I thought that our members might be interested in seeing the latest (2011) list of Pizza Today's Hot 100 independents, based on sales. That list can be seen at http://www.pizzatoday.com/magazine/2012-october-independents-list
Some of the interesting entries and observations:
1) Buddy's Pizza, which is the number one independent Detroit style pizza operator in the country, is #1 on the list. Shield's Pizza, arguably Buddy's main competition, is #30 on the list. And doing quite well, thank you.
2) Tony Gemignani and his co-investors look to be doing quite well with just one store: See #36 on the list.
3) It looks like the Neapolitan style pizza can be quite lucrative. See Tutta Bella at #13, and Spacca Napoli at #93. And guess who is at #85?
4) Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza, at #57 on the list, also offers their version of a Neapolitan style pizza.
5) Pizza and beer in a pub or bar setting are very popular. I counted nine places on the list. No doubt there are more that don't show up in the names.
6) Thirty four states are represented in the list, with Ohio holding the top spot (11 places), followed by California (9), Missouri (7), Louisiana (5), Washington (5), and Texas (5).
7) My pick for most creative name: #23 (http://www.pizzaorgasmica.com/);
Boombozz (#17), Moose's Tooth (#18), and The Couch Tomato Café (#70) ain't bad either.
8) By my count, there are 39 places with Italian or Italian sounding names, and not all of them are owned by Italians.
9) I suspect that there are some independent pizza operators who chose not to participate in the survey. To be on the list, a pizza operator's 2011 annual sales would have to exceed $1.5M. Over forty percent of the names on the list have average annual sales per unit of over $2M. That seems to be a good place to be.
Since the list gives URLs for most of the names on the list, it would be interesting sometime to visit their websites to see what it is that they are doing that gets them on the list.