What is in this article?:
Meet the some of the fastest-growing concepts in the competitive fast-casual pizza niche. Most emphasize a made-from-scratch crust and the use of locally sourced and high-quality ingredients that result in a premium pie.
Seattle-based MOD Pizza — the name is an acronym for Made On Demand — opened its first unit in 2008. The concept was founded by a group of entrepreneurs that included Scott and Ally Svenson, who also had a hand in launching Seattle’s Best Coffee, which was later bought by Starbucks, and the U.K.-based Carluccio’s Italian deli-café concept that later went public.
Last year, MOD moved from its home base of the Pacific Northwest into California. The growth pace is accelerating, with limited franchising.
• Units: 15, with the 16th scheduled to open at the end of April. Locations, all company owned, are in Washington, Oregon and California.
• Units by end of 2014: 24 by the end of September, with more planned for the fourth quarter. New markets include the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Houston and Denver.
• Signed franchise agreements: 100 restaurants to open by the end of 2015
• Menu news: Special pizzas or milkshakes created by customers or employees are featured every quarter. This spring, the featured pizza will be the “Chloe,” made with white sauce, chicken, rosemary, red onion, red pepper and wild arugula. The chain has added fresh-brewed, organic leaf iced tea, in flavors like caramelized pear, along with housemade lemonade and regional draft beer and wine.
• What gives it an edge: Since 2008, MOD has been refining the concept, and is in a unique position to expand nationally while cultivating the “MOD Experience” in every unit. The chain is focusing on one location at a time, and putting people first. The leadership team brings great depth of experience from brands like Starbucks, Panera, Schwartz Brothers, Qdoba, Disney and Dunkin’ Donuts.