Industry News | April 29, 2011 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Nothing Says Cinco de Mayo Like a Pizza

With Cinco de Mayo approaching, Zpizza is getting ready to show customers that it’s not just a pizza chain—it’s a pizza chain with Latin flair.

“What’s interesting about Zpizza is, surprisingly enough, Zpizza was born out of an idea that originated as a Mexican restaurant,” says Brandi Babb, vice president of training and franchise relations at Zpizza.

“That’s not necessarily why we’re focusing on Cinco de Mayo this year, but it is an interesting aspect of the business.”

Zpizza is going to give away free samples of its Mexican and Santa Fe pizzas and Pollo Latino sandwich at its stores on May 5.

Giving away free samples, Babb says, is a cost-effective way to steer customers toward pizza options they might not necessarily have chosen otherwise.  

“As you can imagine, in any pizza place, your cheese and pepperoni are going to be two of your most popular menu items,” she says. “We want to create the exposure of the other interesting flavors that people may be willing to taste for free but not necessarily buy a $10 or $15 pizza for the first time just to try those flavors.”

The Mexican pizza includes homemade salsa, low-fat mozzarella, spicy lime chicken, scallions, red onions, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. The Santa Fe pizza includes chipotle pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and black olives.

The Pollo Latino sandwich includes marinated lime chicken breast, lettuce, salsa, and avocado on a baguette.

Babb says the company, which is based in Southern California, hasn’t necessarily had big Cinco de Mayo success in the past; as with most pizza chains, it enjoys big success around the end-of-year holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But, with so many Latin consumers, products, and tastes around its home base, she says Zpizza aims to swing some of that success to earlier in the year.

“Pizza’s not necessarily the first product people are thinking about on Cinco de Mayo, but this year we’re hoping to change that mentality a bit and create a fun and festive atmosphere in the stores,” Babb says.

By Sam Oches