Imo's Pizza introduced last week a limited-time menu, marking a shift in strategy for this iconic purveyor St. Louis style pizza.
Nichole Carpenter, Director of Marketing at Imo, said that the family-owned company has adapted to what they call a "shifted" market post-Covid: "Last Year, Customers were Looking for Comfort and Tradition," Nichole Carpenter, Imo's Director. Now, customers want to try new things.
According to the company, 'Sweet Heat' pizza uses Imo's sweet-tangy sauce, which is usually served with its wings, as its base. It also features bacon, red onions, chicken and Provel cheese.
The company did not provide a timeline for the specialty pie.
Carpenter confirmed that Imo's had launched special menu items before, but it has been "a while" since then.
The pandemic halted the company's plans to launch limited-time offers, which it had first discussed a few year ago. She said that the post-pandemic market, coupled with the changing behavior of consumers, made this the perfect time to launch a new product.
Imo's took a different approach to satisfy the changing tastes of consumers earlier this year: it launched a new mobile app as part of its efforts to increase non-traditional order options.
Multiple restaurateurs reported that customers who used drive-thru ordering, third-party ordering, or carry-out during the pandemic closures have continued to use these non-traditional options after Covid.
Munsok So told the Business Journal recently that to-go sales in his restaurants -- Drunken Fish - a sushi restaurant - and Kimchi Guys - a Korean Fusion restaurant -- account for 10%-13% of their business. Before Covid, these orders made up about 5%. Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, a Kansas City-based island-inspired chain of restaurants, has reduced the size its indoor dining room and added designated windows to allow third-party pickups when building its new brick-and mortar locations.
Carpenter stated that 85% of online shoppers shop on mobile devices. Carpenter said that customers wanted to order quickly and easily from their mobile devices.
She said that the Sweet Heat Pizza will be a test for the company, to see what the customers think of the new product. It will also help them better understand their needs.
She said, 'We'd like to do more of this going forward'. There is still room for growth in this category.
Imo's Holding Co. is the parent company of Imo's Pizza. It has 99 Imo's Pizza franchises in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. They also sell more than 17 grocery products.
In October, the company began selling frozen pizzas in grocery and retail stores across 13 states.