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&pizza adds a president as it prepares to grow

CEO Michael Lastoria will remain but will hand over day-to-day operations to Andy Hooper.
Photograph courtesy of &Pizza

Industry veteran Andy Hooper has been named to the newly created role of president for &pizza, allowing the fast-casual brand’s co-founder and CEO Michael Lastoria to pull back from day-to-day operations as the company ramps up for growth.

Hooper, who has served as &pizza’s chief people officer for 18 months, will also become COO, the company announced Tuesday.

"We're thrilled about the opportunity to push this ever-evolving brand into the future," Lastoria said in a statement. "Developing internal talent and pairing it with top-notch additions will propel our company forward in a way that's consistent with its personality."

Hooper previously held executive posts with Cafe Rio Mexican Grill and Burger King.

Washington, D.C.-based &pizza has been on a hiring spree, with the recent additions of Executive Chef Erik Bruner-Yang and CFO Jon Reepmeyer.

The chain, which is slated to open its 36th store Wednesday, has plans to double in size over the next two years, with additional restaurants planned in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.

&pizza saw year-over-year sales grow 32% in 2018, according to Technomic data, with average unit volumes of $1.35 million.

The chain, which was founded in 2012 by Lastoria and Steve Salis, received an investment from David Chang backers RSE Ventures in late 2017. The assembly line-style pizza company is known for its robust corporate culture and support of a minimum wage increase.

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