Why 2016 Was a Great Year for the Pizza Industry

Pizza has been an American stable for as long as most people can remember. It's usually affordable, convenient, tasty, offers variety, and can feed large numbers,

Because of all of this, when the economy is sluggish, pizza sales usually see a jump. While, other segments see less success.

2016 was an unsteady year for restaurants with the presidential election. Not to mention, the competition from low commodity prices making grocery prices much lower. 

However, 2016 was a great year for pizza chains. 

Domino's, for example, saw same-store sales spike by 13% in the most recent quarter. The chain's shares are up by 45% this year.

Papa John's also performed well. This pizza chain saw an increase, with 5.5% growth in same-store sales in North American and its shares are up by a whopping 60%. 

We already mentioned many of the reasons why the pizza segment continues to thrive in a slower market, but there was another element at play here in 2016. Technology. 

"The reasons are pizza is cheap, fast and increasingly easy to get -- thanks to user-friendly mobile-ordering apps and technology that lets diners order from Facebook, Twitter and Apple TV. That's helped insulate pizza chains from a shift away from eating out," writes "AdAge."

So the brands that are ahead of the curve in terms of app technology, like Domino's, saw even more of an increase in sales. 

"Restaurants that have succeeded this year have been the ones that have addressed convenience," said Stephen Anderson, an analyst at Maxim Group to "AdAge." "The pizza chains have done a good job at this."

So will other quick-serve giants take a page out of the pizza chain's book to catch up? 

It looks like 2017 is going to be a busy year for restaurant brands. Both McDonald's and Wendy's are making a big push to incorporate convenient technologies. 

"McDonald's Corp., the world's biggest restaurant company, said last week it's testing delivery service at about 200 Florida locations. It also still doesn't have a nationwide loyalty program, which pizza chains have used to keep customers coming back.," writes "AdAge."

"Wendy's says it's working on mobile ordering. And while Panera Bread offers so-called Rapid Pick-Up, where customers can order ahead and quickly grab food off a dedicated shelf, the technology is still a far cry from the likes of Domino's."

Will these other chains perform better after implementing newer technologies? Read more