Why do you, faithful reader, turn to PizzaMarketplace.com? Taking a look at the most popular stories from 2013, it seems you do so to stay up on menu trends, to check out marketing campaign ideas and to keep an eye on emerging technologies such as digital signage and kiosks.
Here are the 13 most popular stories from 2013:
1. Commentary: Being a restaurant manager is tough enough (in memory of Boston's Krystle Campbell).
One of our regular bloggers, marketing expert Barry Klein, tugged at our heartstrings following the Boston Marathon bombings in April by penning a commentary about the late Krystle Campbell, who worked as a restaurant manager.
2. Off the menu: 10 pizza stories in 2013 that had nothing to do with food.
This end-of-year trend piece touched on international development, mobile technology and the growing fast casual sub-segment.
3. Domino's CEO not worried about emergence of fast casual pizza.
Speaking of fast casual pizza, readers were interested to know what Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle had to say about the category when he presented the company's Q1 earnings call.
4. Despite doubling system in 5 years, Marco's Pizza CEO wants more.
In February, we had the chance to speak to Jack Butorac, CEO of Marco's Pizza, about the company's ambitious expansion plans, and readers were interested in the direction he's taking the company.
5. California pizzeria named Zagat's best in the U.S.
Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach, Calif., has been named the "Best Pizzeria" in the U.S., according to Zagat. With these results, Michael's unseated longtime winner Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco as the best in the U.S.
6. Last minute prep for the Oct. 1 Obamacare deadline.
Readers wanted to know if they had their t's crossed and i's dotted as the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchange deadline approached. The kickoff date was Oct. 1.
7. The pizza segment's menu trends of 2013 (so far).
We took a mid-year look at what trends were in demand, and gluten-free and top-your-own concepts emerged on top.
8. Papa Murphy's prototype created to redefine Take 'N Bake.
In September, Papa Murphy's announced a new "CREATE" store prototype now in test in Austin, Texas. The design features an open layout, digital menu boards, a grab-and-go "Murphy's Market" section and signage reinforcing the brand's positioning of "Always Fresh."
9. A look at the top 2013 pizza menu trends.
In addition to gluten-free and flatbreads, pan pizza made a big splash this year, as did crust innovation.
10. Domino's franchisee using self-service kiosks to reach college crowd.
In May, we spoke to a Domino's Pizza franchisee who installed EMN8 self-service kiosks in student housing residents halls at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College in California.
11. Effective marketing on a shoestring budget.
Fox's Pizza franchisee Scott Anthony offered some "cheaper marketing" approaches that have worked for his business, including charity fundraisers and sampling.
12. Lemon tops the list of 2014 menu trend predictions.
Brand development company Sterling-Rice Group identified its top 10 food trend predictions for menus and supermarket shelves in 2014, and pizza operators were interested in the list, which was topped by lemon.
13. Pie Five CEO: Fast casual pizza category fills a void.
Pie Five Pizza Co., sister chain to the 55-year old Pizza Inn, first opened in June 2011. We had the chance to talk to Randy Gier, CEO, about the concept and the fledgling fast casual pizza niche.
Read more about trends and statistics.
Photo provided by Wikipedia.
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.