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Project Pie, a West Coast fast-casual pizza concept, has now opened its first European outlet in Dundee, Scotland and plans to add an additional 60 locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland in the next ten years.
The investment in the 60-seater Project Pie eatery in Dundee City Centre is more than £500,000 and will initially create 26 jobs.
Project Pie has been brought to Europe by Susan and John Canavan of the Canavan Co. UK Ltd., in partnership with renowned UK restaurant industry man, Niall Howard, who built the Michelin-starred Hakkasan Group, into one of the world’s most distinguished global restaurant, lounge, and nightlife brands.
Project Pie’s is famous in its homeland for its “Design – Build – Eat” theme of artisan pizza custom-built by you. Customers can choose from a range of 28 toppings, including a range of cheeses, meats, vegetables, and herbs and spices. The range of toppings will initially be sourced from the U.S. as Project Pie establishes a UK supplier network.
Up to 20 Pizzas—each 12 inches in diameter— can be simultaneously baked in the Woodstone stone-hearth oven at 680 degrees Fahrenheit in under three minutes, which is essential to Project Pie’s fast-casual ethos. All pizzas are one price regardless of how many toppings are added.
Supplementing the custom-built pizza, Project Pie in Dundee will sell a range of Boylan Fountain Sodas made from sugar-cane—the first time this premium range of soda drink has been available anywhere in Europe.
“When we saw Project Pie in California, we knew this would translate seamlessly to Western Europe where there’s unquestionably room in the Pizza market for a markedly different approach to what we already have here,” Says Sue Canavan, director of the Canavan Co. UK Ltd. “Moreover, having someone of Niall’s caliber on board gives us a huge advantage in rolling out our ambitious expansion program for Project Pie. He’s a proven winner having transformed Hakkasan Group into a global phenomenon, and it’s a delight to have his expertise to help drive forward our expansion plans.”
Niall Howard identified Dundee as the launch pad for Project Pie in Europe because of the density of its student population, as well as it being a compact and bustling city center with a consistently high footfall in the area chosen for the development.
“There is significant optimism around Dundee. There are regeneration projects happening across the city. The new Victoria and Albert Museum is being developed here and we think the vibrancy and opportunity for Project Pie are significant,” Howard says. “It was always part of our strategy to bring Project Pie to Scotland initially, and it’s very easy to just focus on the ‘big two:’ Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, our research indicated that Dundee was ideal for our first foray into Europe on several levels, and given the general buzz and anticipation we’ve seen from Dundonians, I know this is the right choice for us.”
The concept was created and developed by James Markham, a serial entrepreneur and pioneer of the fast-casual pizza movement, which has taken America by storm. He had previously created two other artisan pizza brands, Mod Pizza and Pie-ology on America’s West Coast, before establishing Project Pie in Las Vegas in 2012. The latter now has dozens of outlets across America and also in the Philippines.