California Pizza Kitchen will franchise in the U.S. for the first time

The 200-unit chain plans to get back to growth with the new strategy.
California Pizza Kitchen exterior
Photograph: Shutterstock

For the first time in its 35-year history, California Pizza Kitchen will sell franchises in the U.S.

The initiative is part of a renewed growth push for the 200-unit casual-dining chain, which saw its footprint shrink by nearly 13% from 2019 to 2020, according to Technomic.

The company known for its fresh ingredients and unique flavors has used franchising to grow overseas, where it has 40 franchised locations. It also has 16 domestic franchises in airports, casinos and stadiums. Its U.S. strategy will be led by Giorgio Minardi, who became CPK's EVP of global development and franchise operations in 2019.

"With Giorgio at the helm of our extensive franchise expansion, we look forward to expanding our national and global footprint in 2022 and beyond," said CEO and President Jim Hyatt in a statement.

The growth push will include new markets for the pizza chain, which is primarily located in its home state of California. It also has a presence in Florida, Texas and Hawaii. A map on its website indicated that the entire country is open for CPK expansion.

All four of the franchise footprints in use overseas will also be available domestically, the company said. Those include two larger, full-service models as well as smaller quick-service kiosks and concession-style "express" locations.

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