Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fast Casual Over Hyped Again? This time it’s Fast Casual Pizza, Over Hyped or Not?

The Fast Casual craze that industry publications are continually writing about is it a trend or a media fad?  Many legacy restaurant consulting firms keep selling syndicated studies informing you how many legacy industry metric benchmarks tilt in favor of “Fast Casual” including in the pizza sector. Are they correct?
One company wanted to look at consumer behavior today in hopes of forecasting success within the pizza sector tomorrow.  Most syndicated studies measure yesterday’s metrics that are simply not consumer relevant today.
In a recent syndicated study titled 2014 Pizza Consumer Trend Report found that “75% of consumers eat pizza twice a month or more often, and consumers report an average of 3.4 pizza occasions per month. What’s missing is pizza customer behavior. 
In a new study conducted by the mystery-shopper firm A Closer Look found that “despite the proliferation of entrants in the largely on-premise better-pizza market, 80 percent of consumers prefer their pizza for takeout or delivery”
While regular readers of industry trade publications keep reading how Fast Casual everything including Pizza is the answer to the world problems, restaurant industry customer counts are in decline including at once touted fast casuals. 
Newbie’s entrepreneur’s hoping to become the Chipotle of the pizza sector looking for a strong lunch business to drive success in the Fast Casual sector, may be dismayed  to learn that “89% of pizza orders today are placed for dinner” the A Closer Look  survey of 2,000 consumers found.
The long term sustainability of Fast Casual Pizza requires monumental movement in consumer behavior, in consumer attitudes and shopping patterns. What is clear is the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared pizza space is strong and pizza consumers continue to focus, and favor the 5 P’s: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price.   Legacy chains the ilk of Domino’s, Papa Murphy’s, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s are not in threat any time soon. 
What is clear is consumers in the casual / fast casual dining space may trade burger frequency for pizza when available. The opportunity for Blaze, Perfect Pie, and others is bright, but not near as bright as it is for legacy chains that cater to consumers preferred day-parts, portability, and price competitive positioning.  specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche since 1991

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