The restaurant chain formerly known as Modmarket is changing its name to Modern Market after settling a trademark dispute with the growing fast-casual concept MOD Pizza.
Anthony Pigliacampo, co-CEO of the Denver-based chain, revealed the new name and logo in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News this week. Modmarket sued MOD Pizza for trademark infringement in March. The settlement was announced in August but terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
MOD Pizza was the first to express concern about similarities in the name when Modmarket first opened in Texas last year, the smaller chain’s first move outside Colorado. But after negotiating for several months, Modmarket sued MOD Pizza for trademark infringement in March, according to court documents. The settlement was announced in August but terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Pigliacampo said changing the name was the best solution for both brands, especially as the 14-unit chain moves into a phase of growth that will take the brand into Arizona and California in the next year or so.
“It’s more of an evolution than a revolution,” he said. “Modern Market was our working name for the concept before it opened, and we shortened it. Whenever anyone who hadn’t been exposed to the brand asked what it meant, we’d say ‘modern market.’ We always felt we were a modern market.”
The “MOD” in MOD Pizza is an acronym for Made On Demand. The fast-casual pizza concept opened its first location in 2008, and the chain will include 88 units by the end of the week, with plans to more than double in size next year.
Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of Bellevue, Wash.-based MOD Pizza, said he has deep respect for the Modern Market concept, and Pigliacampo and Modern Market co-founder Rob McColgan as operators. But the move was necessary because of “the realities of trademark law.”
“We plan on building a national and international brand, and if you go into any market where we’ve existed, people know us as MOD, and that’s the brand,” Svenson said. “It’s really important that if we’re going to commit the resources and attention to our business that we can build the brand the way we feel is important.”
Modern Market, also fast casual, is also planning to nearly double in size, with two units under construction — in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., — and 12 units scheduled to open over the next 12 months.
“We’re opening in so many new markets where nobody knows what Modmarket is anyway, so we’re still building the brand from scratch,” Pigliacampo said. “This is the perfect time to make this transition.”
The concept, which focuses on healthful, affordable, farm-to-table fare, was founded in 2009, in Boulder, Colo. Pigliacampo noted that when his company was registering trademark materials MOD Pizza hadn’t opened yet.
“We did everything right,” he said. “And while we did not expect this to happen, the outcome enables both brands to continue pushing ahead at full speed."
Modern Market’s tagline, “Farm Fresh Eateries,” will remain the same, Pigliacampo said. A logo featuring a fork, spoon and knife will also be featured more prominently.
Soft assets, like the website, menus, receipts and packaging, will change before the end of 2015, he said. All restaurant signage will reflect the new name by February next year.
“We’ll have Modern Market and Modmarket being used interchangeably for a few months,” he said.