Pizza Sales Up Over Fast Casual, Quick Service Restaurants Amid Coronavirus

Restaurants have been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with a projected $240 billion loss in sales through the end of the 2020. But not every type of food service is set up for failure. New data shows that pizza places are faring quite well against other segments in the industry.

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According to research market firm Sense360, year over year sales are down 20% for quick service, 33% for fast casual and only 5% for pizza. This includes drive-thru, pickup, takeout and first-party delivery, but not third-party delivery like DoorDash, Grubhub and UberEats.

So, why pizza? It's an inexpensive comfort food that travels well, says one expert.

"There's no doubt that when people are under stress, they seek comfort of some sort," Fred LeFranc of Results Thru Strategy told Nation's Restaurant News. "If the food travels well, the price is good and satisfies the urge, people are going to go for it [even during a pandemic]. That's why casual and fine-dining restaurants are struggling so much. It's hard to think of your beautifully plated steak showing up in a takeout box."

As far as some of America's favorite pizza chains go, Papa John's is outperforming competitors including Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesars, where transaction volume is down, but check size is up. This is true across the industry: When they're not cooking at home, people are spending more money per takout order, doing so for larger party sizes and perhaps consolidating trips.

So, what about third-party delivery? Research shows that people are ordering pizza straight from the source, but it's not the most popular takeout item on UberEats. Here are the most popular delivery dishes in every state during the coronavirus pandemic.