Pizza Industry in Canada

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1. History

From its origins in the Naples-region of Italy, pizza has become a mainstay in the North American diet. Pizza arrived in the United States in the early 1900s thanks to a large population influx of Italian immigrants.

The popularity of pizza in the United States grew with the return of American troops to the U.S. after being stationed in Italy during World War II. Upon their return, the troops brought home to the U.S. a demand for the dish they had enjoyed in Italy, which expedited the mainstreaming of pizza into American cuisine, and some years later to the one Canada.

Because of this boom in demand, pizzerias began their expansion between the mid-1940s and early-1960s. Companies that were founded in this timeframe that would become mainstays and market leaders in the pizza business include Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, and Domino's.

Currently, the quick service market for takeout and delivery pizza is an especially saturated sector in Canada, as declared by Background Food service consultant Douglas Fisher. “I think it’s a really price-sensitive market and it’s really tough to penetrate it,” he said.

Key brands

Little Caesar’s
Pizza Company located in more than 20 international markets (presence in five continents). It is the world’s largest carry out pizza chain, with presence in Canada since 1969, with the opening of its first restaurant in Canada, in Waterloo, Ontario. Little Caesars added more stores in the world in 2009 than any other pizza chain.

Pizza Pizza
Founded in 1967, Pizza Pizza is an industry pioneer and Canada's number one pizza chain. With the 2007 acquisition of Pizza 73, a leader in western Canada, Pizza Pizza operates more than 600 traditional and non-traditional restaurants coast to coast.

Domino’s Pizza

Pizza Hut

Despite the popularity of ethnic cuisines, pizzas and other types of fast food remain popular areas for franchises. According to PMB, 85% of Canada’s population declare to have consumed pizza in the last month. The most consumed takeout/delivery brands are in order of importance: Pizza Hut, Pizza Pizza, Domino’s and Little Caesar’s. The pizza industry in Canada is so important that the month of October, has been designated National Pizza Month which has been celebrated in Canada since 2005 .

Product innovations
Traditionally, pizza franchises have only offered pizza and closely related items like breadsticks and other Italian dishes to their customers. But in recent years, many pizza carryout have increased their menus’ diversity by launching new product lines to further compete with other lower-cost food chains in a bid to retain or gain customers. A favourite amongst a demographic similar to pizza eaters, chicken wings, is one of the foods that have found its way onto the menu of many pizzerias, like Domino’s did. It’s important to note that the expanded menu options aren’t restricted to just food. Recently, a number of Pizza Hut locations began applying for a license to sell beer.

Overview of marketing efforts in the industry
Previously, coupons and promotions were sent via large mailing lists and were not targeted at a specific audience. Pizza companies are able now to take advantage of analytics provided by social media outlets to gather important marketing insights to fine tune campaigns. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association says “more than eight out of 10 operators declare social media is becoming a more important marketing tool.” And there is much more acceptance of restaurateurs emailing and texting their consumers. “Social media has become very important to the [entire restaurant] industry and social media users are much more active and likely to connect with restaurants online and post reviews,” he concludes.

2. Current Market Situation

The Canadian pizza industry worths $3 billion, where 35 percent is from take-out segment. It is a...
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