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Pie Five drops large pizzas to return to individualized pies

But the fast-casual chain also makes value move to appeal to families with buy-three-get-fourth-free offer.
Pie Five fast-casual pizza restaurant
The fourth-pizza-free deal will roll out this month, the company said. /Photograph: Shutterstock.

Pie Five is ditching large pizzas to return to its roots as a personal pizza brand where everyone gets what they want. But to appeal to groups and families, the fast-casual chain is rolling out a buy-three-get-one-free deal.

The Dallas-based parent company Rave Restaurant Group said Thursday the elimination of large pizzas has been rolled out to all traditional locations and is seeing strong consumer and franchisee acceptance. The “Free 4th All,” which includes the offer of a fourth pizza free with the purchase of three, was a test, but will be rolled out this month systemwide.

Brandon Solano, Rave’s CEO, said during the report of second-quarter earnings that the Free 4th All deal drove significant ticket and value for consumers in testing.

Both Pie Five and sister brand Pizza Inn saw same-store sales increase for the Dec. 25-ended quarter.

Comparable sales at domestic units climbed 6.3% at the 31-unit Pie Five. At Pizza Inn, which ended the quarter with 125 domestic locations, domestic same-store sales were up 8.4%. Pizza Inn also has 33 international locations.

“Our second quarter results mark 11 consecutive quarters of profitability for Rave driven by a strong top-line and focused cost controls while investing in the future of the business,” Solano said in a statement.

The company has been working on rebranding Pizza Inn, a buffet concept, including everything from the look of restaurants to the mascot named Jojo. The first restaurant with the new design is scheduled to open in Asheboro, N.C. in April. The chain is also rolling out a new point-of-sale-system by this summer.

“The restaurant industry continues to abandon dine-in, leaving us an opportunity to win with our differentiated strategy, focusing on the value and variety of Pizza Inn’s buffet while opportunistically capturing delivery and takeout,” said Solano in a statement. “We know our customers are hungry for a connection and an ‘experience’ with their family, not just Covid-esque functional feeding, and we are well positioned to fulfill that need.”

Fiscal 2022 ended with Pizza Inn opening one buffet and zero closures, making the chain net positive in store count for the first time in 24 years. Investments in the first half of fiscal 2023 will lay the foundation for accelerated store growth ahead, said Clint Fendley, Rave’s CFO.

Rave’s net income for the quarter declined to $348,000, or 2 cents per share, compared with $457,000, or 2 cents per share, a year ago. The share price remained stable and total revenue increased by $0.2 million to $2.9 million.

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