The Five-Year Evolution of Fast Casual Pizza

The Five-Year Evolution of Fast Casual PizzaFive years ago, you had to hail a taxi to find a ride, rent a DVD to watch a movie, and drive to the supermarket if you needed groceries. These days, when consumers want everything on demand, you can download an app for chauffer service, push a button to stream a television series, and order several bags of groceries with delivery in just two minutes. This on demand culture has certainly spurred some amazing innovation, but five years ago, there was one big problem: pizza. That’s right – five years ago, pizza could take up to 20 minutes to cook and families had to compromise on the amount and selection of toppings. With cardboard delivery with limited toppings, just how could Americans find time to enjoy their favorite food while satisfying their need for immediate gratification and desire for personalization?

That’s where Pie Five Pizza Co. came in, a pizzeria like no other where artisan, hand-crafted pizzas are prepared in five minutes or less from a selection of almost 40 fresh toppings, seven savory sauces and four made-from-scratch crusts. It was clear that consumers would never lose their love for pizza, however the pizza industry needed to evolve to reflect the consumer’s need for speed while still delivering a high-quality product. Recognizing this, Pie Five Pizza Co. made its mission to transform the pizza industry by creating a fully customizable pizza experience while delivering on speed and with a fresh variety of ingredients.

Like most companies, Pie Five’s success starts from humble beginnings, marked by periods of growth and learning. Welcome to the world of fast casual pizza, where waiting 20 minutes to indulge in a delicious bubbly pie is a thing of the past.

The Five-Year Evolution of Fast Casual Pizza

Revolutionizing Pizza

Inspired to bring something new to the pizza industry, RAVE Restaurant Group launched Pie Five Pizza Co. with the concept that each customer could create their own fresh, customized pizza with unlimited toppings, for one affordable price. Pie Five also created a state-of-the-art, custom designed pizza oven that cooks a pizza in just two minutes. The first store opened on June 2, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas and grew to four restaurants in just six months. Less than one year later in October 2012, the restaurant count doubled in size from four to eight. Pie Five’s significant growth in just one year not only demonstrated the brand’s commitment to fast casual pizza, but most importantly, the consumers’ love for the innovative product.

Taking It Personally

Recognizing wholesome ingredients and consumer loyalty as key priorities in the fast casual market, Pie Five introduced gluten-free crust in October 2012 for consumers with gluten sensitivity or those looking for an alternative crust option. In 2013, Pie Five launched the “Circle of Crust” loyalty program that has allowed the brand to engage directly with their customers by providing exclusive information on the latest company news and stellar deals. Gluten-free crust and the “Circle of Crust” were just the first steps in chartering a great era of personalization that reinforces Pie Five’s pledge to bring customized, personal pizza to everyone.

The Five-Year Evolution of Fast Casual Pizza

Topping Off the Team

A great team starts with great leadership. In 2014, Pie Five made two significant hires that continue to shape the brand to this day. In May 2014, RAVE welcomed Tim Mullany as Chief Financial Officer, bringing financial and strategic leadership to the company as well as a wealth of food industry experience. In October 2014, the inventor of stuffed crust pizza herself, Patty Scheibmeir, joined the RAVE team as Vice President of R&D and Product Innovations. As the architect of flavor at Pie Five, Patty is the mastermind behind the creation of some of Pie Five’s favorite pies including the decadent Snickers Cheesecake Brownie and the savory Shrimp Scampi Pizza. Patty has been featured in multiple publications including Fortune and Teen Vogue.

With new team members in place, Pie Five saw tremendous growth with the opening of 50 additional locations in 2015.

The March Toward 100

2016 was a pivotal year for Pie Five that truly exemplified the brand’s commitment to fresh ingredients, customer convenience and expansion. In March, Pie Five added vegan cheese to the menu, enabling guests looking for a vegan option to create their own personalized pizza. In addition, Pie Five took fast casual pizza to uncharted territory when it opened locations at a train station and casino. June marked Pie Five’s five-year anniversary, a momentous occasion celebrating the company’s tremendous growth, multiple contributions to local communities and commitment to delivering a delicious, high-quality pizza at every visit.

To round out 2016, Pie Five opened its first-ever drive-thru location in Yukon, Oklahoma, giving guests a variety of ways to enjoy the Pie Five experience. Pie Five also partnered with Olo to offer guests an innovative online ordering option that seamlessly integrates Olo’s dispatch delivery service platform with Pie Five’s “Circle of Crust” loyalty program. The partnership allows guests the ability to earn points for their purchases, while enjoying the ease and convenience of ordering through the Pie Five website or the Pie Five app.

The Future

Moving forward, the future could not look brighter. Not only did Pie Five introduce its new CEO, Scott Crane, in January, but the brand is also opening its 100th location on February 10th in Independence, Missouri. If the last five years are any indication, there are many more exciting things to come from Pie Five Pizza Co., including restaurant openings in all-new regions and fresh products that promise even more ways to personalize. The first 100 locations are just the beginning!

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The Five-Year Evolution of Fast Casual Pizza