MOD Pizza, the biggest pizza fast casual in the U.S., closed 26 restaurants across the country in recent weeks.

The shutdowns were in 10 states and Washington, D.C., according to sister publication PMQ, which confirmed the closures with CEO Beth Scott. Five of them came in California, three each in Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, two each in Wisconsin and Seattle (the chain’s home market), and one each in Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia, Oregon, and Atlanta. All were company-owned stores, except for the one in Atlanta.

Scott told PMQ in an email that these restaurants “had underperformed for some time.” Severance was provided to all employees in areas where transfers were unavailable or declined. The chief executive didn’t rule out more closures happening in the future.

“Like any successful business, we continually evaluate the performance of all of our assets,” Scott told PMQ. “In a company of our size, not every location is going to be successful over time due to a wide range of factors.”

Although the closures were mostly concentrated in California, the company said they weren’t related to the state’s new fast-food law that upped the minimum wage to $20 per hour for the quick-service industry. The chain has more than 50 units in the Golden State.

“While rising wages in California and other states certainly were a factor in the underperformance of the five locations we closed, the timing of California’s minimum wage hike taking effect and our closings in the state was coincidental,” Scott said to PMQ.

MOD Pizza’s website lists roughly 530 locations in the U.S. It has been one of the fastest-growing pizza fast casuals in recent years, with a net gain of 64 restaurants between 2020 and 2022.

The chain announced in November 2021 that it would go public, but the plans never came to fruition. Almost a year later, Becky Mulligan was promoted to the newly created position of chief restaurant officer and Stephen Blum was appointed the company’s first chief development officer. 7-Eleven veteran Cindy Richardson was brought on as vice president of franchising but left the company a year and a half later in December 2023.

Scott was named CEO at the start of 2024. She replaced co-founder Scott Svenson, who moved to the role of executive chairperson.

Fast Casual, Franchising, Pizza, Story, MOD Pizza