Franchisees buy Rapid Fired Pizza

The fast-casual pizza chain has been acquired by franchisees Pie Guy Restaurants, with former Long John Silvers head serving as its new CEO.
Rapid Fired Pizza
Logo courtesy Rapid Fired Pizza

Fast-casual chain Rapid Fired Pizza has been purchased by a couple of its franchisees, the company announced Friday.

Pie Guys Restaurants, with industry veteran Mike Kern as CEO and president and Chip Hurst as chief development officer, acquired the 33-unit concept for an undisclosed amount.

Kern has previously served as CEO and CMO of Long John Silvers and VP of brand marketing for KFC. Hurst has widespread experience in commercial real estate.

Rapid Fired Pizza founder Ray Wiley, who started the chain in 2015, will continue with the brand as a franchisee, operating locations in Ohio.

The Kettering, Ohio-based chain is known for cooking made-to-order pizzas in 180 seconds or less. Rapid Fired’s menu also includes salads, breadsticks, desserts, beer and wine.

Pie Guys is based in South Carolina and operates three Rapid Fired locations in the state.

"Having been part of large chain brands built on a franchisee model, as well as running the front lines of daily operations, we understand how to work with franchisees as partners in driving brand growth and mutual success," Kern said in a statement.

The new owners said they will focus on unit growth and brand building, with franchise development plans throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Texas.

Rapid Fired plans to open five new locations in the next 12 months, while also getting into nontraditional locations such as grocery stores, stadiums and student centers.

The chain will keep its headquarters in Ohio while the new owners consider relocating it to South Carolina, the chain said.

Rapid Fired has performed better recently than many chains in the struggling fast-casual pizza segment, according to data from Restaurant Business sister firm Technomic.

The chain saw 5.4% sales growth in 2020 compared to the prior year, with total sales of about $25.2 million, according to Technomic.

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