Kitchens serving pizza and Italian food will work hardest this Christmas

One of a team of professional neapolitan pizza makers kneads dough to give away free pizza margheritas in Dante square in downtown Naples, on August 27, 2008.  Pizza chefs in Naples gave away more than 5,000 free pizzas to protest against restaurants that have "unfairly" hiked up the cost of a pizza amid rising global food prices. Sergio Miccu, president of the association of Neapolitan pizza chefs (ANP), accused restaurants and pizza chefs of increasing pizza prices to a level that is not justified by the cost of the basic ingredients.  AFP PHOTO / Roberto Salomone (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SALOMONE/AFP/Getty Images)

Pizza and Italian cuisine will be the most popular food for consumers eating out this Christmas, and will present operators with an opportunity to supercharge profits.

The Italian foodstuff, whether takeaways or on-premise meals, generate 56% additional visits in December than the average month, new research shows.

Foodservice establishments offering pizza and Italian in December can look forward to a 77% increase in total spend and a 14% increase in the average bill.

Last Christmas, visits that specifically included a pizza shot up 26% and pasta increased 11% over December, according to NPD Group, who carried out the research.

December is extremely important in the £50 billion British foodservice industry, representing an opportunity for operators to tap nearly 1 billion visits and more than £4.6billion in sales.

Consumers in foodservice outlets generally spend 12% more money in December than they spend in an average month, treating themselves to more expensive items, especially in pubs and restaurants.

But an outlet selling pizza and Italian can expect 25% fewer visits in January compared to an average month, NPD’s research shows.

Cyril Lavenant, foodservice director at the NPD Group, said: “When we eat out in December, Christmas is the season of pizza and goodwill. There’s no doubt millions of Britons tuck into turkey at home on Christmas Day and other days over the festive period, but when we want to eat away from home then Pizza & Italian races ahead.”

He concluded: “If every month was like December, the £50 billion British foodservice industry would be worth nearly £60 billion each year. But if December is good for the foodservice world, the industry slows up in January. With many people dieting in January, operators battle to convince cash-strapped consumers to keep eating out.”

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