While many major players in the restaurant industry have faced challenges and obstacles amid the pandemic, others have been able to quickly adapt and thrive. As dining rooms were shut down across the country, concepts that are based on takeout and delivery did not have to brace for major operational changes. Pizza Guys has been able to remain resilient throughout the pandemic and even grow due to the socially distant and flexible nature of the business model. When full-service and fast-casual franchises frantically had to pivot to online ordering, pickup and delivery, Pizza Guys already had these processes in place.
There is a sense of familiarity that consumers have when ordering a pizza; it’s something everyone has done at some point in the past. When the pandemic hit and consumers weren’t sure what food options were even available in their area, pizza remained a go-to food option. People turned to Pizza Guys because of our high quality food, outstanding customer service, and wide array of pizzas. Our food is comforting and allows people to enjoy their meal from the security of their home. All of our locations have done very well in terms of sales since the pandemic, and we even opened our 70th location in Santa Clarita, California in July. The location that opened during the pandemic is now our best performing store, and the most successful grand opening that we have ever had.
Like all restaurant concepts, we have had to make some changes onsite to promote the safety of our staff and customers, but they have been easy to navigate due to our forward-thinking approach. As news of Covid-19 began to spread in early March, Pizza Guys’ corporate team was quick to create and implement safety protocols and procedures in all stores before the stay-at-home and shelter-in-place mandates were issued. Implementing protocols like employees wearing the proper personal protective gear, using tamper proof seals and installing plexiglass were simple changes to make since our brand already had a plan in place. Curbside pickup, contactless delivery, and cashless transactions are new features that we plan on keeping, even after COVID-19. As a delivery concept, all of these adaptations have easily allowed us to transition throughout the pandemic, while dine-in concepts faced more complications.
There are more challenges when it comes to keeping dine-in concepts clean for both the customer and the staff. These challenges, in turn, lead to higher risks. Our limited-contact approach through delivery and takeout makes cleaning the space easier, as there is only a small area where customers are allowed. Dine-in concepts have more face-to-face interaction, and restaurants with larger amounts of staff onsite at a time can pose additional risks. Our limited-contact model provides customers with the safest way to enjoy a meal from a restaurant.
Since the pandemic hit, there has been a shift in the consumer mindset about dining in restaurants. Of course, there will always be people who are not phased, but there will also be people who choose to support your business based on the options that you provide to make them feel safe. As the pandemic continues, takeout and delivery options are poised to continue growing and thriving because they appeal to any consumer. Some say that the restaurant industry will be forever changed, and that even after the pandemic people will be more cautious of where they choose to eat from and what processes these restaurants have in place. As we look to the future, concepts like Pizza Guys do not have to worry about the threat of dining rooms being shut down, and the past six months have proven that we can still remain successful, even if regulations continue to tighten.
The pandemic continues to make the future uncertain for many restaurant concepts out there, but delivery concepts will continue to soar. We are seeing an increase in not only sales, but national growth. As people have gotten laid off during the pandemic, many people are considering turning to franchising to make a career change. The concepts that have had consistent sales throughout the pandemic will stand out to these new prospective franchisees. Not only that, delivery concepts are more affordable, and don’t require the real estate and staff that other restaurant concepts need. Pizza Guys specifically is seeing an increase in franchise interest because the franchise model is affordable and reliable. Especially now, people are not looking to take financial risks, and want to invest in a business that has remained strong and had steady sales even throughout COVID-19.
The future for the restaurant industry is unknown, but we are confident in what it holds for Pizza Guys, even as the pandemic continues. The increased demand for delivery and takeout options has allowed delivery and take out concepts to remain resilient, and we are excited to see where this success will continue to take us.
Shahpour Nejad is the founder and CEO of Pizza Guys, a rapidly growing pizza chain with 70 locations throughout California, Nevada, and Oregon. He started his pizza journey in Cleveland, OH back in 1979 where he worked at a pizza restaurant while attending college. He worked his way up and became a partner at multiple pizza restaurants. When he moved to California in 1984, he brought his knowledge of traditional east coast pizza, modified it to California’s taste buds, and co-founded Pizza Guys.