Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza promises to “Make People Happy with Pizza” and the new brand will start fulfilling this promise in Ames, Iowa, this spring. The 2,700 square foot restaurant will, located directly across from the Iowa State University campus, will seat more than 80 guests.
“We couldn’t be more excited to start this journey in Ames,” says Matt Mongoven, chief executive officer of Fourth Avenue Restaurant Group, the franchisor of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza. “Our concept is so unique, and it is truly special to introduce it to Ames so close to where the concept was perfected.” The new brand is modeled after one of the first wood-fired fast casual pizza restaurants in the U.S., Pi Wood-Fired Pizza, located in Rochester, Minn.
The fast casual pizza franchise aims to create a fun, unique experience with the highest quality ingredients. Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza roasts its own meats, chops fresh vegetables throughout the day, and makes its dough from scratch every day. “The food is so fresh, we don’t even have a freezer,” says Linda Black, president and chief operating officer. “Nothing is pre-processed and our food will never just come out of a bag,” added Black with pride. With a menu to suit a range of tastes, a fine-tuned operation, and an impressive cost of goods sold ratio, Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza is primed to disrupt the fast casual pizza market with its unique model.
“We’ve spent years creating our philosophy that our guests are not customers. We know they have a choice of where to spend their hard-earned money and we take that very seriously,” says Black. Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza applies this same passion to its brand of fun. “We have fun with our guests. We’ll sprinkle flour on the counter and draw something for the kids, and everyone loves to watch pizza bake in the wood-fired oven. We have an annual contest where our guests design that year’s pizza box,” says Black. “We’re also big believers in supporting our local communities. We make pizza, but we also do our best to make people happy.”
The Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza team hopes franchisees see the same “fun” opportunity in combination with a profitable business opportunity. “We have expert partners in every aspect of franchising, including operations, training, site selection and marketing,” says Mongoven. “When I talk to prospective franchisees, what really resonates with them is how seriously we take freshness, the thought we’ve taken in every step of our operation, and that we are truly wood-fired. Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza is a great concept for new or serial franchisees, and because we are new, the opportunity for geography selection is extremely attractive.”
The Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza’s menu includes over 13 specialty pizzas. Guests can also build their own pizza using a wide range of fresh ingredients. Even the pizza names, such as “Cyclone” and “The Twist”, reflect the playful brand. The restaurant will also serve starters, salads, wood-fired sandwiches, and craft beer.
“Good pizza, happy dough, wood-fired cooking, and scratch ingredients make us stand apart from other fast casual concepts,” says Mongoven. “We have a model backed by eight years of experience and profitability for interested franchisees, and we look forward to putting this on display at our new store in Ames, Iowa.”