What you need to know

Pizza restaurants were generally well-positioned to accommodate demand for takeout and delivery during the pandemic. More importantly, pizza restaurants could leverage its comfort food status and affordability to increase engagement among its most fervent users and bring back lapsed consumers. Moving forward, pizza restaurants may see some declines in usage as more restaurant availability comes back online and consumers return to normal restaurant dining habits. Operators will need to keep promotional offers competitive, increase innovation by leveraging LTOs, and explore avenues for growth by expanding purchase occasions and opportunities.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the pizza restaurant industry.

  • Important pizza operator features and technology

  • Pizza occasions to target

  • Consumer interest in ingredients, toppings and menu innovation


This Report covers pizza sold in foodservice in the US. This market primarily consists of pizza-specific restaurants (eg Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars), but it also includes any restaurant, including c-stores, that serves pizza (eg a bar and grill that offers pizza in addition to other menu items).

While the retail pizza market is discussed within this Report, retail pizza (eg frozen pizza) is not the focus of this Report. For detailed analysis on retail pizza, please see Mintel’s Pizza: Incl Impact of COVID-19 – US, October 2020 Report.

The following terms are used throughout the Report:

  • Third-party delivery company: refers to any company that delivers meals from a restaurant to the consumer or enables carryout through online or mobile app ordering. These companies typically partner with restaurants and provide a platform (eg website, app) from which consumers can order food. Once the consumer orders food online, it is delivered by a contracted courier or can be picked up by the customer. Examples of these companies include: Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar, DoorDash, Ritual and others.

Economic and other assumptions

Mintel bases its expectations for economic growth on projections provided by the CBO, the FOMC, the Conference Board and other public sources. Consensus estimates forecast US GDP to increase by 6.5% in 2021. Unemployment has been forecast to decline to as low as 4.1% by the end of 2021 with an average of 5.7% for the year.

COVID-19: US context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. It was declared a global health pandemic and national emergency in early March 2020. Across the US, various stay-at-home orders were put in place in Spring 2020, and nonessential businesses and school districts closed or shifted to remote operations. The remainder of 2020 saw rolling orders, as states and local governments relaxed and reinforced guidelines according to the spread of the virus in each region.

Vaccine rollout began in December 2020. Mintel anticipates business operations in the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021 as vaccines are widely administered and social distancing restrictions and capacity limitations are relaxed.

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