Pizza in the Age of Delivery

October is National Pizza month and with the rise of third-party delivery providers, global pizza players have had to adapt their models to account for increased outside competition. International limited-service pizza chains have invested heavily in technology to create seamless ordering and delivery processes, while independent restaurants have worked to incorporate health and wellness trends into their menus. Our recent report, ‘Pizza in the Age of Delivery,’ outlines the top 5 ways pizza companies are distinguishing themselves from the competition. This article looks at how three trends – fresh and functional ingredients, automation in preparation and delivery and the importance of convenience – all play an important role.

Pizza: Non-exempt from Trends

Pizza will undoubtedly remain an indulgence food for the foreseeable future. However, some brands are using health trends and an increasing demand for freshness to set themselves apart in the age of delivery. Restaurants may choose to have seasonal pizza menus with locally sourced ingredients creating the opportunity for independent restaurants with greater flexibility to make menu changes. Consumers are also looking for foods that are functional and fit into the latest diet fads. In response, pizza companies have incorporated functional food trends to create items such as CBD, cauliflower crust, and keto-diet pizzas.

Cost Increases Drive Automation Innovation

Labour and rental costs continue to rise in North America and Western Europe; regions that also have the world’s highest pizza consumption. As such, large pizza companies are turning to automation to increase productivity and decrease the number of employees needed to create and deliver limited-service pizza. Companies have begun implementing automation for the production, ordering, and delivery of pizzas. Companies like Little Caesar’s utilise robotic arms to streamline the pizza baking process without sacrificing consistency and quality. Though they are not quite ready for human passengers, Domino’s began piloting automated vehicle delivery this fall and has already successfully used robots to deliver in other parts of the US.

Convenience is King

Now that there are endless options for delivery, thanks to third-party platforms, pizza companies have had to innovate to increase the speed of direct ordering and make delivery more seamless. New smartphone apps allow customers to save their favourite orders and their credit card information. Some brands even offer one touch and voice ordering. Other pizza restaurants like Mod Pizza are facilitating the demand for convenience is by creating dine-in quality pizza with fast-casual branding, which appeals to busy millennials wanting customised and affordable pizzas in minutes.

Unlike other types of foodservice, pizza companies already had the infrastructure for delivery. However, pizza companies have to distinguish themselves through the incorporation new ingredients, seamless ordering, and speedy delivery in order to compete with third-party providers. National Pizza Month gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on some of the latest innovations in pizza ranging from CBD toppings to automated vehicle delivery.