An Innovative Path to Build-Your-Own Pizzas

Firenza chef’s concept personalizes quality pies really fast

January 1, 2018

From the January, 2018 issue of The Great Grocerant.

Pizza restaurant sales in the U.S. have surpassed $44 billion on the pillars of kitchen ingenuity, better ingredients, technology and delivery. 

Modeling after innovators can bring a healthy bite of this market to your grocerants. One fast-track concept to watch is Firenza Pizza, with its Chipotle-style assembly of personal pizzas at value prices, about $8 for a 10-inch pie. Customers can choose each component – from made-from-scratch dough, seven sauces, seven cheeses, and nearly 40 fresh toppings, many of them healthful, such as a layer of dressed salad and avocado slices, to suit their taste and dietary preferences, even gluten-free.

The chain claims food quality is its main attractor. Yet speedy 90-second cooking inside its high-intensity stone-hearth ovens is another. The fast prep expands opportunities for the eatery to serve time-pressed customers, such as business people on lunch. The high-heat, fast-serve process instantly gratifies and largely eliminates the sitting around, cooling and reheating of pizza for customers. 

Firenza’s approach weds personalization, convenience, quality, value and speed – traits that match how people want to eat today.  

Firenza Pizza merged with Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria in mid-2017, and set plans to expand their combined presence from eight states to 12, and develop nearly 100 units beyond their initial 14.“The fast-casual pizza industry is clearly undergoing consolidation. We are positioning ourselves to be one of the players left standing,” said Firenza co-founder and CEO Dave Wood.

“Build-your-own format restaurants have been increasing sales twice as fast as made-to-order fast-casual brands, but only those with a combination of culinary excellence, operational knowhow and market penetration will survive,” stated Glenn Cybulski, the company’s Executive Chef and Pizzaiolo at the time of the merger, who innovated the menu, and was named a World Pizza Champion.

 

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