No matter how you slice it, pizza holds a special place in American hearts and meal plans. Notably, we celebrated the most recent Super Bowl by ordering millions of pizzas. With pizza comes plentiful variety, from toppings, to side items, to ways to order. 

Given the multitude of choices facing Americans as they contemplate the act of ordering pizza, what does this landscape of pizza delivery ordering look like today?

For many, a fresh pizza pie is just a phone call away.

According to new CivicScience data, 79% of U.S. adults order pizza at least a few times a year, and 8% report ordering at least once a week.

Among them, a plurality (39%) place their order directly with the restaurant via phone call. Not far behind them are the more than one-third (34%) who place their order through the restaurant’s website. Fourteen percent most often go to the restaurant itself to order, while 8% turn to a third-party app like DoorDash or Uber Eats. 

Pizza delivery demand is on the decline.

As the more severe days of the pandemic shift into the rearview, delivery demand for pizza appears to be falling. With inflation driving up the cost of orders and delivery fees for customers, paired with staffing shortages, national chains like Domino’s began incentivizing and emphasizing customer pickup.

When the pizza is ready, a majority say they most often handle picking it up themselves rather than have it delivered. Two-thirds say they either pick up or place an order while in-store for carry out, leaving 34% who report they most often opt for delivery.

That said, about 2-in-5 of those who order pizza report they’re ordering pizza delivery less frequently compared to a year ago – 25% said they’re ordering delivery ‘much less’ than last year. In contrast, only 15% reported ordering it ‘more’ and just 5% said they’re ordering ‘much more.’ Americans are nearly three times more likely to use pizza delivery less frequently than they are to use it more frequently compared to last year.

What’s in our pizza orders? Well… pizza.

For nearly half of American pizza orderers, all they’re looking for as they place an order is pizza, without any sides. As for sides, the most commonly ordered side is any variation of bread (such as breadsticks), of which more than a quarter order. Chicken most often accompanies pizza for 17% of orderers, while a dessert item is much less common. Six percent opt to skip pizza altogether in favor of other menu items.

Pizza restaurants have many creative ways to build out their non-pizza offerings. Papa Johns has its line of “Papadias,” a flatbread-style sandwich, and it recently added a Doritos Cool Ranch variety to the mix. Nearly one-quarter of Americans say it’s at least ‘somewhat likely’ they would give the item a try (n=7,971).

Interestingly those who ‘only order pizza’ most often are more likely to have an interest in trying the Cool Ranch Papadia than people who say they ‘mostly order menu items other than pizza’ (18% to 16%).

Pizza Hut is the top slice of the pizza wars.

A look at five major U.S. pizza chains shows Pizza Hut holds the top spot, the favorite for 33% of adults who enjoy national chain pizza in some fashion. Domino’s (24%) and Papa Johns (21%) are jockeying it out for second favorite. Little Caesars (which replaced Pizza Hut as the NFL’s official pizza sponsor last year) stands at 13%. The up-and-coming national brand Marco’s Pizza is still looking to gain a foothold in the race. 

Order up on these additional pizza insights:

  • High-income earners, Gen Z adults, and those who say Papa Johns is their favorite pizza chain are all the most likely to opt to order pizza via delivery. 
  • Gen Z adults are most likely to say they’re using pizza delivery ‘much more’ (14%) this year, while those aged 55 and above (28%) are the most likely to order pizza delivery ‘much less.’ 
  • Friday is by far the most common day of the week people report ordering pizza (43%). Unsurprisingly, Saturday is the next most common day at 19%. Behind them, Wednesday and Thursday at 9%, while Monday is the least common day for pizza (5%).

While Americans’ affinity for pizza is a constant, how and what we order certainly is not. Fortunately, the choices are plentiful to fulfill consumers’ changing tastes, preferences, and budgets.

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