For the second time this month, a Five Guys franchisee has signed on to expand the Pie Five Pizza Co. brand.

Pie Five, a subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings Inc., has awarded up to 12 franchise units to Jeff Mengel, who will bring the concept to his native Baltimore.

"We've been looking for more than a year for the next category killer in the fast casual space, where we could get in early like we did with Five Guys," Mengel said. "I'm a very strong believer in the fast casual segment because busy people with active lifestyles want to eat on the go, but they still expect high quality. Pie Five has perfected the model in the pizza space and I have no doubt they are poised for explosive growth."

Mengel is the managing partner of four Five Guys locations in the Baltimore area. Three of the four operate among the top five in gross sales in the local market, and all four operate above the brand's system average. Mengel's partnership group with fellow franchisee Jeff Percey has won two of the chain's top awards: "Top Franchisee – Highest Average Unit Volume" and "High Sales Volume in a Traditional Location."

Two weeks ago, Percey announced that he would be introducing Pie Five to the Richmond, Va., market.

"Jeff Mengel and his operating team have proven that they know how to operate at a very high level in the fast casual space," said Madison Jobe, chief development officer for Pie Five. "They understand the importance of delivering a consistent, high-quality product to every guest every time, and they are intimately familiar with the Baltimore restaurant market."

Pie Five currently has 10 locations in Texas and one location in Utah. The addition of the Baltimore market brings the total announced franchise restaurants under contract to 97 in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The first Baltimore-area restaurant is projected to open in early 2014.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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