• Fast casual pizza concept signs 25-unit deal for Philippines

California-based Project Pie has signed an official agreement with master franchise partner DBE Project Inc. to open 25 restaurants in the Philippines throughout the next there years.

The first three locations will open by the end of this year, all within the Metro Manila market.

The first Project Pie opened July 31 in Mandaluyong and will be followed by Pasay in October and Muntinlupa in November. Other cities being considered for growth are Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Santa Rosa. The franchise group originally planned to open five stores every year, with a five-year goal of 25 new locations. However, the company said the first unit has experienced "overwhelming success," which has pushed that goal up to three years.

Project Pie is a top-your-own concept that cooks pizzas in less than 2 minutes. It is the brainchild of James Markham, who founded the company in 2012 after launching MOD Pizza in Seattle and Pie-ology in Fullerton, Calif.

Currently with two locations — the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego – Project Pie has several domestic locations slated for 2013 in Los Angeles County, Boulder, Colo., and Manhattan.

"When looking for a new concept to franchise, we wanted something fresh and inspiring," said DBE Project COO and EVP Vicente Gregorio. "Project Pie is the type of brand in a segment poised for fast growth that we know will do well here in the Philippines."

DBE Project is a subsidiary of International Family Food Services, Inc., the owner and operator of Shakey's Pizza Parlor in the Philippines, and is chaired by Leopoldo Prieto, Jr. and headed by Gregorio.

"DBE Project is the ideal franchise partner for our growth in the Philippines," Markham said. "With knowledge of the pizza industry from International Family Food Services and guidance from the Prieto family, they know more about franchising retail food brands in the Philippines than anyone."

Read more about franchising and growth.

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