- Fast-casual chain MOD Pizza raised another $US73 million, bringing its total equity capital raised to more than $US180 million.
- The chain now has 302 locations, opening roughly 100 stores in the last year alone.
- Here’s what it’s like to visit.
MOD Pizza has raised another $US73 million, bringing the fast-casual pizza chain’s equity capital raised to more than $US185 million.
“We’re going to continue to grow at the rate we have been growing – which is really fast,” CEO and co-founder Scott Svenson told Business Insider on Tuesday.
MOD Pizza is one of the fastest-growing chains in the industry, opening 110 locations in 2017. The fast-casual pizza chain now has 302 locations, more than doubling its size over the last two years.
“It’s been fun and exhilarating, but wild is a good way of describing it,” Svenson said. According to the CEO, MOD Pizza plans to continue to open roughly 100 stores a year.
In the most recent round of funding, the fast-casual pizza chain raised $US33 million from existing investors, including PWP Growth Equity and Fidelity Management & Research Company. The company also closed on a $US40 million credit facility.
Business Insider’s Melia Robinson recently visited a MOD Pizza in Daly City, California. Here’s why she believes traditional pizza delivery chains should be terrified:
Svenson — who has food industry experience as a former Starbucks executive — and his wife, Ally, co-founded MOD Pizza in 2008.
The chain draws inspiration from fast-casual king Chipotle with its assembly line. Customers can choose from a selection of toppings in front of them.
The menu also features nine “classics,” or signature pizzas, from a classic cheese to the Dillon James, which features mozzarella, asiago, chopped basil, garlic, and sliced tomatoes.
Employees, called “the MOD squad,” slice and prep ingredients daily to ensure freshness.
The dough, a proprietary recipe, gets pressed in a machine so it’s as thin as a tortilla.
An employee takes an order, sauces and “cheeses” the pie, and sends it down the line.
For about $US8, customers can order all the toppings they want on an 11-inch pizza.
Customers with bigger appetites can order a “Mega” pizza, which stacks any two pizza crusts on top of each other. It costs $US3 extra and is very Instagram-worthy.
Then the pizza goes into a gas-fire oven for about 90 seconds. The cook spins the pie with a palette to ensure it cooks evenly and removes it when the crust starts to burn.
I started with the Mad Dog, a meat lover’s dream pie topped with mozzarella, pepperoni, mild sausage, and ground beef. I finished off my first slice without blinking. The mushrooms tasted fresh from the market, while the sausage packed heat.
The Tristan, which features mozzarella, asiago, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and pesto, was understated and delicious. By now, however, I realised the crust was rather tough at the center because of its thinness. It resembled matzah more closely than pizza dough.
But the cheese was cooked to perfection. Stringy, gooey mozzarella hung from the sides.
The Crosby, a seasonal pizza topped with mild sausage, roasted asparagus, and a balsamic fig glaze, became an instant favourite. It was sophisticated.
I’m not a barbecue-pizza lover, so the Caspian did not appeal to me. It has a savoury mix of mozzarella, gorgonzola, barbecue chicken, barbecue sauce, and sliced red onions.
I would eat at MOD again — if not for the affordable, crave-worthy pizza, then to support the company’s people-first mission. What sets MOD apart from its competition is its culture and focus on employees. Svenson said the company put its team before even customers.
“Our people are at the core of everything we do,” Svenson said. The company hires people from all walks of life, regardless of their criminal history, experience, or disability.
Most of the employees I met in Daly City were local community-college students. It was a first job for some. MOD pays, on average, 25% above the local, federal, and state minimum wage.
Svenson sees MOD “as a bridge into” where employees “want to be in life.” It also happens to be a good place to grab a pizza.
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