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The Most Popular Pizza Chain in Every State, New Data Shows

A report published by Top Data confirms that pizza-lovers can't get enough of these slices.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

It's no secret that delivery pizza hit it big during the pandemic. Besides being just about everyone's go-to comfort food, pizza was better positioned than other types of fast food to meet growing consumer demand for off-premise dining. When restaurants started shutting down en masse, it was delivery pizza's time to shine.

And shine, it did. The big names of delivery pizza all saw massive sales increases in 2020: in May, Pizza Hut had its best week of delivery and carryout sales in eight years; Domino's maintained double-digit same-store sales growth from the second quarter straight through to the fourth; and Papa John's closed out the year with an incredible $1 million in average unit volume.

While that growth has slowed somewhat in 2021, all three companies still managed at least single-digit increases in same-store sales this past quarter. Papa John's saw 5.2% growth, Pizza Hut 10%, and Domino's 3.5%. (At both Pizza Hut and Domino's, international same-store sales growth greatly outstripped domestic growth—Pizza Hut's global operations saw increases of 16%, and Domino's, 13.9%.)

Now, a recent report published by Top Data confirms that not only is pizza still trending in the U.S.—pizza-lovers are making more in-person visits to the most popular pizza chains. Top Data's report looks at foot traffic over a two-year period for the twelve largest U.S. pizza chains. Using offline GPS data collected from millions of pizza customers, the study found that visits to chains (including in-store dining and carryout) increased in 2021 by 32%.

The study also determined the top five most popular pizza chains in each state for 2021. The results may surprise you: Little Caesars (yes, Little Caesars) claimed first place in half of the states studied! The remaining 24 states were divvied up amongst delivery pizza's "Big Three," with Papa John's and Domino's taking the lion's share (17 states), and Pizza Hut left to scrap it out with the likes of Marco's Pizza, Godfather's Pizza, and Papa Murphy's.

Have a look at the results below. And for more, don't miss the Most Expensive Cheese Pizzas in America.

Little Caesars

Little Caeasars
Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 24

"Victory" states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont

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Papa John's

Papa john's pizza restaurant
Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 10

"Victory" states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Related: Papa John's Just Made This Big Announcement About Its Menu

Domino's

Dominos locations
Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 7

"Victory" states: Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon

Related: 8 Secrets Domino's Doesn't Want You to Know

Godfather's Pizza

Godfathers pizza
Jim Lambert/Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 2

"Victory" states: New York, Oklahoma

Related: 50 Classic Fast-Food Menu Items—Ranked!

Marco's Pizza

marcos pizza storefront
Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 2

"Victory" states: Indiana, South Carolina

Related: Marco's Pizza Is Opening 200 New Locations This Year

Pizza Hut

pizza hut
Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 2

"Victory" states: Louisiana, South Dakota

Related: Pizza Hut Just Announced the Return of This Popular Sold-Out Pizza

Papa Murphy's

Papa murphys pizza
dcwcreations/Shutterstock

Number of states in which the pizza chain ranks first: 1

"Victory" state: Washington

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Owen Duff
Owen Duff is a freelance journalist based in Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s. Read more