No one really expects an 80s food court pizza to satisfy our evolved fast food palates in 2021, but it’s not every day that “bad pizza” gets blamed. for the decline of an entire franchise. While there are several converging factors that have contributed to Sbarro’s decrease in appeal and presence in the fast food scene, a popular opinion seems to be that the chain is in decline thanks to its substandard food. .
Sbarro gained popularity with the proliferation of shopping malls across the country. In fact, the company has built its empire almost entirely as a food court brand, opening a large volume of small food outlets located primarily in retail environments. At its peak in the 2000s, the chain had more than 1,000 locations in the United States and dozens of other countries. But a recession, two bankruptcies and several decades later, Sbarro has only 600 locations (350 of which are national) and is increasingly lose balance against a sea of competitors.
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While the current management plans to focus on expansion In the niche category of ‘Impulse Pizza Opportunities’, which will include the growth of what remains of US malls and transportation and entertainment venues, a major issue with Sbarro remains: operational convenience takes precedence over food quality . Meanwhile, customers are reluctant to spend their money below average if they don’t have to. After all, big national chains like Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut have thousands of other branches across the country, making Sbarro’s job to stay relevant all the more difficult.
By analyzing the decline of the Sbarro brand, creator of Youtube content Companion man asked viewers to consider if they liked the chain’s pizza, which has a reputation for underwhelming and expensive.
“Sbarro: Everyone’s favorite pizza to eat when you’re at a rest area 80 km from the nearest pizza,” one Youtube user commented, and many more agree. “Charging $ 4.89 for ONE slice of pizza that was left under a hot lamp for 48 minutes. That’s what happened,” replied another to explain Sbarro’s reputation.
Similar feelings about their pizza can be found on Reddit.
Experts seem to agree that Sbarro’s business model of not serving fresh, made-to-order food, but settling for pre-made pizzas that have sat in display cases for hours is no longer enough.
“Sbarro is stuck with an outdated business model,” said Michael Whiteman, restaurant consultant and president of Baum & Whiteman LLC in Brooklyn, New York. Reuters in 2014, when the chain filed for its second bankruptcy. “Its biggest flaw is that it sells food that has not been available for a while, and more and more people want food to order.”
Whether Sbarro can reinvent itself as the go-to New York-style slice store, located in convenient areas with heavy foot traffic, which is their brand’s central message, remains to be seen.
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