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MOD Pizza

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MOD Super Fast Pizza LLC
MOD Pizza
Company typePrivate
IndustryRestaurants
GenreFast casual
Founded2008; 16 years ago (2008) in Seattle, Washington
Founders
  • Scott Svenson
  • Ally Svenson
  • James Markham
Headquarters,
United States
Number of locations
500+[1] (2021)
Areas served
  • United States
  • United Kingdom (until 2020)
  • Canada
Key people
  • Scott Svenson (CEO)
  • Ally Svenson (Protector of the Purpose)
  • Josh Guenser (CFO)
  • Mark Shambura (CMO)
Products
Revenue$398 million (2019)[2]
ParentElite Restaurant Group (2024-present)
Websitemodpizza.com

MOD Pizza is an American fast-casual pizza restaurant chain based in Seattle, Washington.[3][4] Founded in 2008, MOD has more than 560 locations as of December 2023 in the United States and two locations in Canada.[5][6]

Concept and products[edit]

The company's name is an acronym which stands for "Made on Demand." Restaurant trade publication QSR News has characterized the concept as the "Chipotle of the pizza industry."[7]

MOD Pizza offers individual, customizable pizzas made with organic dough using King Arthur Flour.[8] Customers specify which ingredients they want included on their order, and watch the preparation process, though the restaurant also offers recommended combinations. Pizzas are then cooked for three minutes using stone ovens at 800 °F (425 °C).[4][9][10]

The decor and layout of MOD restaurants have been described as "family-friendly," with Zagat observing each establishment in the chain has a "simple and functional vibe that ties in nicely with its DIY theme."[11] The interior of each MOD restaurant is unique and "locally inspired."[12][13]

The interior of a MOD Pizza restaurant, pictured in 2014

Blaze Pizza, Pieology, and Pizza Rev are all considered direct competitors to MOD Pizza.[14][15]

History[edit]

MOD Pizza was established in 2008 in Seattle, Washington, by co-founders Scott and Ally Svenson. The Svensons previously founded the Seattle Coffee Company, a coffee company based in the United Kingdom, which they sold to Starbucks in 1998.[16] Afterwards, Scott stayed on as president of Starbucks Europe. The Svensons also helped found Carluccio's Ltd., an Italian restaurant in the U.K.[16] After moving back to their home town of Bellevue, Washington, the Svensons started MOD Pizza after being unable to find fast, affordable healthy meals for their four sons. James Markham, who had previously started pizza parlors in San Diego, California and Shanghai, China, was also a part of the founding team and helped develop the house recipes used by MOD.[17] The restaurant's first location was in Union Square and was followed by additional Seattle locations.[18]

The first MOD Pizza location, at Union Square in Downtown Seattle, Washington

By 2010, Markham had left MOD Pizza due to what he later characterized as a dispute in direction with the Svensons. He subsequently started a California-based chain set on MOD's "DIY" pizza concept called Pieology.[17]

Growth and expansion[edit]

In 2013, the restaurant chain was named one of the United States' "Top 50 Breakout Brands" by Nation's Restaurant News.[19] The same year, it added its first location outside of Washington, with a restaurant at Cedar Hills Crossing shopping center in Beaverton, Oregon.[20]

By 2014, MOD Pizza had 31 locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. The same year the company secured $15 million in private investment. Notable backers included Dunkin' Donuts president Paul Twohig and TOMS Shoes CEO Jim Alling.[citation needed]

In 2015, MOD Pizza raised $40 million in new funding for a total of $70 million in investment capital to fund an aggressive national growth strategy.[21] The main investor was the private equity fund PWP Growth Equity. MOD's growth is also accelerated by the addition of several franchise partnerships.[22] The business reached the 1,700-employee milestone in August 2015.[23]

In March 2016, MOD Pizza announced that they had secured $32 million in a funding round and had plans to expand to 190 stores.[24] In June, the company opened their first international location in Leeds, United Kingdom.[25] Additional expansion in the United Kingdom with joint venture partner Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner, Roger Taylor, began in 2015.[26] MOD named John Nelson, formerly of Nando's, Ltd. (U.K.), as their CEO of U.K. operations in January 2016.[27] MOD Pizza closed all nine UK locations in 2020.[26]

In January 2017, MOD Pizza had open its 200th location, which was located in Frederick, Maryland. At the time of the opening, the company had locations in 20 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, along with five locations in the United Kingdom.[28]

In its tenth year of business, MOD announced the opening of its 300th location in 2018.[29]

In May 2019, MOD Pizza raised $160 million in a funding round and plans to expand to 1,000 stores within next five years.[30]

MOD Pizza opened its first Canadian location (Langford, B.C.) in 2019.[31][32] In 2022, a second location opened in Nanaimo, B.C.[33]

By 2020, the company had grown to 400 locations and $400 million USD in revenue.[34]

In May 2021, the company announced a promotion celebrating its 500th location.[35]

Decline and new owners[edit]

In April 2024, MOD Pizza abruptly shuttered 27 restaurants permanently as part of mass downsizing.[36] On July 3, 2024, MOD Pizza warned that it was preparing for a potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and said that filing could be official as soon as the next week. By this time, the company had closed 44 restaurants.[37] The company blamed declining sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and rising interest costs as part of the decision.[38][39] A spokesperson said the closed stores were experiencing "sustaind under-performance" and "were closed due to unfavorable lease and site decisions made during a period of rapid expansion prior to the pandemic".[37]

