According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “When it comes to growth, Todd Parent, founder of the 41-unit Extreme Pizza chain, believes that restaurateurs should learn to walk before they run.”
“Or, to put it in the parlance of the extreme-sports-theme pizza concept, one should learn to swim before they kiteboard, a water sport that involves riding a surfboard while harnessed to a large kite. Parent founded San Francisco-based Extreme Pizza in 1994 as a take-and-bake pizza concept. But very quickly his customers made it clear he needed to tweak the menu. ‘They said the product was great,’ Parent said, ‘but they wanted it every way that, at the time, we didn’t offer it: They wanted it baked, sliced, delivered and in supermarkets.’ So he listened and adapted the model, despite objections by Parent’s then-partner Mike Pastor, who later sold out to his partner and other investors. Parent remains the majority owner. As a result, the first Extreme Pizza location in San Francisco began baking its pizzas, offering it by the slice and delivering, as well as offering it through upscale retail stores like Whole Foods—a practice that later stopped. The chain no longer offers its products through other retailers. In 2001, after growing the chain to four corporate locations, Parent began franchising. Since then the chain has grown steadily. Now there are 10 corporate locations and 31 franchised units in six states and in Dublin, Ireland.