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Pizza: A firm favourite

April 30 2014

While it may traditionally be an Italian staple, there's no denying that Canadian consumers love pizza.

There are so many different ways to prepare, present and enjoy the food, which operators can implement to make their eaterie stand out. Here are some approaches that Canadian restaurateurs are employing to entice diners through their doors. 

Innovation

Chefs are keen to push the boundaries and see what new approaches they can come up with, when working with this versatile food.

Boston Pizza is offering a Pizzaburger on its menu, which is a combination of two very popular foods. 

Last year, the company stopped offering buns completely, meaning its sandwiches and burgers resembled pizzas even more. One such offering was a PizzaSalad, where the greenery is enveloped in pizza dough. 

Currently, the firm is running an initiative called Game Changers, where consumers are invited to cast their votes on potential new pizza-based offerings. Some of the options include a pizza cake, which constitutes six pizzas on top of each other, the pizza taco and even pizza mints, which are traditional mints in the shape of the Italian food.  

A good crust

While you will find some consumers who love everything about the food except the crusts, others can't get enough of the pizza's doughy edge.

The majority (76 per cent) cited how important the texture of the crust was in creating a good pizza, while 71 per cent said flavour was crucial and the same amount agreed the same was true for thickness. 

However, there is still room for innovation in this part of the food's creation. 

Flatbreads are being used by Boston Pizza in a bid to be healthier, while many foodservice operators are paying close attention to current food trends. 

Many pizza concepts - such as Pizza 73, Pizzaville, Pizza Pizza, Panago Pizza - are offering gluten-free crusts, which was voted the top trend in Restaurants Canada's recent survey. 

In addition, some crusts are being made out of cauliflower, zucchini and quinoa - the last of which has recently enjoyed a huge rise in popularity, mainly for its health qualities. 

Cooking methods

Even the way the pizza is cooked makes a big difference to consumers and how much they enjoy the food.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of those polled agreed that when the food is cooked in a brick oven, its taste is superior to that cooked in a standard, electric oven. Over two-fifths (41 per cent) said wood-fired pizza was preferable also. 

In addition, one-third (33 per cent) admitted they believed the wood-fire cooking method made the food a higher quality. 

However, while these efforts to come up with something unique and signature that will set a certain pizzeria apart from others, there is something still to be said for the simple, no frills approach to the food. 

Technomic found that two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians will happily order a cheese pizza or create their own with just a few toppings, suggesting variety is key to attracting as many customers as possible.