Pie Five Pizza Co., a subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings, has awarded the first multiunit franchise agreement for Florida to develop 10 locations.

The deal with one of Florida’s most successful entrepreneurs, L. Gale Lemerand, will introduce the fast-casual brand to the state with aggressive growth plans for the Orlando, Gainesville, Melbourne, and Daytona markets.

“One of the hottest concepts in America is coming to Florida,” says Randy Gier, CEO of Pie Five. “Pie Five is making a bold entry into the state with a great business leader, and soon local residents will get a taste of an award-winning pizza dining experience.”

Lemerand is a sole owner or partner in 29 restaurants in Florida. They include 17 Stonewood Grill & Tavern restaurants, five Peach Valley Café locations, four Houligan’s sports bars, Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery, a tapas restaurant called The Dish, and Ormond Wine Company.

He previously owned one of the country’s largest insulation companies, which he sold to a Fortune 200 company.

Also known as a prominent philanthropist, Lemerand is one of the biggest donors to the University of Florida, where a scholarship fund, the street to Gator stadium, the athletic center, the football practice field, and a number of other gifts bear his name.

“Gale’s success speaks volumes,” Gier says, “not only for his national business expertise and his impressive restaurant achievements, but also for his community involvement. Pie Five is proud to be a part of Florida’s future with him leading that presence.”

At Pie Five Pizza, guests can choose from more than a million combinations of handcrafted pizzas and a variety of specialty pie choices prepared in less than five minutes on one of four crusts.

When Lemerand visited several Pie Five locations in Texas, he was ready to bring the concept to Florida in a big way.

“I thought, ‘How can you make a really good pizza in five minutes?’” he says. “They’ve got it nailed. It’s a great pizza and a great product.”

He was also impressed with Pie Five’s infrastructure. “They have all the staff, all the assets, and all the knowledge of being in the pizza business for so many years,” Lemerand says.

With nine corporate-owned locations in Texas and multiunit franchise agreements for Utah and Charlotte, North Carolina, Florida joins the lineup in one of the fastest-growing restaurant sectors.

Lemerand plans to open multiple locations in Florida to meet growing consumer demand for fresh dining options and artisan pizzas in stylish environments without the wait.

He is looking at several potential sites to develop in both cities and plans to announce the location of his first Pie Five restaurant in the next 60 days.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Pizza, Pie Five Pizza