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Fries drive sales, profits for pizza restaurants

Photograph: Shutterstock

Pizza-restaurant operators can build upon the delivery and takeout success they have experienced this year by rethinking their menu strategies to drive increased sales and profits.

Offering high-margin side dishes such as fries can be a winning recipe for pizza restaurants, giving operators more flexibility to price their pizzas competitively and drive more returns on their fixed assets.

Some pizza restaurants have already leveraged this tactic to increase their sales and profits. Last year, more than 88 million servings of fries were delivered with pizza, according to data from NPD Crest. The research firm reported that one national pizza chain saw its French fry order volume increase by 30% year-over-year, despite a 5% decline in traffic during the same period. 

French fries represent a largely untapped source of income for operators who offer pizza. Fries are a staple of the burger QSR segment—they’re included in 27% of delivery orders from burger QSRs, compared to just 5% of pizza delivery orders. That translates into $23,000 in missed profits per year for each pizza restaurant operator, based on data from Datassential’s MenuTrends 2020 research. 

Fries have historically suffered from a bad reputation when it comes to sustaining their crispiness during delivery and takeout, but McCain® has solved that challenge with its clear-coated SureCrisp fries. SureCrisp fries maintain their crispiness for up to 30 minutes after cooking and are preferred by consumers over other clear-coat brands*, providing the perfect ride-along partner for pizza takeout and delivery. 

Consumers have turned to off-premise pizza as a convenient meal solution during the pandemic, with traffic up 125% over pre-pandemic levels, according to Datassential. At the same time, they are also increasingly interested in ordering fries, as the steady growth in fry orders at casual dining restaurants over the past five years has shown.

As consumers continue to opt for off-premise dining, their expectations have increased. The majority—82%—of consumers say it is important that the dishes they order for takeout or delivery are of the same quality as the dishes they order to dine in, according to Technomic’s 2020 Delivery and Takeout Consumer Trend report. In addition, more than half of consumers—57%—said “food quality upon arrival” is the most important consideration when deciding where to order food for off-premises consumption.

With SureCrisp™ fries on the menu, operators can rest assured that customers will enjoy both their pizza and their fries the way they were meant to be.

 Now, McCain® is offering a turnkey Free Fry promotional toolkit so operators can offer free fries with every pizza order. The toolkit includes a rebate for two free cases of McCain® SureCrisp™ fries, mini pizza boxes and stickers for fry packaging and customizable social media posts to get the word out.   

*Claims based on McCain Proprietary Quantitative Consumer Research, conducted by a 3rd party in October 2018. Consumers tested were 18-54 years old in four cities in CA, IL, NY and TX, who consider themselves regular users of fries in restaurants. Products tested were 3/8” (cooked measurement) straight cut fries for both McCain® SureCrisp™ and nationally branded clear coat competitors in a blind tasting. All items were prepared in accordance with manufacturer cooking instructions. Testing scenarios were 5 minutes out of a fryer, 20 minutes off heat on a plate, and 30 minutes off heat in a delivery setting (product in a fry sleeve, placed in a paper bag and then inside of a closed insulated bag). Conditions for actual delivery vary by delivery driver protocol, distance and climate.

This post is sponsored by McCain® Foodservice

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