Keeping Up with Menu Trends

Monitoring popular menu trends is important when you’re trying to stay ahead of the competition. So I asked some of The Pizza Insider’s Blog Advisory Board members what trends they’re currently seeing in pizzerias and here’s what they had to say.

“We’re seeing increased consumer demand for multi-grain crusts, and words on the menu like “natural”, “organic”, “locally grown”. There is also something of a consumer shift towards the thinner, artisan-type crusts, too.” —Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann, American Institute of Baking

“Seasonal vegetables, modern butcher shop meats (morteau, ‘Nduja, mortadella, etc.), farm to table concepts. And why don’t more pizzerias offer breakfast pizzas for brunch on Sunday?” —Jonathan Porter, Chicago Pizza Tours

“The biggest thing on people’s minds is gluten free pizza and other products such as pasta and desserts. Gluten allergies are becoming common, and many guests are choosing a gluten free lifestyle. While most pizzerias cannot offer a 100% gluten free environment, it is becoming very important to consider the needs of this growing segment.” —John Arena, Metro Pizza

“Many shops are ditching their traditional soda machines for higher quality beverages. Although the margins often aren’t as high on these “artisinal” drinks, stocking your restaurant with a couple of alternative options can help you distinguish yourself from the pack. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to support local or independent vendors.” —Jason Feirman,

“Any pizzeria that doesn’t offer craft beers is asleep at the wheel. Dessert pizzas are also a no brainer; it’s so easy to use Nutella and other add-ons for a tasty dessert pie!” —Scott Wiener, Scott’s Pizza Tours

“The gluten-intolerant trend is growing and gaining momentum, along with consumers becoming aware of being lactose intolerant and reducing sodium in their diets. Consumers want operators to appeal to them with lower sodium, gluten-free, lactose intolerant menu items and it will continue to grow in popularity.” —Linda Duke, Duke Marketing

“We’re finding that off-menu specialty pizzas served as test slivers upon ordering can occupy the patron while they wait for their order. For example, a family comes in and orders two large pepperoni pizzas and upon paying selects one of the ‘Test slivers’ of specialty pizzas already prepared, such as ‘Frito Pie Pizza’ and is handed a comment card to complete. This gathers customer information for marketing as well as free feedback during idle times.” —Mike Rasmussen, Rasmussen Tax Group

What trends are you seeing? What are you trying? Has it been successful?