Across the country, more restaurants are serving up unique pies in a quick environment
By NACS Online
A relatively young concept, fast-casual pizza is taking off, with affordable, dine-in pizzerias springing up all over the country, Eater reports. Pie Five, Pieology, MOD Pizza, Blaze and Martina all promise quick, fresh pizza made to order.
Pizza now represents the biggest slice of the fast-casual restaurant sector with 37%, followed by seafood (25%) and healthy (21%), according to Restaurant Business. “You could put pretty much anything on a pizza,” said Heather Lalley, an editor for Restaurant Business. “You could be wild and creative with ingredients; you could differentiate with ‘premium,’ ‘high-quality,’ ‘natural,’ ‘organic’—buzzwords that fit into a lot of things consumers are looking for.”
For example, Blaze Pizza serves 11.5-inch pies with crust choices (including gluten-free) and toppings (including vegan) that are cooked in two to three minutes. The price of around $8 per pie contributes to its popularity, said Jim Mizes, president/CEO of Blaze Pizza. “We love to say: We target millennials, we’re a useful brand, but we throw a tent big enough for everybody, five- and 65-year-olds,” he said.
Mizes also taps into the local community by having regional pizzas on the menu, such as alligator in New Orleans and giardiniera peppers in Chicago. However “artisanal” the atmosphere, fast-casual places like Blaze Pizza uses pre-measured ingredients and mixing machines for much of the work to keep labor costs down and consistency up. Some fast-causal pizzerias have even gone rectangle to draw in customers.