania ranks first, with 22% of the state’s restaurant landscape being made up of pizza restaurants. Iowa (21%), Connecticut (21%), Rhode Island (20%), and Massachusetts (20%) round out the top five. See Figure 1 for an individualized breakdown of the popularity of Pizzeria and Italian – Pizza & Pasta restaurants by state.

Figure 1. Pizzeria and Italian – Pizza & Pasta Menu Types by % of state’s restaurant landscape.

Pizza remains a popular and prevalent food in the United States, and that is unlikely to change, especially because it lends itself so well to the customization trends sweeping the foodservice industry. From classic peperoni and sausage to the newly popular chocolate pizza, flavor options for pizza pies are plentiful and diverse.

New trends will be showcased at this year’s 31st annual Pizza Expo on March 23, and CHD Expert is excited to be attending.

“There’s no arguing that pizza is one of America’s favorite foods,” said Brad Bloom, VP of Sales and Marketing at CHD Expert The Americas. “From the household chain brands to the local independent operator, there are thousands of establishments across this country who make a delicious pizza pie. We’re eager to hit the trade show floor at the Pizza Expo and connect with operators and suppliers who make up this staple industry in the American foodservice landscape.”

For those who would like more information about the Pizza Restaurant Landscape in the US, CHD Expert has created this complementary visual representation of the Pizza Restaurant Industry.

Download the Pizza Restaurant Industry Infographic.

To obtain detailed information on any foodservice market or to schedule a time to meet during the 2015 Las Vegas Pizza Expo please contact Brad Bloom: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About CHD Expert

CHD Expert is the worldwide leader in collecting, managing and analyzing data for the Away-from-Home Global Foodservice Market. For more than 20 years CHD Expert has been dedicated to support Foodservice channel members in providing a global vision and an in-depth understanding of the industry (in Europe, The Americas, and Asia Pacific). Our objective is to support food service providers in their sales and marketing strategies by providing the most comprehensive and accurate foodservice census, housing operator intelligence for more than 5 million operators worldwide. For additional information, please visit chdexpert.staging.wpengine.com or call 1-888-CHD-0154.