Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 60 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • OCTOBER 2017 chain profile setup. Staff use back-of-the-house equip- ment to prep delivery orders and larger- format pizzas. Equipment here includes a pizza make table with refrigerated wells for toppings and a smaller fast-cooking electric conveyor oven. While these addi- tions increased the cost of the new prototype, they were deemed necessary investments, says Heiser. "We want to be able to do the 14-inch pizza and get it out quickly for delivery without interfering with our normal customer flow." The back of the house also features a prep station, which in- cludes a vegetable sink, food processors and work tables. Across from the prep station is Pie Five's walk-in cooler. Compared to the legacy design, this piece has increased in size to accommo- date another new offering from the chain: craft beer on tap. More Relaxed, More Energetic Like the addition of new food choices, the chain's beer offering provides guests another reason, and another way, to enjoy Pie Five. And, like the new hybrid vertical/horizontal kitchen, it adds energy to Pie Five's dine-in experience, thanks to the introduction of a 10-tap, 10-seat bar. This bar sits just past the end of the ordering counter and serves as a place where people can relax, enjoy a drink with their meal and maybe watch a bit of television on the two 42-inch monitors. To make the space more appealing, the chain uses a butcher-block bar top, chrome tap system, and growlers stored in overhead shelving. In addition to creating a more relaxed space, many of the finishes are more cost-effective. The legacy chairs were made of plastic and had the Pie Five logo cut into them. The new chairs have a mid-century modern design, costing less but looking better, Heiser says. Another major cost savings came in the form of floor- ing, which replaces a stained concrete floor. In the previous design, the chain paid extra for sound-absorbing material in the ceiling tile. This material is built into the new floor- ing. In addition, this tile can be laid down in a single day, while staining and sealing concrete is a multiday process that brings other construction work to a halt. The chain also used the redesign to help drive home its brand and what makes Pie Five stand out. This addresses the company's brand awareness challenges, says Crane. "We wanted to let people understand what we're all about. The number-one resonating brand identity issue that people loved but didn't know about were the toppings. You can get unlimited toppings all for the same price. That's such a powerful messaging and concept piece." According to Crane, the company has more stores in its home market of Dallas than in any other. Nevertheless, 60 percent of area consumers have never heard of Pie Five, while another 17 percent have heard of it but never tried it. One possible contributor to this problem, says Crane, is the company's name and legacy logo. Pie Five can be too easily confused for a dessert shop, while the legacy signage displays the word "pizza" in small, easy-to-miss type. The new prototype serves as a testing ground for new signage that prominently displays the word pizza. On the Path to Growth? As of press time, the new prototype had been open only a few weeks and Pie Five's leaders were currently evaluating the new design. While sales are obviously the first metric they look at, other factors will also play into the evaluation, says Crane. "[The first new store] is a way for us to take all these ele- ments and put them together and operationalize them. How does it work, how does it work together, what doesn't work, what can we do better?" Even with these questions up in the air, Pie Five is hopeful that this new prototype will put the chain back on track. The company, says Crane, wants to open 25 to 30 new stores in 2018, with a similar growth trajectory in the following years. The company also announced a partnership with Ali Shahid Butt via AR Pizza — which also owns 47 Popeye's Chicken sites and 8 Arby's — to open Pie Five's first international lo- cation in Pakistan in 2018, plus up to 40 more locations over the next seven years. "We're not changing the concept, we're just evolving," Crane says. "We're all about made for you, your own custom pizza, but if people want to use you at another occasion and there's a better way to do it, why wouldn't we look at that?" FE&S ● Chain Headquarters: The Colony, Texas ● Year Founded: 2011 ● Signature Menu Items: Craft pizzas, breadsticks, salads and desserts ● Number of Units: 87 ● Unit Size (Prototype): Front-of-the-house, 1,315 square feet; Back-of-the-house, 1,032 square feet ● Seats per Unit (Prototype): 76 ● Location Type: Endcap ● Unit Growth Projections: 20+ locations this year ● Check Average: $14 ● Equipment Package Cost: Approximately $150,000 FACTS OF NOTE Pie Five's new proto- type includes a bar, which serves local craft beer. Taps connect to kegs in a walk-in cooler behind the bar's back wall.

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