How much do local pizza restaurants make, and what are the top pizza days of the year?

In this six minute read:

  • How much money do pizza restaurants make on a typical day?
  • Which days of the week are biggest for pizza restaurants?
  • The busy (and slow) seasons for pizza places
  • The biggest days of the year for pizza restaurants (and the surprising impact of National Pizza Day)
  • How to make the most out of busy (or slow) seasons if you own or manage a pizza restaurant

If there were a contest for the most popular food in America, it would be hard to bet against pizza claiming the top spot. With tons of unique styles and near limitless topping combinations, there’s a perfect pizza out there for everybody.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Americans spend a lot of money on pizza every year.

According to Restaurant Dive, the U.S. pizza industry is worth nearly $46 billion in revenue. The top national pizza chains claim 60% of the market, which leaves a lot left over for regional and local pizza restaurants.

Which had us wondering, how much do local and independent pizza restaurants make on a normal day? And what days of the year do Americans most love hitting up their local pizza joint? And what about National Pizza Day? Does it move the needle?

We analyzed credit card transaction data at local pizza restaurants from across the country to answer these questions and more.

How much do pizza restaurants make on an average day throughout the year?

We started by analyzing the average day at local pizza restaurants throughout the country for all of 2019.

To do this we looked at the average number of transactions on a given day throughout the year, what the average ticket price was per transaction, and how much revenue the average pizza restaurant brought in. Here’s what we found:

On any given day throughout the year, the average pizza restaurant we analyzed brought in about $1,253 in revenue. They processed around 50 transactions at $24.84 per ticket.

Pizza restaurants, of course, can range from quick and cheap “simple” pies, to high-end specialty eateries. So the numbers are merely an average.

The busiest pizza restaurants in our study processed nearly 200 transactions on average per day, while some of the slower pizza places averaged just a handful of transactions per day.

Average ticket also varied wildly—with some pizza restaurants averaging under $10 per ticket, and others averaging as much as over $70 per ticket.

What are the biggest days of the week for pizza restaurants?

The numbers above give a good look at the average overall day, but not all days of the week are the same for pizza restaurants.

As you might expect, weekends are huge for pizza restaurants across the country. Over half (54%) of all revenue at local pizza restaurants comes in on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

The average pizza restaurant processed 68 transactions on Fridays, making it easily the busiest day of the week in terms of orders placed. Saturdays, meanwhile, see the largest average ticket of the week at $27.51 per ticket.

When you look weekdays, meanwhile, you can see a steady day-over-day uptick in transactions as the week progresses. Suggesting, perhaps, that Americans increasingly seek relief in a slice of pizza as the work week drags on.

What time of year do pizza restaurants make the most money?

It’s clear that weekends are big for pizza restaurants, but what about certain weeks and months of the year? Are there “busy seasons” when it comes to grabbing slice of pizza? Or do Americans like pizza equally throughout the year?

We answered this question by looking at the average amount of total money being spent at pizza restaurants during each week throughout the year.

Pizza restaurants are particularly slow to start the year, perhaps as millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and swear off pizza “for good.”

But, as you can see, sales quickly increase in February and through the spring before reaching a consistent high throughout the spring and summer. Sales start decline slightly during the fall months, although we see spikes during Halloween and again to close out the year.

What are the biggest days of the year for pizza restaurants?

Spring and summer are home to the busiest months of the year, but the fact is that pizza restaurants stay consistently busy regardless of the season. So we next wanted to see which days of the year were the biggest.

In order to find out, we decided to looks at the “biggest pizza days” a few different ways:

  • Biggest overall days: the days when total revenue had the biggest increase vs. the average day
  • Biggest “surprise” increase days: the days when total revenue had the biggest increase vs. a comparable day of the week
  • Busiest transaction days: the days when pizza restaurants saw the highest number of average transactions
  • Most expensive ticket days: the days when pizza restaurants had the highest average ticket price

The top five days of the year for pizza restaurants by total revenue

Not much separated the top days of the year for pizza restaurants by total spending vs the average day. Each of the top 5 days were all Fridays in spring and early summer.

This shows spring and summer mark the seasonal high point for pizza restaurants and emphasizes just how big Fridays for pizza places across America. In fact, each of the top 32 days of the year were all Fridays.

Put simply: the average Friday sees Americans spending more money at pizza restaurants than any major holiday or event during the year.

An important caveat, of course, is that these figures only include local pizza restaurants of all shapes and sizes. The top days at major national delivery chains might include a lot more major holidays.

