Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2014

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 • JANUARY 2014 sidebar text the chain places its kitchen in the front of the house, bring- ing energy and drama to the space. The Pie Five kitchen has two main lines: the front line, which sits just behind the food shield displaying the pizza toppings, and a second line along the back wall. At the start of the front line sit two pizza tables with cold wells that store the toppings. Beneath the tables, drawer-style refrigeration holds extra prepared ingredients that staff use to replenish empty wells. Behind these tables is a similar but smaller table with wells and refrigeration for assembling both entrée and side salads. Next is a tall, reach-in dessert display for cookie and brownie pies made in-house. A grab-and-go cooler offers customers a choice of beverages, including beer, where li- censed. At the end of this line sits the point of service station. The line on the back wall features a 40-quart foor mixer, which kitchen staff use to mix dough each morning and as needed throughout the day. Next to the mixer are a dough table and sheeter for parsing out and shaping individual crusts. Then comes the star of the show: the oven. Instead of relying on a single unit, Pie Five installs an electric double-stack conveyor/convection oven surrounded by a combination of stainless steel and tile, matching the unit to the rest of the decor. What's more, the oven does not require a hood, Jobe says. "It's got a catalytic converter of sorts that takes out any toxins in the warm air it's releasing. It also recirculates most of that heat back into the oven, so they're very effcient in maintaining their heat load. That also saves a signifcant amount of money on the initial construction costs." Adjacent to the oven is a second dough table and roller, which allow the chain to function smoothly during peak volume times and provide valuable redundancy in case of a breakdown. Above the tables sit crust holders that store raw crusts waiting to be topped. In keeping with its relatively basic front of the house, Pie Five features an even simpler back of the house. Ingredients are prepped (either by hand or with a high-powered food processor) on a long worktable as well as on a special vegetable prep table with a built-in rinse sink. Each unit also contains a two-door upright freezer and a small walk-in refrigerator, where about one-third of the space holds dough while it rises. One piece of BOH equipment Pie Five doesn't have: a warewasher. The chain simply doesn't have enough reusable dishes to warrant one, says Jobe. Fast Growth, Faster Growth Like all fast-casual restaurants, one of the appeals of Pie Five as a business is its limited kitchen, which translates into a smaller start-up cost and simplifed operations. These factors have helped the chain grow at a healthy pace. Since opening its frst unit in June 2011, Pie Five has grown to 18 stores. Fifteen are company-owned, all located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The remaining three are franchised stores: one in Salt Lake City; one in Matthews, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte; and one in Overland Park, Kan., just outside of Kansas City, Mo. While the chain is on the verge of passing the 20-store mark before reaching 30 months in business, there are much, much bigger things in store for Pie Five. Jobe can't provide the company's exact growth plans, but he says that they've done ex- tensive due diligence on the top 100 markets in the country — a sign that they're ready to compete with anybody. Even more impressive is the company's early track record with franchisees. Pie Five has already contracted out the rights to an additional 95 stores in 10 states. And says Jobe, these are partners every up-and-coming chain should want — people who know the industry and how to operate well-run stores that can build a brand into something special. "All the franchisees we've signed so far are in the restau- rant business currently," explains Jobe. "So they see where the market is headed, and they're clearly looking for where the market is moving." FE&S chain profle ● ● Company Headquarters: The Colony, Texas (suburban Dallas) ● ● Signature Menu Items: Pie Five High Five (pan crust and marinara sauce topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, ham, beef, mozzarella/provolone blend and cheddar cheese); Athenian Pie (thin Italian-herb crust and olive oil topped with garlic, chicken, Kalamata olives, red onions, banana peppers, crumbled feta, fresh basil, sun-dried to- mato puree and mozzarella/provolone blend); Cookie Pie ● ● Number of Units: 15 (12 company-owned, 3 franchised. Contracts for an additional 95 franchised units have been signed.) ● ● Hours of Operation: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. ● ● Average Unit Size: 2,100 square feet ● ● Average Seats Per Unit: 70 ● ● Franchisee Fee: $20,000 per location FACTS OF NOTE Pie Five's focused concept allows it to operate with a small back-of-the-house kitchen that includes a vegetable prep table with a food processor and a three- compartment dish sink.

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