Top your own pizza prepared “Chipotle Style” is a great concept and is hear to stay.
However, Pie Five, a big player in the space from RAVE Restaurant Group (formerly named Pizza Inn), is having trouble. Two locations in Colorado Springs closed within a year of opening. Franchisees closed locations in Chicago and Minnesota, too. The franchisor closed 10% of its company-owned stores this year. The lower-than-expected sales and repeat visits were blamed on the brand and store design, with franchisees claiming it was tough to stand out in a crowded pizza market. They also accused the franchisor of misrepresenting sales numbers.
One franchisee that owns 7 locations in the midwest is suing the franchisor, for misrepresentations. A big thorn is this:
…the suit claims Pie Five’s food supplier, Performance Food Group, doesn’t provide fair pricing to franchisees. According to NRN, Pie Five collects a 2.5 percent rebate on food that Performance sells to its franchisees.
Ouch! That adds up when you are barely breaking even and you can’t reduce your food costs.
Frankly, I’m a bit surprised at Pie Five. They started off strong. The store style was nice and modern, but the final pizza quality was lacking. Just about everyone I knew that ate there said is no better than “average” with somewhat dry crust, and that won’t inspire repeat visits or groups spending $8 a person for pizza. With foodies experiencing hand-crafted Neapolitan style pizza using the delicate ’00’ flour, you gotta up your game Pie Five.
Blaze Pizza has the makings of a winner in this category, excellent product and excellent dough, despite the baking method that depends on an attentive pizza attendant with long peel.