Eye on the Chains: This Pizzeria Was Named 2019’s Emerging Brand of the Year

MOD Pizza Named Emerging Brand of the Year

As the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country, Seattle-based MOD Pizza has proven that doing good really is good for business. Restaurant Dive, a national digital magazine covering the restaurant industry, chose MOD as Emerging Brand of the Year for 2019. The publication noted that MOD Pizza “has leveraged savvy tech investments and off-premise optimization to win a hefty—and growing—slice of market share.” MOD’s 2018 sales grew by nearly 45% to $397 million while adding 102 stores, an increase of 34%.

Solidifying its credentials as a mission-driven business committed to addressing social issues as well as turning a profit, MOD continued its annual Spreading MODness celebration in November. The company donated a portion of every pizza sold to help create meals for kids struggling with food insecurity. MOD partners with Generosity Feeds and other nonprofits to distribute compact, nutritionally dense meals through school backpack programs and food banks in MOD markets around the country.

Related: How impact hiring helped MOD Pizza become the fastest-growing restaurant chain

“We have built MOD with the intention to positively impact as many lives as possible,” Svenson said in a press release about Spreading MODness. “For our customers, it’s simple—when they enjoy a pizza, they’ll also be helping to feed a child.”

They’re helping fuel MOD’s rapid growth and innovation, too. The company is aiming for 1,000 locations in the next five years, thanks to an infusion of $160 million in new equity financing. MOD will use the new funding to bolster its digital ordering channels, which experienced 100% growth in 2019.

Related: MOD Pizza gives the formerly incarcerated a second chance

“The vast majority of our sales are coming from experiences customers have in-store with us, [but] an increasing percentage of those are coming through various digital channels, whether it’s our website, mobile app or call center,” MOD CEO Scott Svenson told Restaurant Dive. “Many of those [channels] still lead to customers coming into the store to pick up their food or dine in.” MOD has also opened its first drive-through operation and has more planned for 2020. “We’re trying to figure out how to execute a drive-through so that we can deliver a fantastic customer experience,” Svenson added. “I would say right now it’s really in a test-and-learn phase.”


Little Caesars Partners With DoorDash 

Little Caesars, the world’s third-largest pizza chain, finally took the plunge into delivery in January. The company announced that it has partnered with DoorDash to deliver its pies from 3,600 stores in the United States and Canada. The full menu will be available for delivery orders, with no minimum purchases required for deals or discounts, David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars, said in a statement. “We’ve seen such expensive and complex pricings throughout the pizza industry, and we think it’s crazy,” Scrivano said. “Some chains require a minimum purchase to get their deals, or the discount pricing is only available on carryout orders. We’re excited to bring much-needed affordability to delivered pizza.” Among the top four national pizza chains, Domino’s is now the only third-party delivery holdout, still preferring to deliver food exclusively through its own drivers. Pizza Hut and Papa John’s already work with DoorDash and GrubHub, while smaller but fast-growing chains like MOD Pizza and Blaze Pizza have also forged alliances with multiple national third-party delivery companies.


Domino’s: Customers “Love” GPS Delivery Tracking System 

Domino’s locations across the United States have begun adding the chain’s new GPS delivery tracking technology, making it easier for customers to keep up with the progress of their pizza orders on their smartphones. Domino’s tested the new system for much of 2019, and, the company said in a press release, “Everyone loved it!” Customers can see the location of their delivery drivers on an interactive map and receive an estimated delivery time. They can also opt in to receive text notifications that let them know when their order is on the way, when it’s about two minutes away and when it has arrived. Additionally, the technology allows store managers to see where drivers are on the road, making in-store logistics easier to manage. And drivers can benefit from the system’s optional navigation and one-touch customer callback capabilities, while customers can be better prepared to meet them at the door when they arrive.