February 9, 2022
While invented in Italy, Americans consume more pizza than any other nation. A poll conducted by the restaurant chain CiCi’s Pizza and reported in the New York Daily News found that the average American will consume at least 6,000 slices during the course of a lifetime and that one-third of those who eat pizza do so at least once a week. With February 9 observing National Pizza Day, we decided to look at the three leading publicly traded purveyors of those cheesy, saucy pies.
Let’s start with the industry leader, Domino’s Pizza Inc. (Tii:DPZ). Founded in 1960 by Tom Monaghan and his brother, James Tom, the pizza empire began with one location near Eastern Michigan University’s campus in Ypsilanti. It has since grown to a global enterprise of more than 18,300 stores in over 90 markets, making it the largest pizza company in the world. Domino’s stores across the globe sell an average of 3 million pizzas a day, with more than half of those sales coming from outside the U.S. With all due respect to the local pizza spot, Domino’s popularity can’t be denied. Case in point, the pizza giant has experienced 111 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales growth.
With more than 18,000 restaurants as of 2020, Pizza Hut, a Yum! Brands, Inc. (Tii:YUM) company, is neck-and-neck with Domino’s as the pizza industry leader. Founded in 1958 by brothers and college students Dan and Frank Carney in Wichita, Kansas, Pizza Hut started with a single location after the duo borrowed $600 borrowed from their mother. Since then, it has grown into an industry powerhouse – and it’s still growing. Same-store sales for Pizza Hut increased 9% for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2021. Looking ahead, the pizza purveyor is focusing on efficiencies. Last year, Yum! Brands acquired Dragontail Systems Limited, a provider of technology solutions for the food industry whose platform is focused on optimizing and managing the entire food preparation process from order through delivery.
Rounding out the top three in the pizza restaurant chain is Papa John’s International, Inc. (Tii:PZZA). Founded in 1983 by John Schnatter, who shortly after earning his business degree from Ball State University, returned home to Jeffersonville, Indiana, knocked down the broom closet in his father’s tavern, installed an oven and began delivering pizza out of the back of the bar. Papa John’s now has more than 5,500 restaurants in 50 countries and territories as of Sept. 26, 2021. Business is strong for the pizza-maker, with revenues increasing 8.4% to $512.8 million in its third quarter. Looking ahead, expect the company to continue expanding overseas. Last year, Papa John’s expanded into Sub-Saharan Africa with its newest franchise partner, Kitchen Express LTD. Kitchen Express LTD will open 60 Papa John’s restaurants in Kenya and Uganda through the partnership.
Pizza has become an American tradition. In fact, Domino’s stores across the country usually see increased orders during major American sporting events such as Super Bowl and March Madness. So with the Big Game coming up, consider taking part in that great American tradition and grabbing a slice – or an entire pie.