Industry News | August 13, 2013
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.
“We were looking for a great concept to add to our portfolio, and after thorough diligence within the fast-casual pizza space, The Pizza Studio appealed to us the most,” Burrill says. “For our group, the most important aspect to buying into a new concept, beyond unit economics, is the quality and integrity of the management team behind it, and we are thoroughly impressed with the team leading The Pizza Studio.”
Burrill is referring to The Pizza Studio’s executives and co-founders: Samit Varma and Ron Biskin. Varma, the brainchild behind the concept, was inspired by the memory of creating his own pizzas in his mother’s kitchen as a child. From there he grew up to become a ballistic missile nuclear submarine officer. He received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
After serving his country, Varma became a general partner at Anthem Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm with a significant track record, including three company sales to Google. While at Anthem, Varma served on several boards that grew companies from infancy to several hundred millions in value.
Biskin is another major achiever who has enjoyed a long career in the franchised restaurant segment. He began his career with TGI Friday’s Inc. in 1983 and most recently served as president of Native Foods Café in 2012. He has franchised and developed hundreds of locations for TGI Fridays, Burger King, Baja Fresh, and Wolfgang Puck, where he served as president of Wolfgang Puck Express Licensing. In addition, he was involved in one of the biggest sales and acquisitions during 2002, when Baja Fresh was sold to Wendy’s International. When Biskin was first approached by Varma with the The Pizza Studio opportunity, it was clear that their backgrounds were extremely complementary. They decided to join forces and achieve their goal of making The Pizza Studio the number one “Create Your Masterpiece” pizza chain in the country.
The Pizza Studio offers a wide assortment of crusts, specialty sauces, premium meats, fresh, and roasted vegetables and the highest quality ingredients at affordable prices. They are known for their variety of flavors of their proprietary thin, light, and crispy crusts with unlimited toppings of sauces, cheeses, nitrate-free meats, and fresh-cut and roasted vegetables for each custom-built pizza creation.
Aggressive expansion plans are expected to continue for the company. The Pizza Studio now has signed development deals with several experienced multi-unit operators for 74 units and projects there will be announcements for 150 signed units by the end of the year.
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