Pizza Chains Prepare For Busy Halloween

Pizza delivery chains are gearing up for one of their biggest nights of the year on Monday with Halloween-theme discounts aimed at stealing marketshare.

In terms of delivery sales, Halloween ranks among the top five nights of the year, pizza chain operators say, along with Super Bowl Sunday, the night before Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Convenience is a key factor, said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino's Pizza LLC, based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Families are too busy getting their trick-or-treaters ready and they're constantly answering the door, so there's not much time to make dinner," he said. "We also find that we're popular at Halloween parties for adults and kids."

National Restaurant Association research indicates that about 20 percent of Americans say they will order takeout or delivery from a restaurant on Halloween.

Young adults ages 18 to 34 who were surveyed were even more likely to order takeout or delivery, with 33 percent saying they planned as such, while 28 percent of families with children plan to order in.

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Historically, pizza is one of the top choices for those who want dinner delivered on trick-or-treating night.

While promotions among the big pizza chains may vary by market, most are offering systemwide specials to capture Halloween diners.

Pizza Hut, for example, has a deal for any pizza — size or topping — for $10. Customers who sign up for the Hut Lovers email program by Nov. 1 will receive a free order of cinnamon sticks with their next order, said Chris Fuller, a spokesman for the chain, a subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc.

Halloween sales, Fuller said, are "definitely bigger if it falls on a weekend, but we'll still see a huge spike on Monday."

For Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John's International Inc., the chain already had a "Monday Mania" promotion of any large pizza for $8.99 that started mid year and plays into Monday Night Football.

For Halloween, the $8.99 deal was extended to include Sunday and Monday. Families can also order two large one-topping pizzas for $14.

On the Friday before Halloween, Papa Rewards members will receive as a treat five free points redeemable for menu items, with no purchase necessary.

Domino's is also focusing on an existing promotion of its new Artisan pizza line, whose pies are available for $7.99 each.

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Many restaurants are also offering an Early Week Pick-Me-Up, with large pizzas priced at $7.99 and two medium, two-topping pizzas for $5.99 each.

Papa Murphy's Take-N-Bake pizza is a popular Halloween hit, which this weekend will bring back its annual Jack o' Lantern pizza, a large pepperoni pie shaped like a smiling carved pumpkin.

Since Papa Murphy's pizzas are a bake-at-home product, Halloween is typically busy all day at the chain's 1,270 locations, not just in the evening.

"You can take advantage of it early in the day and avoid the rush," said Jenifer Anhorn, Papa Murphy's chief marketing officer.

Prices for the holiday pizza vary by market, but some regions are offering pies for as little as $5, she said.

Since Monday is a workday, however, Anhorn said Papa Murphy's is getting a jump on the holiday.

"It's available through the weekend, and the weekend will be big," she said.

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