May 1, 2017 | by S.A. Whitehead

Rapid Fired Pizza is living up to its name today, announcing that it has signed two area development agreements with a pair of restaurant industry veterans who will open 175 restaurants in four new states, according to a pair of news releases. This "rapid-fire" growth will result from partnerships with Tumbleweed CEO Matt Higgins and former Long John Silver's CEO Michael Kern, both of whom boast more than 30 years  leading fast food and fast casual concepts, particularly in the Midwest.

Higgins and Kern have joined with the veteran team at Rapid Fired — led by Hot Heads Burritos creator Ray Wiley — to put the 18-site Dayton-area chain on steroids in coming years by adding 65 sites in Indiana and Kentucky, and 110 more in North and South Carolina. 

As previously reported in a feature on this site, the chain has up to now concentrated its expansion on the area around its home base in Kettering, Ohio. But with today's announcements and the considerable knowledge and experience of two additional industry heavy-hitters, that story changes substantially.

"Rapid Fired Pizza has been on my radar for a while now," Higgins said in a news release about his agreement to add 65 locations in Kentucky and Indiana. "The attention to quality, operations and economics are the reasons we choose to align with Rapid Fired Pizza over other opportunities in the marketplace. We look forward to bringing great pizza to the people of Indiana and Kentucky."

Michael Kern has had his eye on Rapid Fired for a while, too.

"We did extensive research on the QSR Pizza segment and felt that Rapid Fired Pizza had the stuff great brands were made of — experienced leadership, attention to detail and a great product. Joining Rapid Fired Pizza is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to an exciting future with them."

Kern is credited with developing a Long John Silver's franchise operating company that tripled units and revenues within 10 years. His company currently operates 14 Long John Silvers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. He also has brand marketing experience with KFC and PepsiCo.

"We are excited to have Mike and his team onboard," said Ray Wiley, president of Rapid Fired Pizza.  "It speaks well of our young brand that we have worked so hard to build that a seasoned professional like Mike Kern chose Rapid Fired Pizza."                                                                            

Higgins has been with the popular Tex-Mex Tumbleweed brand since its inception 36 years ago and is also the chain's custom foods catering president. 

"Matt and his team are phenomenal," said Rapid Fired co-founder Ray Wiley, in the news release. "From the day we met, I knew that I wanted his outstanding crew to be a part of Rapid Fired Pizza."

Wiley is also an industry veteran who created Hot Heads Burritos and previously was a franchisee for Subway for 26 years. He and a team of two other industry veterans and a regional commercial real estate leasing and investment expert, as well as Riley's son Peter are all involved in chain leadership.

Currently, Rapid Fired's Ohio locations number 15, with 13 more coming on in the near future. 


Topics: Franchising & Growth



S.A. Whitehead

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.


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