Retail Update: Consumers Flocking to Pizza Joints

As retailers and restaurants open up to greater capacity, consumers have apparently been starved of one type of cuisine: Italian food, specifically pizza. According to foot traffic data from Zenreach, pizza restaurants “have seen an increase in foot traffic of nearly 50 percent nationwide since the beginning of 2021,” the company said in a research report.

On a regional and city level, Los Angeles experienced a 156 percent gain in foot traffic year-to-date while the entire state of California swelled 120 percent. Chicago pizza restaurant foot traffic is up 85 percent, nudging out New York with 82 percent. State-wise, Zenreach said New York has seen an increase of 92.2 percent in traffic, which is well ahead of Illinois’ 80 percent gain.

Other notable data was Texas with a gain of 29 percent. But Florida only experienced an 8.8 percent increase.

“Nationwide, we have seen an increase of 49 percent in restaurant foot traffic this year to pizza and Italian restaurants which bodes well for our economy,” said Megan Wintersteen, vice president of marketing at Zenreach. “With indoor mask mandates starting to lift, Zenreach expects these numbers will continue to increase.”

According to trade publication Pizza Magazine’s 2021 Pizza Power Report, global pizza sales are up about 11 percent to $132 billion. The publication noted in its analysis that the industry was hit hard by restaurant closures at the onset of the pandemic, but bounced back quickly despite the recession. The report stated that the pizza industry “as a whole turned out to be both recession-proof and pandemic-proof.”

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