New fast casual pizza concept entering market.
Santa Margarita, California-based Pieology Pizzeria plans to enter the Atlanta market with a location in Alpharetta. The new restaurant will open at The Atwater, a new development across the street from Avalon, on Old Milton Parkway. The project, currently under construction, is also expected to welcome a number of new retailers and restaurants. The ubiquitous at&t and Mattress Firm will be joined by Starbucks and a new-to-market restaurant: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The nearly 2,800 square foot Pieology is expected to open in June, according to Joshua McBride, Vice President, Development at Segovia Aslan Enterprises. Segovia Aslan is an Irvine, California-based firm which secured development rights for the Pieology brand in Georgia, as well as North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.
Thus far, the group has four Pieologys open in Alabama with a fifth coming soon, and an initial unit coming to Raleigh, North Carolina later this spring.
McBride, an eight year veteran of Chick-fil-A, said his group plans to differentiate themselves from other competing pizza places by offering superior service. Pieology does such things as bring customers' pizzas to their table and "refresh" guest beverages as needed.
Segovia Aslan sees the greater metro Atlanta area as a growth market for the Pieology brand with plans for as many two additional locations locally this year. McBride indicates plans call for growth of four to five locations, each year, over the next few years, with plans to have twenty open in five years. McBride recalled a quote from Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy: "No goal is too high if you climb with care and confidence" when speaking of Pieology's gradual growth plans.
Launched in 2011 by Carl Chang, Pieology currently has about 100 locations with plans to be north of 200 by the end of 2016.
Last month, Panda Express founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng, longtime friends of Carl Chang, took a minority stake in Pieology. Although financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Chang called the deal a "strategic partnership," rather than just a financial one. The investment will likely allow Pieology to leverage Panda Restaurant Group's buying power with distributors and manufacturers, as well their real estate expertise.
Pieology, one of many in the fast-growing quick serve pizza category, offers 11.5" pizzas with unlimited toppings for $8.95. (This price may be slightly higher or lower depending on the market, but McBride tells me all of his group's locations will be at this price.)
Unlike Atlanta-based Uncle Maddio's Pizza
Joint, which cooks their pizzas via a conveyor-belt oven, Pieology cooks their pizzas in an actual stone oven.
Pieology enters the Atlanta market at an opportune time with only one other out-of-state quick serve pizza operator, Pie Five Pizza Co., having opened already.
Fort Worth, Texas-based Pie Five Pizza Co. opened its first location in Georgia this past summer in Newnan. A second location followed last month in McDonough. Other Pie Five locations are planned for Fuqua Development's Sugarloaf Marketplace in Duluth and Kennesaw Marketplace in Kennesaw. Another Pie Five is planned for an undisclosed location in Roswell, according to the Pie Five website. (The Pie Five website previously listed a location coming to the new Whole Foods Market-anchored Peachtree Crossing in Chamblee, but that listing has since disappeared.)
Pasadena, California-based Blaze Pizza is reportedly looking to enter the metro Atlanta market but as far as I know, has not yet secured any locations.
Atlanta-based Uncle Maddio's Pizza and Your Pie both have fifteen locations open in Georgia, with each expanding to multiple other markets via franchising.
I previously covered the various quick serve pizza operators and their (then) plans which can be found here
What is your favorite quick serve pizza concept? Have you been to Pieology? If so, what were your thoughts? Where would you like to see Pieology open next?
Please share your thoughts below.