Even with its storied Italian roots, pizza has likely never had a hotter "moment" than right now, as an ever more crowded field of talented players knead, toss and fire their pies to gain dominance in a highly competitive category.
A big part of this competition is centered on growth, as in "the most ubiquitous brand wins." This is seen in all its glory this fall with a flurry of growth now underway for just about every chain.
The Pizza Marketplace newsroom is inundated with news of these growth plans; below is a round-up of some of the most recent growth in the global pizza sphere.
Cici's chugs into the Alabama and Texas
This chain is adding two Alabama locations, one just recently opened in Homewood, and another on Nov. 13 in Hoover. The additions signal the increasing expansion plans for the buffet-style pizza chain, which a news release said has nine new restaurants under construction, with five more awaiting build-outs after leases were recently signed. Two more locations are to start soon in the Texas cities of Bastrop and Fulshear.
Flippin' Pizza flips out(ward)
Flippin’ Pizza NY Pies & Slices is expanding with four new locations opened already this year and 25 more secured through commitments to open stores in Texas, Georgia and California, a news release said. Likewise, the chain has updated its stores and added new eats, like baked wings, oven-roasted broccolini, oven-baked meatballs and house-baked cookies, as well as new pies and a refashioned salad line.
"We have introduced a clean, fresh brand look and feel both in-store and online, a revamped menu, new websites and mobile ordering app, and have launched our Flippin’ Perks loyalty program," Flippin’ Pizza Marketing Director Michelle McKee said in the release.
Rapid Fired moves from the Midwest to the 'West-as-you-get West'
This rapidly growing Ohio-based chains is reaching out and all the way over to the West Coast, with its first locations in California and Texas. The Taft Boulevard location in Wichita Falls, Texas is under the ownership of Brady Conway and Lance Lane, who are veteran restaurateurs in the area with the Subway brand.
Meanwhile, the location in the Fremont, California Artist Walk development will open early next year, a news release said, under the ownership of still more Subway veterans including Sunil Sehgal, along with his wife and a business partner. Rapid Fired President and CEO Ray Wiley said the company is well aware the new California store is stepping into some very intense pizza competition in the state.
"We look forward to showing them something a little different with our pizza cooked in 180 seconds with a dynamic flavor profile," Wiley said in the release. "Rapid Fired Pizza conducts consistent research and development efforts that continues to bring the best quality product to our customers."
Vapiano goes shopping in Prague, gets natural in Paris
This European chain is building out its numbers this fall in the capitol cities of both France and the Czech Republic, with the opening of second locations in both Prague and Paris this fall. The Paris addition is in the Disney/Center Parc joint venture, known as Village Nature, about four miles from Vapiano's Paris location in Disneyland Paris.
The Village Nature store fits right into the so-called green resort brimming with natural swimming pools, farms, a spa and an "aqua lagoon." At this resort, guests can stay inside the natural setting night and day in houses and cottages. The dine-in Vapiano location there sits alongside the lakeside promenade as a dine-in location with take-out and delivery.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic capitol of Prague, the chain also added a second location, this one aimed more at the city's locals inside the Mall of Prague, known there as Centrum Chodov. This store joins the city center Prague location where tourists abound. The double-decker mall restaurant has a ground-floor terrace and seating for more than 200 people.
Villa on the Nile
Villa Italian Kitchen restaurant has opened in one of the world's most ancient places, Cairo, Egypt. This new international location is situated in the busy Citystars Heliopolis in Cairo, and operated by local franchisee, Passion for Restaurants Co. This is the brand's second Egyptian restaurant with the franchisee. It also has a store that opened in 2012 in the Mall of Arabia.
Companies: Rapid Fired Pizza
Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.