This Is America's Favorite Pandemic Food

The pandemic has meant many things to restaurants around the country. To smaller shops, it's meant business has had to wind down and close, with Yelp saying that as many as 60 percent of establishments that shut their doors at the start of the pandemic won't be reopening (via CNN). Restaurant chains from Burger King to McDonald's, Dunkin', and Starbucks have also had to shutter several hundred locations they consider to be underperforming, while Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes have closed their doors permanently (via Cheapism).

And while chains like Chuck E. Cheese might have had to seek out bankruptcy protection as an unintended consequence of the pandemic, it seems to be the only pizza chain struggling during these times. CNBC reports that Domino's, Papa John's and even Pizza Hut have had to go on a hiring spree to meet demand triggered by people sheltering in place and quarantines.

America's favorite pandemic food is pizza

Fortune notes our national pizza obsession can be seen as a byproduct of uncertainty. ""I think we're all stressed, so it's ... the first thing we think of," says Caroline Nickerson, who moved back with her family during the pandemic. "Under normal circumstances, we wouldn't be ordering so much pizza. We'd go out to eat at different restaurants, and we'd be living in separate houses."  Another reason why pizzas have been flying out of the stores and into America's dining rooms is money. "From the budget perspective, many consumers have found themselves with smaller budget constraints due to the pandemic. To some extent, pizza is just one of the best options for many of us to feed a family at a lower cost," Shan Li, a professor of business at Baruch College, says.

The big winners in this uptick in demand have been Domino's and Papa John's, both of which were set up for takeout and delivery, and have been able to meet the business challenges posed by the pandemic. And because the pandemic appears to have settled in for the long haul, pizza may continue to be king of takeout food for some time to come (via QSR).