Foodservice

4 Trends to Make C-Store Pizza Sales Sizzle

Photograph courtesy of Hunt Brothers Pizza

Once merely comprised of a roller grill and a few microwaveable options, c-store foodservice now often includes elevated options such as branded pizza, a consumer favorite that spells opportunity for retailers.

While many consumers want customizable meals when they dine out, when buying foods from convenience stores, a top priority is—unsurprisingly—convenience. This means that for retailers, the best way to boost interest in pizza is by offering an array of ready-to-eat options available. Take a look at these four on-trend pizza options that can help drive pizza sales.

Classic toppings can’t be beat

Technomic’s 2020 Pizza Consumer Trend Report reveals that consumers are creatures of habit—and their habits include tried-and-true pizza favorites. Forty-five percent of consumers say they typically order the same pizza every time they purchase it, and nearly half (49%) say they most-prefer plain cheese or one-topping pizzas. For retailers, this is a no-brainer—make sure the classics, including cheese, sausage and pepperoni, are available with pieces in the warmer for easy grab-and-go purchases.

According to Technomic, 19% of consumers who say they prefer pizzas that come with pre-chosen topping combinations. For these consumers, be sure to offer such options. For instance, Hunt Brothers Pizza’s Loaded Pizza (topped generously with Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ground beef, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, banana peppers and jalapenos) or Lotsa Meat Pizza® (topped with Italian Sausage, savory beef, tender bacon and zesty pepperoni) are great choices.

Among specialty pizzas, pizzas with lots of meat toppings are the No. 1 preference, followed by four-/six-cheese and loaded/supreme pizzas. Knowing consumers’ preferences for familiar favorite toppings makes it easy to choose the right pizza vendor for a store. By offering a mix of classic toppings that consumers will be looking for, such as those offered by Hunt Brothers Pizza, retailers set themselves up for success off the bat. 

Available vegetarian options

While Lotsa Meat Pizzas are the perfect choice for carnivores, c-stores should be sure to offer an option for veggie lovers, too. Hunt Brothers Pizza’s Veggie Pizza is packed with ripe bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, banana peppers and jalapenos—a flavorful, filling option that’s great for vegetarians as well as customers who just want a meat-free meal every now and then.

By making sure there’s a vegetarian choice that goes beyond plain cheese, retailers show their customers that flexitarian foodservice is a priority, not an afterthought.

Signature & limited time offerings set stores apart

According to Technomic’s Pizza report, 30% of consumers say they are more interested in trying pizzas with unique toppings or ingredients now than they were two years ago. For these consumers, retailers can offer signature pizzas or limited time offerings featuring intriguing flavor combinations to draw them in.

One way to do this is to think outside standard lunch or dinner offerings and offer Breakfast Pizza. Technomic’s Pizza report finds that 21% of consumers would be likely to purchase breakfast pizza if it were available, so having it readily available in the warmer when people want it can be a big opportunity for retailers. Hunt Brothers Pizza’s Breakfast Pizza is available year-round and is topped with scrambled eggs, chopped bacon, breakfast sausage and a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, and is the perfect way to enjoy pizza in the morning—or anytime!

As for limited-time offerings, or LTOs, Chicken Alfredo Pizza from Hunt Brothers Pizza features a creamy alfredo sauce, a blend of mozzarella, white cheddar and asiago cheeses and all-natural chicken breast. This Italian-inspired option is perfect for diners looking for something a bit different. Two other LTO options feature chicken as a topping: Buffalo Chicken Pizza is topped with a mixture of Buffalo wing sauce and ranch dressing, a blend of 100% part-skim mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheeses and a generous portion of 100% all-natural chicken breast; and Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza is topped with a creamy ranch sauce, a blend of 100% natural part-skim mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, all-natural chicken breast and hickory-smoked bacon pieces.

Meal pairings and craveable sides

Finally, c-stores should make sure to choose a branded pizza offering that also offers the sides consumers crave most when they eat pizza—chicken. Chicken is the No. 1 protein paired with pizza, according to Technomic’s Pizza report, with 41% of consumers saying they order chicken or buffalo wings when they get pizza. By offering chicken alongside pizza, retailers can encourage incremental purchases and boost basket size. Best of all, retailers don’t have to source their chicken from a second vendor—Hunt Brothers Pizza offers both Wings and WingBites® as the perfect complement to pizza. Available in four different flavors—Wings in Southern Style and Hot ‘n Spicy, and WingBites® in Home Style and Buffalo—there’s something for every taste preference.

For c-stores that have a branded pizza offering—or c-stores that want to have one—knowing what customers want most is crucial for boosting sales. By working with a vendor such as Hunt Brothers Pizza, which has the experience and expertise necessary for boosting c-store pizza program success, retailers can feel confident in their offerings. Hunt Brothers Pizza knows what works, and shares that with store partners. The brand offers 10 classic toppings, as well as specialty pizzas and chicken options, giving retailers the recipe for success. To learn more about adding Hunt Brothers Pizza to c-store foodservice, visit huntbrotherspizza.com.

This post is sponsored by Hunt Brothers Pizza

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