Pie Five Pizza Stands Out Among Innovators in Fast Casual Rankings

Trend-setting pizza chain rises to Top 15 in Fast Casual’s Movers & Shakers report

Pie Five Pizza Stands Out Among Innovators in Fast Casual RankingsBefore Pie Five Pizza opened its first restaurant in June 2011, America’s favorite food was uncharted territory in the world of fast casual dining. Three short years later, the made-to-order pizza chain now stands among the most successful innovators in the industry.

This week, FastCasual.com announced that Pie Five placed No. 13 in its ninth-annual

Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list. Led by a panel of industry experts and consisting of nearly 900 nominees, its 2014 lineup showcased the rapidly growing company alongside other fast casual giants like Smashburger and Chipotle. The ranking is another impressive achievement for Pie Five, which took home the No. 40 spot just last year.

Pie Five CEO Randy Gier, also ranked No. 13 on Fast Casual’s Movers & Shakers people list, said he can recall a time when pizza was just a blank canvas in the world of fast casual dining.  That is, until Pie Five burst on the scene. With franchises and company-owned restaurants popping up across the country and its revolutionary concept continually gaining momentum, Gier said the best is yet to come.

“When we introduced Pie Five to the market, our goal was to be the leading fast casual brand in the pizza realm; and this wonderful recognition from Fast Casual is just the latest indication of our success,” Gier said. “While other brands have tried to follow our lead, no one has been able to match our combination of quality, individualization, speed, price and streamlined operations. And we’re still pushing the envelope every day.”

At Pie Five, guests can choose from more than a million combinations of handcrafted pizzas and a variety of specialty pie choices prepared in less than five minutes on one of four crusts, all for one low price. The rapidly expanding chain is capitalizing on growing consumer demand for fresh diningoptions and artisan pizzas in stylish environments without the wait.

The company currently has 20 locations in six states (Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia) with more than 170 announced franchise units under contract in 12 states and Washington, DC.

The 2014 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers” publication was released recently for download after an awards gala in Chicago, timed to coincide with the National Restaurant Association tradeshow.

Judges determined the top 50 brands based on industry nominations and subsequent debate on the significance of the nominees to the segment. Criteria included innovation, growth, social responsibility and overall contribution. In addition, the judges acknowledged the 20 industry executives who have most contributed to the evolution and health of fast casual, the most influential menu innovations, and the most impactful food and technology trends.

“[It’s an] egalitarian approach that often allows smaller yet innovative brands tomake the cut,” FastCasual.com Senior Editor Cherryh Butler said.

Thanks to an integrated digital strategy, Pie Five and its franchise owners have developed an effective approach to engaging customers and new communities before a new restaurant even opens. With its modern feel and upbeat atmosphere, coupled with strong grassroots marketing and PR support, the concept is hitting on all cylinders, Gier said.

“We rely heavily on word of mouth,” he said. “When people come in for the first time, the majority of their reactions can be summed up in one word: ‘Wow.’ You just have to see it for yourself.”

Pie Five is a subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZI), based in the Dallas suburb of The Colony, Texas. Pizza Inn Holdings is an owner, franchisor and supplier of more than 275 restaurants operating domestically and internationally. Pie Five Pizza Co. is the leading brand in the rapidly growing fast-casual pizza space, offering individual handcrafted pizzas with fresh ingredients made to order in less than five minutes. The company was named a 2012 Hot Concepts winner by Nation’s Restaurant News and one of “10 Hot New Restaurant Chains from Established Brands” by Forbes.com. For more information, please visit piefivepizza.com.

FastCasual.com is the world’s most-read news and information source to cover fast casual restaurants, which combine the speed of quick-service brands with an atmosphere and food quality typically associated with casual dining establishments. For more information please visit www.FastCasual.com