L.A. Pizza Joint Plans Push Into Twin Cities
Mall of America is drawing a new create-your-own-pizza franchise to Minnesota called Pizza Studio—and the franchisee has plans for three more throughout the Twin Cities.
Pizza Studio said it is set to open at the Mall of America on January 20, and will be owned by franchisee Lloyd Sugarman, the original and largest franchisee of burger joint Johnny Rockets.
“We are very excited to launch our first Pizza Studio location,” Sugarman said in a statement. “Mall of America sees up to 40 million visitors each year and is the perfect site for us to introduce this rapidly expanding concept.”
Sugarman told Twin Cities Business that, in addition to the MOA site, he plans to develop the brand further into the Twin Cities with at least three more locations to be opened within about a year-and-a-half—and possibly 10 total if the first batch is successful.
Pizza Studio bills itself as “fast-casual dining.” It offers customers the opportunity to build their own pizzas with a variety of crusts, sauces, chesses, meats, and vegetables before the staff cooks them up. The pizzas are 11 inches with prices ranging from $5 to $7.95, depending on the amount of toppings.
For the additional three sites, Sugarman said he’s looking into opening up someplace in the downtown skyways and is also interested in the University of Minnesota campus.
Sugarman also plans to open 12 new Pizza Studio locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—with his eyes on Boston University as the first New England location.
The create-you-own-pizza concept is similar to a Los Angeles-based chain of pizza restaurants called PizzaRev, which is backed with investments from Golden Valley-based Buffalo Wild Wings. In August, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith said the company was searching for locations in Minneapolis to open a PizzaRev restaurant by the first quarter of 2014.
Like PizzaRev, Pizza Studio is based out of Los Angeles. Pizza Studio was founded in 2012 but has already signed development agreements with multiple franchisees for more than 148 restaurant locations across the country.
Sugarman owns the only Johnny Rockets restaurant in Minnesota, which is housed at MOA, but said he also hopes to expand that brand further into the state in the future—possibly to some of the large casinos in the area.
In other comfort food franchise news, Dunkin’ Donuts is lining up investors to bring a number of franchise locations to the Twin Cities area, read more here.