The menu will feature traditional hand-tossed and pan pizzas, wings, salads, and desserts. It will also offer Italian sandwiches and pastas not available at the eatertainment model. That food will be paired with an elevated craft beer and wine category, meaning the fast casual could cater to a full family or adults going out to eat.
The pizzas are cooked by a custom-built Roto-Flex stone-fire oven that heats up to Peter Piper Pizza’s desired range of 500 to 550 degrees. It can also bake 200 pizzas each hour. The equipment is being used in both express and eatertainment units, and McKillips says feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, all future restaurants will use the oven going forward. When Peter Piper Pizza opens in Olathe, it will be the first Roto-Flex oven in the market.
“You're moving it from the lower tier all the way up to the top, and it fully cooks the crust,” McKillips says. “And then at the top, you've got the heat there and it's crisping up the pizza both on our pan and our hand-tossed, which gives us a real signature crunch and a great flavor.”
Peter Piper Pizza has 96 U.S. locations across Arizona (42), California (one), New Mexico (six), and Texas (47). The portfolio of formats will be used to unlock growth in more markets across the country and meet changing consumer needs. This is true of the eatertainment restaurants too. Peter Piper Pizza recently launched its funpass, which allows customers to buy game cards from a kiosk. Additionally, the chain released a new loyalty program and app in the summer.
McKillips expects demographics of each restaurant to remain relatively the same. In Arizona, the express stores and the eatertainment venues are bringing in similar customers, but there’s been no cannibalization. The pizzeria may see different guests because of its high-traffic real estate profiles, but at the core, all of them are simply “servicing families who love pizza.”
After measuring operational efficiencies for the express and fast casual models, the concepts will eventually be brought to franchisees. The end goal would be to sign multi-unit operators that would bring all three versions into a market. In preliminary discussions thus far, franchisees have shown much interest and are continuing to monitor performance of the express units.
“Now that we have done all of the R&D and come up with three concepts that could be very successful for any market, we’ll help them develop and we’ll help them go into the market and introduce Peter Piper Pizza starting in the Southwest U.S. And then growing out there where we have such strength and brand awareness,” McKillips says.