Which Pizza Toppings Boost Sales?
From vegetarians to meat eaters and picky kids to adventurous adults, pizza captivates diners across many demographic groups. In fact, Datassential reports 91 percent of consumers love or like pizza and are very likely to order it from a restaurant menu, giving the dish high potential to generate profits. But just because pizza is a menu classic doesn’t mean there isn’t room to innovate.
In fact, today’s restaurant diners demand variety. They are not afraid to try bold new combinations or to experiment with customized offerings. By giving diners a wide range of options, restaurants can actually increase the profitability of their pizza menus.
But which toppings are most likely to satisfy diners and generate sales? Here are our top contenders for offerings.
1. Global Favorites
It’s no secret that global cuisine has taken over the restaurant industry, and pizza is no exception. Though pizza may have Italian roots—even Americanized versions can get a global facelift that’s sure to draw in consumers interested in their next flavor adventure.
"Younger generations continue to shape the foodservice landscape,” says Nick Spondike, vice president of research and development at Kronos Foods Corp. “They view food as an opportunity for exploration. We find this holds true with pizza too. Pizza is the perfect opportunity for ethnic mash-ups, which combines more ‘exotic’ ingredients with a familiar menu item.”
Because pizza is already so familiar to consumers, it gives them a comfortable way to try new offerings. For example, why not blend pizza—an Italian staple—with other Mediterranean cuisines, such as Greek? Not only could Greek ingredients on a pizza differentiate a menu, but Greek cuisine as a whole has been on the rise throughout the industry in recent years.
Spondike says Greek pizzas are among the fastest growing menu concepts. “Toppings such as Gyros, Feta cheese, and Kalamata olives add bold flavor and make Greek food more approachable while satisfying the growing demand for new flavors,” he says.
2. Toppings for Specialized Diets
Growing lists of dietary restrictions are also proliferating the restaurant industry. Though some restaurant leaders express frustrations over a rise in consumers ordering foods modified for sensitive populations, such as those with gluten or dairy allergies or intolerances, consumers are demanding alternative or modified food choices. Failing to meet that demand hampers restaurants’ ability to draw in guests.
On the other hand, restaurants that offer these modified dishes can actually draw in consumers. When groups choose restaurants, it’s important that there are choices for everyone in the party, so that may mean restaurants need to offer vegan and vegetarian toppings, as well as gluten-free crusts. By making it easier for those with both medical and chosen dietary restrictions to find food, restaurants may find that they’ve activated a loyal fan base.
Datassential reports vegan cheeses are being adopted across the industry and may offer restaurants an intriguing option that satisfies not only those opposed to animal products, but also those with lactose intolerance or other dietary restrictions. Other brands might see success with alternative proteins that look and behave like meats but contain no animal products.
3. Trend Mash Ups
Does an egg sound like a natural fit for a pizza topping? Probably not, but don’t write it off too quickly—it’s not as strange as it sounds. Sausage and bacon are already popular pizza toppings, so it’s not a big leap to thing adding other breakfast ingredients just might be the sort dish diners want to see.
Consider for a moment the outstanding success of all-day breakfast in the last few years. Consumers—especially Gen Z and millennial diners—love breakfast foods anytime and anywhere, so why not make a breakfast pizza to satisfy these breakfast-obsessed guests by adding an egg and breakfast meats? In fact, Datassential reports 72 percent of consumers have heard of breakfast pizza and 41 percent have already tried it, so don’t be afraid to blend those trends.
Another one that’s ripe for pizza is spicy foods. Red pepper flakes are already ubiquitous across the industry, but according to Datassential, menu instances of chili peppers on pizza are also on the rise. Restaurants can also embrace other hot ingredients from around the industry. Add sriracha or other hot sauces for spicy pizza offering that’s sure to bring heat-seeking diners back for more.