Fast casual pizza is on the rise. For proof, look no further than Fired Pie, the build-your-own pizza and salad concept created by Rico Cuomo, Doug Doyle and Fred Morgan, who met while working together at California Pizza Kitchen. Their business exploded from nothing into four locations in less than eight months.
“We decided to take the jump and open our own restaurant,” Morgan said, “and that’s how we’ve come to be here.”
Cuomo, Doyle and Morgan all opened up 80-100 restaurants during their careers, Morgan said, so when it came to opening a business, they knew what they were doing.
When looking for locations, the three owners sought out second-generation restaurants, restaurants that had already been built so that they could easily take over and build a new location. They bought two such restaurants and are leasing two as well.
At those second-generation locations, everything that is needed for a fully functional restaurant is already installed, Morgan said, making it at least 50 percent cheaper to open up a new location.
“We had limited money and knew we wanted to get several locations open quickly,” Morgan said. “(Buying second-generation restaurants) was the quickest way to do that.”
That strategy allowed the partners to open up a new Fired Pie in just two weeks and are utilizing the cost-effective plan to open a new location every 90 days. Morgan said Fired Pie hopes to have 15-20 restaurants open within two years. While the three men have financed the venture with their own money, they are looking for a financial partner to help fund expansion, Doyle said. Depending on who becomes their financial partner, franchising Fired Pie could become a possibility, but franchisment isn’t in the owners’ immediate plans.
What is in their plans is to capitalize on the popularity of fast-casual dining and on a product they know: pizza. The owners said they saw a demand for fresh, customizable pizza and seized the opportunity to create their own niche.
“We deliver an awesome product at an awesome price in a quick amount of time,” Cuomo said.