World Cup sends pizza sales soaring in Far East

June 12, 2002

Japanese and Thai pizza companies are scrambling to keep up with demand since World Cup soccer matches began May 31.

According to Reuters, business at Domino's Pizza stores in Tokyo more than doubled on June 11, when Japan tied Belgium 2-2 to score the country's first-ever World Cup point.

In Thailand, Pizza Hut sales are 34 percent higher than during the same period in April. According to the Bangkok Post, to meet the added burden, the company boosted its staff nationwide from 1,500 to 2,000, and its 300 delivery drivers are working overtime.

Dine-in traffic, which Pizza Hut thought would fall some during the tournament, is up 16 percent.

Minor Food Group marketing director Veena Ongcharit told the Post that business at its chain, The Pizza Company, is 25 percent higher than normal. Prior to the tournament, it had predicted sales would rise just 15 percent.

Apichart Tienpiragul, general manager of Narai Pizzeria, a Thai-branded chain, also told the Post that delivery sales were up 30 percent between June 1 and 7, compared with the same period in May. Dine-in sales, however, were off 5 percent

In other World Cup-related news, thieves dressed in Irish soccer team uniforms stole 225,000 yen (U.S. $1,790) from a pizza shop in a stadium in Ibaraki, Japan, before a match between Germany and Ireland.

Reuters reported that after the suspects had been served and left, the 65-year-old owner found that a plastic bag full of cash that had been taped to the inner side of the counter was missing.

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