MOD Pizza once again is the fastest-growing concept among the country’s largest chains, according to the latest Top 200 data.
Sales at the fast-casual pizza chain based in Bellevue, Wash., grew by 44.7% in the year ended December 2018, to $390.7 million, after having grown by 80% in the Preceding Year. It opened a net 98 restaurants — 77 company-owned and 21 franchised — closing out the year with 395 locations. That’s 33% more restaurants than the year before, meaning, given the even larger growth in sales, that average unit volumes are on the rise, too.
MOD takes a whimsical approach to some of its marketing initiatives. For example, its seasonal limited-time offers have human names: The Ruthie had red sauce, pepperoni, arugula, jalapeños, mozzarella, grated Parmesan and hot honey; the Isaac had olive oil, garlic, ricotta, red onion, roasted red tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette and basil.
But it also operates with the serious mission of making the world a better place. Husband-and-wife team Scott and Ally Svenson founded MOD Pizza with the intention of having a positive social impact, including hiring people who might have trouble getting jobs elsewhere, such as those transitioning from prison or recovering from drug addiction. Then they pay them well over minimum wage and give them a free meal during their shift. In 2017 MOD donated more than $1 million to community organizations.
With many consumers placing more importance on doing business with companies that align with their values, Scott Svenson has said that MOD has benefited financially from its approach to social responsibility. The chain has raised more than $180 million from equity investors who also see value in MOD’s approach to taking care of its employees and the communities it serves.
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