LeBron James–backed pizza chain is America’s favorite: survey

Pizza may have originated in Italy, but ever since it entered the U.S. market, Americans can’t get enough. But which fast-food pizza joint is the best, according to Americans?

Market Force Information, a customer experience management company, conducted a survey of over 7,600 American adults to find out their favorite fast-food restaurants — and in the pizza category, one restaurant was the clear winner.

Blaze Pizza, a pizza chain backed by NBA champion LeBron James, took the top spot as America’s overall favorite fast-food pizza.

Participants were asked about their satisfaction levels with their most recent visit and their likelihood to recommend the restaurant to others. The results were then averaged to establish the Composite Loyalty Index (CLI) score. Only chains that received at least 100 customer responses were analyzed. Participants were also asked about their dining experiences, including delivery services, visit frequency, brand engagement, customer experience and problem experience.

While Papa Murphy’s and Marco’s Pizza may be less recognizable names, they ranked second and third place on the list, respectively. American pizza staples Domino’s (DPZ), Papa John’s (PIZZA) and Pizza Hut (YUM) all received lower than 50% on the CLI. Although all three of those chains did improve their scores from last year, however.

Dining in at pizza restaurants continued to decline, with take out continuing to gain traction. Fifty-five percent of customers chose to take out their pizzas, while 24% opted to dine in at the restaurant, 16% got delivery directly from the restaurant or a third-party deliverer, and 5% visited the drive through.

Calling to place orders for pizza declined, while using ordering from the website and mobile app soared. Only 29% of people choosing take out called the restaurant directly to place their orders, down from 35% in 2018 and 36% in 2017. Meanwhile, 26% of customers placed orders through the website, an increase from 24% last year and 21% two years ago. Mobile app usage also spiked to 18% of customers.

After analyzing customer complaints, the biggest issue was long wait times, with 34% of votes. Twenty-seven percent cited poor food and beverage quality, along with inaccurate orders. Blaze Pizza had the lowest problem experience among consumers, and Little Caesar’s had the highest problem experience.

Despite ranking low on the overall favorites list, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut are the best known for their loyalty program incentives. In addition, Domino’s topped the list, as the brand that drove the most awareness. Seventy-seven percent of customers surveyed were aware of Domino’s loyalty program, and 73% were aware of Domino’s branded app.

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LeBron James–backed pizza chain is America’s favorite: survey