Restaurant C-Suite Magazine | Winter 2020

Page 11

Salads and salad bars can enhance the pizza experience and increase average checks. Pictured here: Chicken Harvest Salad at Donatos. Photo by Donatos Pizza.

Pizzerias and pizza chains well-positioned as consumers seek specialized pizza establishments Sixty-one percent of consumers surveyed by Packaged Facts said they are interested in ordering pizza from QSRs specializing in pizza. And 62 percent are interested in ordering from a specialized, full-service restaurant chain. According to Packaged Facts’ Eating Trends: Restaurant Use report, 38 percent of consumers order from pizza-and-pasta restaurants, making them the fourth largest category. Specialized pizza restaurants have unique positioning in the pizza category, but how can they leverage it? One significant way is to offer appetizers, pasta and salad dishes to draw incremental ordering and to cancel out non-pizza-eating veto votes. Another way is to offer both healthy and indulgent choices. As we’ve noted, Packaged Facts describes a dichotomy in the consumer usage of pizza. Some consumers are looking for healthier options; others are looking to escape the diet or routine involved in home cooking.

Thirty-three percent of pizza restaurant users order salad, so having salad choices or createyour-own salad bars can boost sales and appeal to customers. Twenty-two percent of users order appetizers and 18 percent order pasta. At California Pizza Kitchen, the menu lists salads that offer abundant creativity and variety. The Thai Crunch Salad, for example, offers “crisp veggies and fresh cilantro with chicken and the crunch of peanuts, wontons and rice sticks,” and is tossed in a Thai peanut dressing. Beyond salads, CPK offers Protein Bowls. These skew toward functionality and include the Shanghai Bowl, a mix of seared shrimp with black heirloom rice, baby broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots and watermelon radish, served with housemade Shanghai sauce. In conducting some research on the Gen Z consumer, Kara Nielsen, a well-respected trendologist who helps food and beverage companies understand trends to develop winning product development strategies, found that this generation is keen on customization. It would follow that fast casuals—even those that have struggled due to oversaturation—may still have a compelling RESTAURANT C-SUITE 11