&pizza Goes Mobile with New Growth Strategy
&pizza’s reputation for making bold moves is nothing new. Founder Michael Lastoria recently told Sapore that he plans on doubling the chain’s footprint over the next two years. The D.C.-based pizza chain, which opened in 2012, now has 36 locations.
On September 19, &pizza announced a new partnership with Zume, Inc. The company’s Forward Mobile Kitchen technology will help &pizza “expand its brand in new markets, and test new products before adding them to the menu in its brick and mortar restaurants,” the company said in a statement.
Three Mobile Kitchen units rolled out onto the streets of D.C. a few weeks ago. "They’re already exceeding our expectations," Zume's CEO Alex Garden told Sapore in an email. "In their initial days of service, the sales in the trucks mirrored the pizza shops at peak hours—which is incredible."
The pizza chain believes this partnership will help the brand reach its expansion goal by allowing it to take advantage of non-traditional locations, &pizza’s president and chief operating officer Andy Hooper said in a statement.
“The process of creating a technologically integrated experience in our pizza shops has a considerable lead time,” Hooper said. “So, we’re leveraging mobile units to share our product and story before we open a physical space.”
These are some of the features of the configurable mobile units:
- Faster Expansion with Lower Upfront Capital: Instead of spending thousands of dollars on permits and construction, the mobile units have a pre-configured leasable format, which allows the restaurant to open in weeks instead of months.
- Flexibility to Unlock New Markets: The units can be placed in the parking lot of office buildings, hospitals, and at events giving the restaurant more flexibility to reach new customers in new markets. The mobile units are able to move where the restaurant feels there is the highest demand from customers.
- Technology Integration: The mobile kitchens come equipped with Zume’s intelligent software platform that optimizes workflow, connected appliances, and integration into last-mile delivery providers.
- White-Glove Operational Support: Zume provides assistance with market identification, permitting, mobile kitchen operations, transportation, and kitchen maintenance. The company also offers delivery-specific culinary support, helping restaurants optimize their menu to ensure the integrity of their food quality in a mobile kitchen environment.
“We’re giving restaurants a fast, and cost-effective way to expand while focusing exclusively on what they love most—creating amazing food experiences for their customers,” Zume’s chairman and CEO Alex Garden said. “We’re thrilled to partner with a forward-thinking restaurant chain like &pizza who is an innovator and who shares our belief that food should be a catalyst for a better world.”