If your idea of feng shui is having your local pizzeria design the pepperoni in a circle on your pie, have we got good news for you: October is National Pizza Month!

There are more than 60,000 pizza parlors in the United States, and a significant number of them are the larger chains we track in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. And while sales have trended down slightly, pizza is still a big favorite in the United States. Pizza consumers eat about 43 slices annually, adding up to a total of 3 billion pizzas consumed in a year. That works out to about 12 pounds of pizza or 100 acres of pizza a day, or enough pizza to cover the Roaring River Wilderness region in the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon. Or enough to keep health clubs in business for at least another year.

Nearly a third of consumers ask for pepperoni as their extra pizza topping. In order of preference, that’s followed by

2. Mushrooms,
3. Extra cheese,
4. Sausage or meatballs,
5. Green peppers.

Last on the list are anchovies, which clearly is an acquired taste. But no matter which is your favorite, every chain must offer extras in order to be competitive. We turned to our Customer Loyalty engagement index to see which chain panned out best on that important driver of pizza loyalty. Here’s how they ranked:

1. Domino’s
2. Pizza Hut / Papa John’s
3. Little Caesar’s / Round Table
4. Godfather’s
5. Chuck E. Cheese

The bottom-line for pizza? Quality and taste is still the biggest loyalty driver for the category, but to really throw the right strategy, brands need to think about adding in some real, leading-indicator loyalty metrics to their marketing menus.

While we can all argue over thick crust or thin, there is no doubt that predictive category metrics are the recipe brands need most.