On July 10, 2024, MOD reached an agreement to sell itself to Elite Restaurant Group. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.[40]

Awards[edit]

  • #7 of Fortune Magazine's 20 Best Places to Work in Retail in 2015.[41]
  • 2015 Community Impact Award for "Job Creation and Workplace Development" by Seattle Business Magazine.[42]
  • FEAT Reach for the Stars Award for Best Employer
  • 50 Breakout Brands by Restaurant News in 2013[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MOD Surpasses 500-Store Milestone". 17 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Mod Pizza's CEO on How to Manage Purpose and Profit". 14 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Eastside Entrepreneurs Create a Family Business - 425 Magazine". 425 Magazine. 7 December 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Eastside Fastest-Growing: MOD Pizza grabs slice of quick-service pie - Puget Sound Business Journal". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "MOD Surpasses 500-Store Milestone". May 17, 2021.,
  6. ^ "Store Locations". August 18, 2021.
  7. ^ "Top-your-own pizza chains emerging fast". Pizza Marketplace. January 29, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "MOD Pizza introduces new non-GMO pizza dough flour". www.fastcasual.com. 12 November 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Yuasa, Mark (January 13, 2012). "MOD's pizzas are fast, tasty and inexpensive". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 15, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Tice, Carol. "Rising Crust: Why VCs Bet $15M On Seattle's MOD Pizza". FORBES. No. May 10, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  11. ^ "MOD Pizza". zagat.com. ZAGAT.
  12. ^ "MOD Pizza Expands to San Jose with 3 Locations". QSR Magazine. June 16, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Seattle-based Company Expanding Brand within Local Community". Ballard News-Tribune. October 31, 2014. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Gonzalez, Angel (March 17, 2014). "MOD Pizza raising $15M in expansion effort". Seattle Times. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  15. ^ Oches, Sam (September 2013). "Pizza's Arms Race". QSR Magazine. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Canal, Emily (23 January 2018). "This Married Couple Sold Their Company to Starbucks for $90 Million, and Then Built a $131 Million Pizza Empire". Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  17. ^ a b Hynum, Rick (October 2013). "Fast-casual pioneer James Markham blazes a bold new trail into pizza's future". Pizza Magazine. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  18. ^ "Eastside Fastest-Growing: MOD Pizza grabs slice of quick-service pie". Puget Sound Business Journal. July 19, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  19. ^ Caley, Nora (January 28, 2013). "Breakout Brands: MOD Pizza". Nation's Restaurant News.
  20. ^ "MOD Pizza expands beyond Washington State". FastCasual. January 14, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  21. ^ "MOD Pizza snags $40 million for plan to go national". The Seattle Times. March 5, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Mod Pizza c.2014 CNTV, November 4, 2014, retrieved January 15, 2016
  23. ^ "MOD Pizza Reaches Hiring Milestone and Continues to Spread Its Unique Culture Across the Country". Yahoo Finance. 12 August 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Garnick, Coral (March 16, 2016). "Mod Pizza brings in another $32M, plans to double store count". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  25. ^ Garnick, Coral (June 8, 2016). "Mod Pizza continues its rapid rise, makes international debut". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Witts, Sophie (22 October 2020). "MOD Pizza closes its UK restaurants". The Caterer. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  27. ^ "MOD Pizza appoints new UK CEO". www.fastcasual.com. 8 December 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  28. ^ "MOD Pizza Celebrates 200th Store". GlobeNewswire (Press release). January 23, 2017.
  29. ^ Gelski, Jeff (January 9, 2018). "Funding to Help MOD Pizza Open More Locations". Retrieved 2024-07-11.
  30. ^ "The fastest-growing chain in America just raised another $160 million as it sets its sights on opening 1,000 locations". 28 May 2019.
  31. ^ "[Langford] Belmont Market | Commercial; rentals, condos | Under construction - Page 18 - Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich Peninsula, View Royal and the West Shore". September 26, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  32. ^ "Store Locations". Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  33. ^ "Country Club Centre | Nanaimo, BC". Mod Pizza. Retrieved 2023-05-13.
  34. ^ "How to Manage Purpose and Profit, According to the CEO of a Pizza Chain With $400 Million in Revenue". September 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "MOD Surpasses 500-Store Milestone". May 17, 2021.
  36. ^ Lesseos, Sophia (April 3, 2024). "Mod Pizza shuts down 27 stores nationwide: Wage hike suspected for California closures". KMPH. Retrieved July 3, 2024.
  37. ^ a b Bartiromo, Michael (2024-07-08). "MOD Pizza "exploring all options" amid bankruptcy rumors". Retrieved 2024-07-11.
  38. ^ Basu, Reshmi (July 3, 2024). "Restaurant Chain Mod Pizza Prepares Potential Bankruptcy". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 3, 2024.
  39. ^ Maze, Jonathan (July 3, 2024). "MOD Pizza is reportedly considering a bankruptcy filing". Restaurant Business Online. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  40. ^ "It's a MOD world: Pizza company saved from bankruptcy, for the moment". 2024-07-11. Retrieved 2024-07-11.
  41. ^ "The 20 Best Workplaces in Retail". Fortune. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  42. ^ "The 2015 Community Impact Awards: Job Creation and Workforce Development | Washington and Puget Sound Business News Source | Seattle Business Magazine". Seattle Business Magazine. 19 October 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  43. ^ "Breakout Brands: MOD Pizza". nrn.com. 28 January 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2016.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to MOD Pizza at Wikimedia Commons