The Pizza Studio

Former Panera Exec Banks on Fast Casual Pizza Studio

William Simpson is banking on fast-casual pizza.

The former Panera senior vice president and chief franchise officer joined California-based Pizza Studio as its chief operating officer with the hopes of propelling the brand to the top of one of the most thriving segments in the industry.

“With all the new concepts out there, it feels like fast-casual pizza is going to be the next exciting, high-growth segment in the restaurant business,” Simpson says.

Pizza Studio to Open in Phoenix

Los Angeles-based fast-casual Pizza Studio will expand into Phoenix after signing a multiunit development agreement for 20 new locations in the Phoenix area over the next five years. The first location will open in CityScape on March 10.

“CityScape will be our flagship restaurant in downtown Phoenix,” says John Lutz, COO. “Whether it’s a quick business lunch, dropping in before a ball game, on the way to a concert, or just enjoying a day in our beautiful downtown area, Pizza Studio will serve as a great dining option.”

The Growth 40

The best large, medium, and small markets for your unit expansion.

Large US cities like Miami offer fast food operators promising growth potential.
Miami has recovered from the Great Recession and now offers quick-serve operators plenty of growth potential. / wsfurlan

If this year’s Growth 40 report is any indication, plenty of quick-service brands will soon be following in the footsteps of basketball superstar LeBron James and taking their talents to South Beach.

Miami tops QSR’s fourth annual Growth 40 report, claiming the first spot among the nation’s largest markets, while Austin, Texas, and Palm Springs, California, earn top honors among medium and small markets, respectively.

Pizza Studio Debuts in Mall of America

Lloyd Sugarman, the original and largest Johnny Rockets’ franchisee, will open his first Pizza Studio location at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, on January 20. The Mall of America location is the first to open outside of California and the initial store from the multi-unit development deal Sugarman signed with Pizza Studio last year, which will also bring multiple units to New England.


The Pizza Studio Expands to San Diego County

Los Angeles–based fast-casual restaurant, The Pizza Studio, will expand into San Diego County after signing a multi-unit development agreement for 20 new locations with veteran restaurant entrepreneur George Katakalidis. The first location will open in downtown San Diego in January 2014, with a second location in Kearny Mesa, Califronia, opening in March 2014.

“Pizza Studio has a fantastic product and operational setup and I could not be more pleased to be their partner in San Diego County,” Katakalidis says.

Pizza Studio to Make Midwest Debut

Los Angeles-based fast-casual restaurant chain, The Pizza Studio, announced the signing of a multi-unit franchise agreement with PS Midwest Development, a BRICK Restaurant Group managed company. BRICK Restaurant Group also manages the rapidly growing Freebirds World Burrito franchise locations across Kansas and Missouri. BRICK has plans to open Pizza Studio locations across the Kansas City market area and will eventually move into regions of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Flavors of the World

Although most restaurants will change ingredients in an entrée to meet a guest’s request, a growing number of pizza and ethnic eateries are letting diners build their own menu items from scratch.

“It’s a system that delicatessens and street-food vendors worldwide have used for years. For many consumers, the concept of having restaurant staff assemble fresh, high-quality food in front of you to your design has great appeal,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based market research firm Technomic Inc.

Pizza Studio Signs Deal with Panera Developer for 25 Units

Los Angeles-based fast-casual restaurant, The Pizza Studio, announced the signing of an agreement with Studio 37 of San Jose, California, to develop 25 new restaurants throughout the greater San Francisco metro area. The managing member of Studio 37 is Jeff Burrill, who also serves as the managing member of Pangenera, a multi-unit developer of Panera Bread in the San Francisco Bay area.