Rave unveils Pizza Inn Express kiosk

Rave expands its year-old Pizza Inn Express

Concept sees opportunity in non-traditional locations as sister brand Pie Five struggles

Rave Restaurant Group Inc. is expanding its year-old Pizza Inn Express rollout, adding two more units in the second quarter ended Dec. 23 and bringing its total to seven, the company said Wednesday.

Dallas-based Rave, which owns the Pizza Inn buffet and Pie Five fast-casual concepts, said its pipeline of Pizza Inn Express, or PIE, units is growing. The company introduced the PIE platform in late 2017.

"PIE is opening us up to opportunities to design foodservice solutions that will work for licensees in their unique, non-traditional settings including travel centers, convenience stores, airports and universities,” said Bob Bafundo, Rave’s president since September.

“We've already been approached by retail prospects interested in adding PIE as an enhancement to their existing menus,” Bafundo said in a statement that accompanied the release of second-quarter earnings. “We're proud of the progress to date, but we're still in the early stages of expanding the brand.”

Rave continued to wrestle with its fast-casual Pie Five concept, which saw same-store sales decline 3.6 percent in the second quarter.

“With consumer research showing changing consumer preferences, Pie Five is shifting toward a business model focused on delivery, online ordering, carry-out and drive-thru initiatives," Bafundo said.

Rave has introduced a smaller version of Pie Five, which it calls its “Goldilocks” prototype, and is focusing on its off-premise dining options.

In the second quarter, Pie Five opened two new domestic units but five domestic units were closed. The number of U.S. Pie Five units at the end of December total 65. That’s down from 80 domestic locations in the same quarter a year earlier.

“Although we anticipate additional consolidation from first-generation restaurants, we continue to have strong interest in the 'Goldilocks' model, including several development opportunities in the pipeline,” Bafundo said. 

For the second quarter ended Dec. 23, Rave swung to profit of $232,000, or 2 cents a share, from a loss of $577,000, or four cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenues fell 23.9 percent to $3.2 million from $4.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Rave’s total same-store domestic retail sales increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter. Pizza Inn’s same-store sales increased 2.7 percent in the second quarter. 

During the second quarter, the Pizza Inn domestic unit count increased by two to 155 units, including seven PIE units, while international units decreased by three to 48 units.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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