Pie Five parent names Brandon Solano as CEO

Rave Restaurant Group, which also runs Pizza Inn, appointed the former Pei Wei Asian Diner CMO to the post after the recent ouster of CEO Scott Crane.
Photograph courtesy of Pie Five

Rave Restaurant Group, parent company of the struggling Pie Five chain, named Brandon Solano as its CEO, the company announced Monday.

Solano, the former chief marketing and digital officer for Pei Wei Asian Diner, replaces Scott Crane, who was fired from the top post at Rave Restaurant Group in July.

Pie Five, which two years ago had around 100 units, finished the quarter ended June 30 with 58 stores after shuttering 15 locations in the past year. In September, it reported a same-store sales nosedive of 7.3% for the quarter.

The Dallas-based company is also the parent of Pizza Inn, which is a bright spot. The 155-unit chain notched its 10th-straight quarter of sales increases, with same-store sales growth of 2.2%. 

In August, Pie Five hired industry veteran Scott Black as its vice president of operations.

During Solano’s tenure, Pei Wei recorded its best traffic in seven years and made headlines for its creative jabs at competitor Panda Express.

Solano previously worked for Domino’s Pizza as vice president of innovation and vice president of development. He was also the CMO of Wendy’s.

"Brandon has been a difference maker for multiple brands in the restaurant space," said Mark Schwarz, chairman of Rave Restaurant Group, in a statement. "He has a history of driving profitable traffic and leading brands to cultural relevance. He has communicated provocatively, even telling consumers Domino's pizza wasn't great and could be better.”

Solano said Rave’s pizza brands have “tremendous upside.”

“We will be disruptive in the space and make consumers rethink their pizza choices while supporting our communities, franchisees and employees,” he said in a statement.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Pricing has driven restaurant sales growth for the past 2 years

The Bottom Line: Restaurant sales have grown for most of the past two years. But they haven't kept pace with menu price inflation, suggesting the industry is saturated again.


Restaurants can learn some foodservice tricks from supermarkets

State of the Plate: Nancy Kruse, RB’s menu trends columnist, says grocers are stepping up their game, and restaurants need to keep up.


So you are opening a restaurant in a Walmart? Good luck with that

The Bottom Line: The retail giant is adding regional restaurant chains to its stores, giving them some key exposure. But there are some real drawbacks to pay attention to.


More from our partners