Gourmet Pizza

You probably already know that the battle for market share in the pizza segment has become increasingly important in the slow economy.  The foodservice pizza industry can easily be broken down into three primary categories: Budget Pizza, Fast Casual Pizza, and Gourmet Pizza.  Gourmet Pizza can be found almost anywhere as its popularity increases; however, most often you will find it coming from the kitchens of well-versed chefs who use fine ingredients.  Pizza has earned a place on the menu of many high-end restaurants.  Consumers demand it, it sells, and it has a higher check average.

Three Distinct Market Segments:

Budget Pizza: Targeted to be fast, hot and inexpensive.  Coupons and deals drive the sales and frequently kids make the decision to order.  Menu expansion (wings for example) is an attempt to grow the unit sales because pizza sales have peaked to their customers.

Fast Casual Pizza: While cost is always important, quality comes first and this pizzeria segment serves the standard 15 to 20 toppings.  Many operators are considered the local favorite and their customers are loyal.  There are pizza operators in this segment producing gourmet pizzas, but in many cases the menu has been the same for years.  Since there is a lot of success, there is no reason to change.  Sales remain pretty stable and the operator sees the same customers week after week.  Life is good!  Don’t forget, however: “If you stand still long enough, you will fall over in time.”

Gourmet Pizza: Gourmet pizza offers an exciting alternative that an operator can phase into.  By dedicating a small section of the menu to gourmet selections and experimenting, you may find your sales growing and your customer base expanding.  The refined palates of aging baby boomers creates a demand for gourmet pizza, as do the kids who grew up on budget pizza and are ready to leap into something better.  Loosely defined, gourmet can include both authentic ingredients and traditional recipes, like Pizza Margherita, or new creations using high-end products.

Chefs and knowledgeable restaurateurs have recognized the need to serve up America’s favorite food in a classic and authentic way, as well as by adding some unique twists.  A growing number of independent restaurants are using the pizza crust like an artist uses a canvas and colors, and the resulting creations have never tasted so great.  Get creative and experiment!  The best way to market gourmet pizzas is to offer an individual-sized crust.  The customer can create his or her own pizza, giving them a sense of creativity and satisfaction.

Gourmet ingredients have proven themselves in the test of time and are here to stay.  Try some of these fine ingredients in your own masterpieces.

Sauces: E.V. Olive Oil, Infused Oils, Pomodoro Sauce, Bechamel Sauce, Thai Sauce

Proteins: Smoked Duck, Parma, Prosciutto, Ham, Capacolla, Saliccia, Parm Cotto Ham, Bresaola, Speck, Sliced Meatballs, Marinated Chicken, Marinated White Anchovies, Tuna in Olive Oil, Clams, Assorted Wild Game Sausages, Assorted Gourmet Sausages (such as Chicken Parmesan Apple)

Cheese: Bufala Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella, Italian Cheese Blends, Provella, Smoked Provolone, Ricotta Salata, Mascarpone, Asiago, Caciocavallo, Fontina, Aged Romano, Piave, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Vegetables: Artichoke Hearts, Cipolline Onions, Calamata Olives, Caponata, Mufalata, Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Pestos, Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant, Grilled Red & Yellow Peppers, Dried Figs, Almonds, Cashews, Arugula, Broccoli, Asparagus, Fresh Basil

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