The top five days of the year for pizza restaurants by total revenue vs a similar day of the week

Another way to look at the biggest days for pizza restaurants is to see which days saw the biggest increase in total revenue compared to what the restaurant might have otherwise expected on that day.

For example, while Friday, May 31st was the biggest day of the year in terms of total spending, it was only a 9% increase vs a typical Friday, so it might not have felt particularly busy at most pizza restaurants.

So here are the five days that saw the biggest increase in revenue when compared to the weekday average:

Here you see the holidays and events that move the needle for pizza restaurants on days that might otherwise remain quite slow.

New Year’s Eve was the clear winner here, with a 57% increase in revenue compared to a typical Tuesday. Thanksgiving Eve was also big, with Americans clearly choosing to take a night off cooking before the big day. Halloween, the day before Independence Day, and Valentine’s Day each round out the top five.

Super Bowl Sunday just missed the cut as the 6th biggest day. It was the biggest Sunday of the year as well, with a 21% increase in revenue compared to a typical Sunday, no small feat considering Sundays are already the third biggest day of the week.

Read more: Super Bowl Sunday: a boost or bust for local restaurants & bars?

So while these days might not see total revenue numbers as large as any given Friday, they’re days that prove to drive lots diners to local pizza places regardless of the day of the week.

The top five days of the year: average transactions and average ticket

Finally, we wanted to see which days of the year saw pizza restaurants process the most average transactions, and which days saw customers spending the most per-ticket.

The top ticket days of the year were all around Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. This is likely due to larger order sizes for big family gatherings, or perhaps even higher-end restaurants being more popular on those days.

Unsurprisingly, the busiest days in terms of average transactions were all on Fridays, including the first two Fridays of the March Madness tournament.

Our key takeaway: if you own a local pizza restaurant, expect bigger orders during the holidays and major events, and bank on increased foot traffic on Fridays during the springtime.

How big is National Pizza Day at local pizza restaurants?

Finally, we wanted to take a closer look at National Pizza Day, which takes place each year on the 9th of February. National Pizza Day 2020 falls on a Sunday, so the numbers will likely look somewhat different from National Pizza Day 2019, which was a Saturday.

As you can see, National Pizza Day’s success came entirely from an increase in customers, as the average ticket price was actually lower than on a typical Saturday. This suggests that pizza restaurants would be well-advised to tie the holiday to special deals and discounts.

Strictly speaking, National Pizza Day wasn’t huge. It was the 71st biggest day of the year in terms of total revenue. But, remember, February is one of the slowest months of the year for pizza restaurants. Any lift in revenue on February 9th compared to the annual average on a Saturday is no small feat.

National Pizza Day may not be on par with Halloween or New Year’s Eve, but it appears the unofficial holiday actually does drive additional business to local pizza places.

Which cities saw the biggest increases in revenue on National Pizza Day?

National Pizza Day may not be particularly huge for local pizza joints nationwide, but are there parts of the country where National Pizza Day is a particularly huge day? We dove even deeper into the data to find out which cities saw the biggest increase in revenue compared to their typical Saturday.

Pizza restaurants in Santa Rosa experienced an impressive 48% increase in revenue compared to a typical Saturday, easily the biggest increase in our analysis. February 9th was so big in San Antonio and Las Vegas that it was actually the #2 day of the year overall!

It’s important to note, of course, that there may be other factors contributing to February 9th being huge at these particular cities. But no matter where you live, you should consider hitting up your favorite local pizza place on National Pizza Day.

If you own or manage a pizza restaurant: here’s how to get the most out of the busy season, and get more customers when things slow down

No matter how you slice it, Americans are crazy about pizza. But, as we’ve just discovered, pizza restaurants can’t always rely on our shared love for cheesy goodness to drive consistent business from day-to-day and week-to-week.

Knowing which days of the week, month, or year are the days when you should expect larger orders or increased foot traffic can help you know when and how to advertise to new and returning customers alike. Restaurant owners should come prepared for days like National Pizza Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Christmas Eve, etc. with special package deals, discounts on group-orders, specialty pizzas, and more.

Restaurant owners should also be prepared to take advantage of the surge in total number of transactions. Take advantage of the days/times that bring an increase in new customers by using creative solutions to capture customer information so and inviting them back with a special discount or deal later down the road.

Check out our post on 4 key elements of an effective marketing strategy for your restaurant for even more ideas and suggestions.

Check out a few of our helpful guides for restaurant owners:

Finally, check out how Womply’s reputation management software helps make all this easier while saving you time and money. Womply has helped businesses like yours increase revenue by 20%, see 22% more repeat customers, and save 10 hours of time per week. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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