Politics and Pie: Market Analyst Bullish on Pizza During Election Season

PHOTO: Former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., eats pizza during a lunch stop at Revellos Cafe Pizzeria, while campaigning in Old Forge, Penn., March 10, 2008.Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
Former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., eats pizza during a lunch stop at Revello's Cafe Pizzeria, while campaigning in Old Forge, Penn., March 10, 2008.

While polls seem to always be shifting as to who's on top in this political season, one market analyst has identified an election winner that may offer comfort of a different kind: pizza.

In a research note to investors, Chris O’Cull, a restaurant industry analyst at KeyBank, said he believes interest in the election has motivated many people to stay home and order in, rather than eat out.

Foot traffic to casual dining restaurants was down 5 percent in June, he wrote.

“We believe the civil and political disruptions that have negatively impacted restaurant dining may be helping pizza operators that deliver to consumers,” he wrote in the note.

Notes like this are short messages sent by analysts and others to advise clients of expert opinion on investments, and are usually not based on any in-depth study. Rather, they are based on the analyst's experience and observations, so they should be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak.

O’Cull told ABC News that his analysis was based on conversations with businessmen and women in the sector.

“We talked to a private restaurant company and they said that their sales had been very weak during the DNC convention,” he said, pointing to anecdotal evidence.

At DeMo’s Pizzeria and Deli in Raleigh, North Carolina, co-owner Anthony DeMarco said he’s certainly noticed an uptick in delivery sales as of late.

“We’ve definitely seen a spike for sure," he told ABC News.

“Throughout this whole summer we were expecting it to be pretty slow,” he said. “We have done a good bit of delivery, a lot of delivery actually.”

O’Cull said that he doesn’t necessarily think people are afraid to dine out or feel uncomfortable interacting with others that share differing political views. Instead, he said he thinks it's simply interest in televised political events.

“More folks are engaged in the political environment right now,” he said. “We’re just seeing more engagement around watching the debates watching the conventions, and so it’s more convenient to watch those events and have food delivered to your home than to go out to a restaurant.”

But it’s not just pizza, he said.

“Any kind of delivery food is going to be popular in this kind of environment,” O’Cull concluded.

It’s hard however to directly connect the election to an uptick in delivery.

According to Bruce Grindy, vice president and chief economist at the National Restaurant Foundation, fluctuations between the order-in and delivery industries are normal.

“The back and forth between casual dining and quick-service segments happens both in election and non-election years,” he told ABC News.