Pizza – The Next Hot Concept for Fast Casual

Pizza – The Next Hot Concept for Fast Casual

With more than 65,000 units and $40 billion in annual U.S. sales, the fast casual pizza segment is becoming the new darling of the restaurant industry.

New players are rapidly entering this growing segment – it’s estimated that 10% of all restaurant openings in the U.S. are now pizza concepts.

In the past 2 years alone, more than two-dozen fast casual pizza concepts have sprouted up across the country, all with aggressive growth plans.  

Defined as made-to-order, custom, fresh pizza served in a contemporary atmosphere, fast casual pizza concepts’ positioning provides a strong platform to tap into the current better-for-you trend as seen in the proliferation of better burger and better sandwich concepts.

Not only are these players courting the lunch customers who are looking for fresh artisan-style pizza made in under 5 minutes, but they are also upping the ante by complementing their customizable pizzas with craft beers or in some cases a full bar.

Adding these menu options offers fast casual players a tremendous opportunity to attract both younger demographics as well as dinner customers – a daypart that’s the holy grail for operators as fast casual restaurant traffic usually skews heavily toward lunch.

However, while this niche segment is brimming with opportunities and room for innovation, it’s essential to remember that the winners in the better pizza category will be those brands that best create a unique position in the marketplace.

Just like the other segments of fast casual, there are  winners and there are losers, and it’s the brands that best address the needs of their customers that succeed – meaning that the new kids on the block need to do their homework to really understand what their customers are looking for and who their target buyers are.

Strategies for Success

Because individual consumers want and expect different things through all channels, whether that is at your restaurant or through your marketing messages, it all comes down to knowing exactly who your customer is.

By analyzing customer data, you can develop detailed customer profiles that offer a wealth of knowledge not just in the realm of demographics/psychographics, but also on where customers live and how far they’re willing to drive to any given location.

As a result of this consolidated view of the customer, you can then identify actionable insights in a timely manner, which in turn will virtually eliminate guesswork when scouting new potential restaurant locations, launching new menu options or adding new service lines.

Taken a step further, by arming yourself with these insights, you can tailor marketing efforts, messaging and in-store campaigns to specific audiences instead of relying on generalizations about the “average” customer.

While going beyond loyalty program data, email lists and transaction records to form a complete 360 view of your customer is a difficult challenge, Buxton is here to help. Find out how now.