In business for more than 50 years, this limited-service pizzeria is currently run by Straw Hat Cooperative Corporation, a group of independent restaurant operators who tout the concept as the “unfranchise franchise.” Units operate in several models, including the original prototype with salad bar and seating; Straw Hat Express (small outlets offering takeout and delivery only); and Straw Hat Grill (a fast-casual format offering burgers along with pizza). These options offer franchisees the chance to grow without exorbitant franchising fees. Straw Hat’s family-friendly menu is built around genuine California-style pizza, which features a layered, flaky crust topped with a light sauce, fresh vegetables and meats and a blend of six California cheeses. Salads and hot stuffed sandwiches are also offered. 

LocationSan Ramon, Calif.
2009 Systemwide Sales$43,900,000
% Change in Sales9.6%
2009 U.S. Units70
% Change in Units20.7%
2009 Average Unit Volume$692,000
% Change in AUV1.8%
Future 50 Year2010