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Vying for a slice of the better-pizza pie

Made-to-order pizza is poised to be the next big growth niche, according to Chicago-based research firm Technomic. Following the success of the better-burger craze, operators are opening a slew of assembly line-style pizza joints claiming to deliver hot pizza with high-quality ingredients in 3 minutes or less. Even as quick-service giants Pizza Hut and Domino’s take on more fast-casual ways with recent redesigns, other big-name players have tossed their dough in the ring, many of whom don’t even have a background in pizza. 

Buffalo Wild Wings
Invested in: PizzaRev
When: March 2013
Where: California
Units: 7 (14 coming soon)
Cook time: 3 minutes

Rick and Elise Wetzel, founders of Wetzel’s Pretzels
Founded: Blaze Pizza
When: August 2012
Where: California, Midwest
Units: 11 (24 coming soon)
Cook time: 3 minutes

Pizza Inn
Founded: Pie Five Pizza Co.
When: June 2011
Where: 5 states
Units: 19 (7 coming soon)
Cook time: Less than 5 minutes

Scott and Ally Svenson, co-founders of Seattle Coffee Company in London
Founded: MOD Pizza
When: November 2008
Where: Washington
Units: 11 (2 coming soon)
Cook time: Less than 3 minutes

Chipotle
Invested in: Pizzeria Locale
When: December 2013
Where: Denver
Units: 1
Cook time: 2 minutes

Adam Fleishman, Umami Restaurant Group
Co-founded: 800 Degrees
When: January 2012
Where: California
Units: 3 (3 coming soon)
Cook time: About 1 minute

Ron Biskin, former president and COO of Native Foods Café
Founded: Pizza Studio
When: January 2013
Where: California, Minnesota
Units: 5 (4 coming soon)
Cook time: Less than 3 minutes

Tom Ryan, founder of Smashburger, and Rick Schaden, co-founder of Quiznos
Founded: Live Basil Pizza
When: May 2013
Where: Colorado, California
Units: 3 (1 coming soon)
Cook time: Less than 5 minutes

Still in the oven...

Subway, with franchise partner Barton Development
Founded: Subway Pizza Express
Expected: Spring 2014
Where: Nebraska
Cook time: 50 seconds

Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield, founders of California Pizza Kitchen
Founded: Yet to be named
Expected: Late 2014
Where: Yet to be announced
Cook time: To be determined

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