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Limited-service, fast-casual pizza concepts growing: Technomic


Chicago – Limited-service chains are in the driver’s seat, and three of this year’s five fastest-growing chains are fast-casual pizza concepts, says Technomic’s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report.

According to the report, cumulative year-over-year sales for chains in their Top 500 ranking grew five per cent in 2015, while limited-service concepts significantly outpaced their full-service counterparts at a rate of 5.5 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

Contributing to this sales gap was a sizeable differential in unit growth. In 2015, limited-service chains in the Top 500 grew at a rate of 2.3 per cent, nearly tripling full service’s cumulative mark of 0.8 per cent, Technomic said in a news release.

With Panera’s move into the No. 10 position, the top 10 ranked chains were composed entirely of limited-service concepts for the first time, Technomic said. This grouping of the top 10 ranked chains amassed over $112 billion in sales volume in 2015 and grew at a cumulative clip of 3.8 per cent, laying a sturdy foundation for the limited-service segment as a whole. However, the most significant driver of growth continued to be the fast-casual segment, churning out sales and unit growth rates of 11.5 per cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively.

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The fast-casual pizza category vaulted into the spotlight this year with cumulative sales growth of 37 per cent. Three of this year’s five fastest-growing chains were fast-casual pizza concepts, with Pieology Pizzeria at 67 per cent sales growth, Blaze Pizza at 205 per cent and MOD Pizza, the year’s fastest growing chain, at 220 per cent. The more mature quick-service pizza segment had a solid year as well, growing its sales at a cumulative rate of 5.3 per cent, led by surges from Marco’s Pizza, Toppers Pizza and Dominos.

Technomic’s infographic highlights these trends.

The Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report provides chain rankings by sales volume and unit count, key industry trends and themes, growth-chain spotlights and a one-year sales forecast.