The pizza restaurant landscape in the U.S.
The United States pizza restaurant industry consists of both large pizza chains and smaller chains or independent restaurants. When looking at the distribution of restaurant pizza sales by restaurant type, over half of U.S. pizza restaurant sales were generated by large pizza chains in 2020, with the remainder accounted for by small chains or independent restaurants. The leading pizza chains by sales in the U.S. in 2019 were Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s. Domino’s Pizza came top of the ranking with over seven billion U.S. dollars in sales, but when looking at a ranking of the leading pizza chains by number of units in 2019, Pizza Hut took the lead with over seven thousand units. Pizza Hut is operated by parent company Yum! Brands, the third largest quick service restaurant company worldwide in 2020. The company also operates well-known fast food chains KFC and Taco Bell.
Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a major influence on the restaurant industry in the United States. Social distancing and hygiene restrictions caused problems with sit-down dining, resulting in many restaurants closing their doors to customers. Although the number of in person diners fell, the proportion of food service sales that were made via delivery increased and were projected to reach nearly nine percent of all food service sales by 2022. According to a May 2020 survey, the share of pizza restaurants that remained opened during the pandemic was over 90 percent. However, during the same survey they looked at changes in pizza restaurant sales during the pandemic and a majority of respondents, nearly 60 percent, reported that their sales were lower during this time.