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The Best Pizza Chains Across The USA, Ranked

Pizza is one of the most ubiquitous foods across the United States, and we’ve all got our favorites when it comes to the go-to pizza spot. Whether it be that hit of childhood nostalgia or the crave-worthy blend of crispy cheese, buttery crust, and hearty sauce, slices of pie transcend cultural and dietary divides. You can find curry-topped pizzas, vegan pizzas, cauliflower crust pizzas, and everything in between all across the country.

When it comes to the providers, though, the stalwarts of sauced-up dough still stand. Hundreds of pizza chains, big and small, bring the pie to the people today, and some have established themselves as THE joints that will go down in history as some of the USA’s best. This is a look at the 10 best chain pizza spots that have and will continue to shape the country’s pizza scene.

In picking the names for this list, chains with more than 20 locations were considered based on national impact, popularity, size, quality, and any unique contributions they had that changed the way we eat pizza. With the plethora of options to choose from, plenty of top names just barely missed the cut, whether they be industry giants or high-quality upstarts. However, each chain on this list has been a pillar of pizza for the United States, and will continue to be for years to come.

10. Papa Murphy’s

 

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Papa Murphy’s has always been the bridge between Domino’s and Tombstone. The take-and-bake king preps everything for you to heat the pizza up at home, with no concern about any long cryo-sleeps it may have had in a grocery store freezer. While it seems like the age of delivery may have people moving past this once-disruptor, it’s still one of the top 5 earning pizza sellers in the US and top 10 in terms of popularity. They may not be in the public eye as much as some of the bigger players, but they’re still an impactful force on America’s pizza scene.

9. Cici’s

 

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The OG pizza buffet, Cici’s is responsible for one of the most American concepts out there. While others like Round Table have added the buffet to their menus since, Cici’s remains the originator and continues upping their game with new pizzas, including a mac and cheese topped one, to boot. Outside of Chuck E. Cheese, I can’t think of a national pizza brand who’s getting as out-the-box as that in their pie toppings department.

8. Sbarro

 

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We all know Sbarro as the hallmark of food court pizza. Whether it be at the airport or shopping mall, seeing one of these is a guarantee of hot, familiar pizza that we can all get behind. Its ubiquity and place in the food court space is unparalleled, and while the shopping mall scene is on a decline these days, Sbarro still brings in $609 million in revenue per year, good enough for one of the top 10-selling pizza chains in the country.

7. Round Table Pizza

 

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Round Table has been for pizza what Umami Burger once was for the burger industry. The pizza parlor brought a heightened level of quality and uniqueness of flavor to their pies that forced everyone else to up their game and go beyond the standards. It’s the place you’re willing to pay a little more at to get a better pizza, and the results show in the dough and the creativity in the pies. Like In-N-Out, they may be West Coast predominant, but it’s a name that is recognizable nationwide.

6. Costco

 

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All of the previous pizza chains have been huge for the industry, but none are as prevalent and pervasive as the wholesale leader. Costco isn’t even a pizza restaurant, and yet, droves of customers come to the food court just to get their hands on the signature pizzas. The right amount of grease combined with a craveable cheese blend and extremely affordable price makes Costco stand out, and it’s why their pie is the one you’re likely finding at the club meeting or quick family get-together. They’re not ground-breaking, and they’re not a giant in the field, but you somehow still manage to think of Costco when a last-minute pizza option comes to mind.

5. Blaze Pizza

 

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Look out, pizza world, because in five years time, this Chipotle-like concept could blaze its way to the top of this list, pun intended. As the fastest growing pie-slinging chain in the country, Blaze’s unique approach of gourmet toppings, customization, and the build-your-own personal pizza has been perfected. Even the originators of the concept can’t keep up with Blaze’s speed as they continue to spread across the country. THIS is where the future of pizza is heading, and the field of competition is beginning to pay attention.

4. California Pizza Kitchen

 

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Those who create a brand new pizza flavor that becomes so popular that every joint in the country starts carrying it deserves a top spot on this list. CPK’s national impact with their BBQ Chicken Pizza has been well recorded, and their infatuation with hot pizza ovens and unique toppings made joints like Blaze possible. Without CPK, we wouldn’t have had the same excitement around the fiery pizza furnaces, and we wouldn’t be pushed to think outside the box on what can go on a pizza.

CPK’s not done, though, as they are now quickly become the leader for gluten-free pizza nationwide thanks to their cauliflower crusts. Decades after opening, they’re still finding ways to stay ahead of the curve, which is hard to do in an industry as vast as pizza.

3. Little Caesars

 

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When it comes to size, spread, and popularity, all of the previous spots ranked pale in comparison to the top 3. That’s especially considering that at $3.5 billion in revenue, Little Caesars is the small fry on this list’s medal podium. However, they are the name behind the $5 pizza and do the simplest variations as efficiently and quickly as possible. With their recent moves toward automation, they’re also proving that they have the potential to catch up to the two giants at the top of this list. You’re never going to see anything really crazy come out of Little Caesars’ menu, but that’s because they don’t need it to be successful or competitive.

2. Pizza Hut

 

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The most shocking thing about Pizza Hut as the runner-up as that it’s not number one on this list. You’d think that The Hut has it all: savvy and trending ad campaigns, cool merch and activations, tons of deals that seem to never stop, and a pretty decent pie. Oh, and they also just took over the role of the NFL’s official ‘za.

Pizza Hut may be a powerhouse in terms of size, but what kills them is their popularity. Little Caesars has been ranked by consumers as more popular than the mega-chain, and The Hut is five times larger. Just because you have more locations and make more money than nearly everybody else doesn’t give you the top spot.

1. Domino’s

 

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What does make you America’s mega-pizza gold standard, though, is being the top pizza chain in both size and popularity. As of 2018, Domino’s is both, having surpassed Pizza Hut in revenue and popularity. They have the deals, growth rate, and quality to keep up with or surpass their staunchest rival in every category, and now have the earnings to back all of that up.

Plus, Domino’s has made itself the leader in delivery by going beyond the building. Their app lets you get your pie at tons of different parks or public areas, something that the rest of the major players in the industry struggle at. They’re even doing good for the local communities and paving the roads, which is one of the most ingenious ad campaigns a delivery company could think of. All of that has given Domino’s the ability to not just take over as the king of American pizza, but to sustain that title for years to come.


Featured Image: Foodbeast // Peter Pham. 

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.