When it comes to pizza, crust is king. According to Technomic, Chicago, the most-popular crusts at limited-service restaurants (LSRs) are thin and crispy. According to the 2016 “Pizza Consumer Trend Report,” 81 percent of consumers say crust texture is important in creating a good pizza, and 77 percent crust flavor is important. Gluten-free pizza crusts have also been trending, with 37 percent of younger consumers looking for them on menus (it’s also the top “health” claim in pizza today).
Other top trends tapped by Technomic include bacon-filled pizza crusts, breakfast pizzas, pizza handheld products and dessert pizzas. Three up-and-coming pizza chains to watch: Pizza Rev, Pie Five Pizza Co. and Toppers Pizza, while Marco’s Pizza saw the most growth last year for pizza chains earning over $200 million (34 percent sales growth in 2015), and MOD Pizza took the top slot for chains under $200 million (220 percent sales growth).