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FDD Talk 2016: The Pieology Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on May 3, 2016

in Fast Casual Restaurant Franchise, FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Pizza Franchises



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Pieology Assembly Line

In this FDD Talk 2016 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Pieology franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Pieology franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Pieology’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2016 FDD, including information on the:
  • average weekly gross sales, average gross sales per 4-week period, and average gross sales for the trailing 13 periods during the fiscal year ended December 28, 2015 for the 3 company-owned Pieology Restaurants that had been in operation for at least two years as of the end of that fiscal year
  • average weekly gross sales, average gross sales per 4-week period, and average gross sales for the trailing 13 periods during the fiscal year ended December 28, 2015 for the 9 franchised Pieology Restaurants that had been in operation for at least two years as of the end of that fiscal year

Section I – Background Information

The fast-casual custom pizza segment is a rapidly evolving market, and Pieology is a new chain that in recent years has been called the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country. Most of the stories you read about Pieology focus on founder and CEO Carl Chang, but he wasn’t the only one who helped start the chain.

The full story includes James Markham as well, who definitely qualifies as a serial pizza entrepreneur. His first take on pizza was a traditional California chain called Knockout Pizza. Then he launched New York Style Pizza in China. Running two different chains on opposite sides of the world was taking its toll on his family life, though, so in 2006 he had a new idea inspired by Chipotle – why not do custom pizzas so people get exactly what they want, and why not do it much closer to home as well?

That’s when MOD Pizza came on the scene in 2008 in Seattle. But just a couple years into it he really didn’t like the direction of the chain and bailed out to start Pieology in 2011, but once again he jumped ship (he admits he doesn’t play well with others). In 2012 he launched yet another new pizza concept, this time called Project Pie, in which he brings together everything he’s learned from the other ventures.



Meanwhile, Chang has carried the Pieology banner to great success with at least 104 locations. Here’s how Pieology keeps customers coming back for more in the highly competitive fast-casual pizza segment:

It’s About the People

From the beginning, there was one thing even more important than the pizza – the people. Both Markham and Chang wanted to spend time with their families as well as run a successful business. As it says on its website, “We didn’t set out to create just another make-your-own pizza place. We’re here to feed our community, nourish creativity and bring people together. It’s a bigger vision. One filled with love and purpose. For Pizza. People. Passion.”

And It’s About the Pizza

Pieology claims it can help customers create more than 78 billion pizza possibilities. Clearly, the sky’s the limit in terms of creativity. The point is that for far too many places, pizza had become little more than convenience food, and Chang wanted it to be more special than that. With more than 40 toppings, the chain tries to source as much as it can locally, and adjusts menus to reflect local tastes and trends as well.

Award-Winning CEO

Chang was a 2015 recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by the Orange County Business Journal. He credits his success in part to the example set by his parents – his family struggled to make ends meet, but always came together over food. And that’s the spirit he brings to Pieology. For him, sharing a meal is an act of love.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Pieology franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2016 FDD) and Analysis



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