MOD Pizza to make UK debut

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

MOD Pizza to make UK debut

Related tags: United kingdom

MOD Pizza, the fast casual artisan pizza restaurant operator led by Seattle Coffee Company founder Scott Svenson, has signed an agreement with Sir Charles Dunstone, the backer of Five Guys in the UK, to make its debut in the UK.

MOD, which has grown to 69 sites in the US since its launch in 2008, has signed a joint venture with Dunstone’s Freston Venture vehicle according to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice​.

Freston has already backed the rapid rollout of Five Guys to over 30 sites in the UK in just over two years. Svenson told The Times that MOD’s (Made On Demand) first UK site would be 'somewhere in the southeast' and will open in the first half of next year followed by 'a rapid national roll­out'.

The group is close to naming a UK chief executive. MOD is on track to post full­year turnover of c$60m and to operate 100 sites in the US by the end of this year. It is understood that the company, which closed a $40m funding round led by PWP Growth Equity, a private equity fund managed by Perella Weinberg Partners earlier this year, is being advised in its move into the UK market by Russell Chambers, the millionaire Credit Suisse adviser once dubbed 'Tony Blair’s favourite banker'.

Svenson and his wife Ally co-­founded Seattle Coffee Company in the UK in 1994. It grew to 75 sites before being sold to Starbucks in 1998. They were also founding shareholders of Carluccio’s.

Svenson told The Times: “London is very competitive and expensive but we know from our Seattle Coffee and Carluccio’s experiences that it’s a great market and it will be a big part of our plans.”

Dunstone said: “Scott and Ally are very Anglophile and have spent a lot of time here, so, unlike some Americans, they understand London and they understand the market. Customers want two things — authenticity in terms of provenance and quality of food. Second, they like to be able to customise things. Fast­food restaurants typically feel a bit factory produced and you have no choice. More formal restaurants will do what you want but will tend to charge you extra.”

M&C understands that MOD could soon be followed by US rival Blaze Pizza, which became the first of the rapidly growing crop of fast­casual pizza players in the US to hit the 50 units­mark, in announcing plans to launch in the UK. Earlier this month, the company opened its 80th outpost, now covering 20 US States.

Related topics: Business, Restaurants, Venues

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