Michael Lastoria does things his own way.
As the CEO of 39-unit pizza brand &pizza said last year: “Where everyone goes right, we go left.”
Since starting &pizza in 2012, Lastoria has cemented his Washington, D.C.-based brand as a progressive, anti-establishment company that makes its own rules and bring new solutions to old problems.
In 2019, &Pizza rolled out a line of customized mobile kitchen trucks to prepare deliver orders on-the-go, part of a partnership with Zume designed to expand delivery access without the cost and real estate barriers of brick-and-mortar locations.
It also debuted a new store format in New York City called a “pizza cube:” a 300-square-foot, standalone kiosk that will serve as another lower-cost alternative for growth.
&pizza’s non-traditional approach is evident in other areas of the business as well.
Lastoria gives out his cell phone number to all of his employees, from franchisees to hourly cashiers. (Customers can text &pizza, too, using their Pizza Plug hotline, and an employee will answer during business hours.) And last year, &pizza introduced both customer and employee-facing perks, including a partnership with Lyft that provides discounted rides to employees working a late shift.
Lastoria also is a vocal labor activist, pushing for fair wages and workers’ rights in Washington and implementing those ideas into his own company.
“Everyone has a voice, those voices are heard, and we make changes,” Lastoria told NRN last year.
Over the past six years, &pizza has raised more than $60 million in funding and is now gearing up for rapid expansion: New locations are expected to open in the New York, Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania markets in 2020.
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