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Ranking the major national chains

This is where I lose most of you, Sep 14, 2017

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the major national chains. They are, for reference, Domino's, Little Caesar's, Papa John's, and Pizza Hut. I consider these to be the only major four chains because even the smallest of the four in terms of stores (Little Caesar's) has nearly triple the number of stores as the 5th biggest chain (Papa Murphy's) as of 2016 Source. That list is fascinating, by the way. I will have to write another post on it later.

Now that we've identified the four major chains and why there are only four, it is time to alienate everyone and rank them!

#1 - Domino's


7 slices = Very Good

I can feel everyone's eyes rolling as I write this. Domino's? How could I? Well, I seem to be in the minority in that I actually liked Domino's before they changed up their recipe in 2009. Granted, I did not think it was great, but I felt like it was serviceable pizza. After the recipe change, though, wow, the pizza is really good! I love the seasoned zestiness of the crust, and I like how it is the perfect thickness and texture in the middle of the pizza, then how it poofs out into tasty bread sticks at the edges. Toppings are generous and the sauce is tasty. Delivery is always hot and fast and pickup is hotter and faster. This pizza is really very good!

#2 - Little Caesar's


7 slices = Very Good

If I didn't lose you with #1, I bet right here you're done with these rankings, but hear me out. You can't rate a place based on just your favorite thing there (although if I did, LC would probably still be right here). Little Caesar's is innovating more than any other chain. Their new products are consistently tasty and add variety. I honestly really like the plain old Hot and Ready pepperoni pizza. I also really like the Crazy Bread. They had a limited time pizza that was a pretzel crust with a nacho like cheese sauce for the base and it was stupidly good. This place is underrated. I am honestly glad they don't deliver or I would be fatter than I am. The fact that it is so cheap is just the feather in the cap for this place.

#3 - Papa John's


6 slices = Solidly Delicious

If I had made this list 20 years ago, there is no doubt that Papa John's would be at #1. I used to like it much more than I do now. I don't know if they have changed or I have, but the bottom line is that I am routinely disappointed when I have their pizza. It is not that it is bad, it just isn't great. On the plus side, they do have the best bread sticks of these four, and possibly of all time with their Parmesan garlic bread sticks. They also have the best add-in with their garlic butter sauce. I don't care for pepperoncinis, so that is a miss for me, but at least they are adding something that the other chains are not. Overall, Papa John's is good, but not great.

#4 - Pizza Hut


4 slices = below average

For my money, Pizza Hut is to pizza like McDonald's is to fast food burgers, or Applebee's is to restaurants. It is the most iconic, largest chain in America, and somewhat of a default choice for many for that same reason, but it isn't very good. I find the pan pizza in particular especially unappealing. I haven't ordered a pizza form there in years because my last experience was so bad. I will only eat this when I am at an event where pizza is provided and it happens to be Pizza Hut. Their bread sticks are also the worst of these 4. When I was in Korea for a year, the food court on base had one pizza place in it - Pizza Hut. The entire year I got pizza from there twice, both early on. After that, I would get a sub (a sub!) instead of pizza because it was so bad. Why do people still get Pizza Hut when so many better places are available? I do not get it.

So there you go, my rankings of the top 4 major pizza chains. Chances are your rankings are different. Tell me what you ranking is in the comments and I will work on getting a poll up and running so we can see what the consensus is around here. Am I in the minority?

Tags: Domino`s major chains Papa John`s Pizza Hut rankings Little Caesar`s

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