After solving how to meet the nearby customer, Oath turned its attention toward reaching guests in markets where it didn’t have a presence. To that end, the company last year struck a partnership with online marketplace Goldbelly, which facilitates delivery across all 50 states.
Through Goldbelly, Oath offers four or six packs of Gluten-Free Banza Chickpea Crust, Classic Crust, Dairy-Free Classic Crust, Classic Crust Cheese Pizza, and Gluten-Free Banza Chickpea Crust Cheese Pizza.
After figuring out packaging logistics and testing with friends and family, the service launched nationally in two weeks. Hayes estimates sales through this channel have doubled since it began. When dining rooms opened, the company shifted its focus, but the chain expects shipping to gain more traction during the holiday season.
“The feedback that was most interesting, people in California tell us that it was as good and maybe even better," Kellogg says. "Perhaps it was under the influence of lockdown or something, but to be able to get that sort of positive feedback on something that is designed to be enjoyed fresh and have it be so positively received, that was very heartwarming and gives us confidence that we could do more."
For Kellogg, “could do more” means finding the right opportunities, target markets, and population densities to expand Oath both traditionally and nontraditionally. The brand’s sweet spot is affluent suburbs, heads of household, and teenagers with disposable income. The CEO expects growth to occur mainly on the East Coast, but he says interest has come from across the country. The chain’s most notable franchisees are Aramark, which joined in 2017, and Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera.
With the crust and dough-making process completed outside the restaurant, Oath is able to fit into smaller, more efficient spaces and shrink buildout and labor costs. The typical restaurant is between 800 and 1,200 square feet, although the original location in Nantucket, Massachusetts, location is 692 square feet.
“We will say, the United States hasn't been built to those sizes,” Kellogg says. “We see a lot of boutique or unique corners or carving out. We’ve actually looked at a number of deals where they’re big dining rooms that have been cut out to explore somebody else. We're one of the only opportunities out there that operate in that space.”
The CEO says Oath is comping well against 2019 as it heads toward the end of this year, and he doesn’t expect much of a slowdown in 2022. He believes consumers’ choices are evolving and leaning more toward healthier experiences and higher-quality calories.
That movement plays right into Oath’s hands, Hayes says. The company views itself as the point where “pizza meets wellness.”
“We are really fortunate to have a product that meets consumer demands that are increasing for higher-quality ingredients, for picking products that are better for them,” Hayes says. “That's something that I think is not going to go away. There is such a high part of the population that is interested in choosing the better option."