Thriving on consumer demand while appealing to the appetite of investors, Firenza Pizza, one of the latest contenders emerging in the race to dominate the fast-casual pizza industry, strongly closed 2015 and has all of the pieces in place to launch an aggressive national growth initiative in 2016.

Firenza was founded in 2015 by Dave Wood and Dave Baer, two franchise veterans who have over 50 years in the industry combined. Wood owned and operated 17 Dominos franchises throughout Northern Virginia before opting for retirement and selling them in 2012.

Last year, the company opened its first two locations in the city of Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia. A third corporate store is expected to open in Ashburn, Virginia, in the first quarter of 2016. Company plans call for opening as many as 15–20 new restaurants this year and approximately 20–30 annually thereafter.

“The enthusiasm and momentum we built from a successful first 10 months of business has continued into the new year,” says Firenza cofounder and CEO Dave Wood. “Our growth in this overly populated marketplace is a true testament to the high demand for our products and the excellent leadership of our all-star franchise team and culinary team. We’re confident we have what it takes to become the segment leader.”

Having only launched its franchise opportunity last October, Firenza has already signed its first franchise deal: a 25-unit master development agreement that will bring the brand to Richmond, Virginia, and Eastern North Carolina.

Firenza specializes in truly handcrafted pizzas. Customers can pick and choose from nearly 40 toppings—six signature sauces, seven cheeses, nine meats, and 17 veggies—and watch their customized pies assembled right in front of them. For those customers who don’t want to create their pizzas from scratch, Firenza also offers eight, chef-inspired signature pizzas. Each pizza takes about 3–4 minutes to bake in an open flame stone-hearth oven.

Other menu items include oven-baked wings, meatballs, and custom salads. Beverages include beer and wine, Mexican Coca-Cola, and Coke freestyle fountain drinks.

“We are excited to grow beyond Virginia,” Wood adds. “As we continue to build our footprint, we will remain committed to providing premium quality products and exceptional service, as well as a welcoming atmosphere that can’t be matched.”

Franchising, News, Pizza, Firenza