April 18/Chicago/Press Release -- According to GuestMetrics, based on its POS database of over $8 billion in annual sales, the strong sales performance pizza displayed in table service restaurants in 2012 continued into 1Q13, driven largely by expanded flatbread offerings by restaurants.

“While overall food sales were flat both in 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 compared to the prior year, in analyzing the over 400 different types of pizza we track in our system, our data indicates pizza displayed robust growth,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “Looking at the performance of the pizza category in our system of table service restaurants, compared to the prior year, pizza sales were up 8.2% in 2012 and picked up further steam during the first quarter of 2013, growing 8.8%, resulting in pizza gaining about 20 basis points of share in the overall food category in table service restaurants both in 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.”

“To better understand the strength in the pizza category, we looked across over 400 different specific types of pizzas sold, and saw that flatbread pizza’s share of the overall pizza category grew from about 8% in 2011 to 14% in 2012, and for the first quarter of 2013, increased to around 17%,” said Peter Reidhead, vice president of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics. “To put the importance of this in perspective, while non-flatbread pizzas were 83% of total pizza sales in 1Q13, about 60% of the incremental growth for pizza was due to strength in flatbread pizzas.”

“While it’s true that overall food sales were fairly stagnant both last year and during the first quarter of this year, we believe this is strong evidence restaurant operators nonetheless need to be closely following the trends taking place within the category, otherwise they risk losing ground to competitors that are updating their offerings to better meet consumer tastes and preferences,” said Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics.