TAMPA, Fla., July 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Your own perfect personal pizza. Using only the freshest ingredients. Baked to order. At one low price. All in less than five minutes.
Sound too good to be true? It won't be for pizza lovers in the Tampa area, once Pie Five Pizza opens its first local restaurant. The nation's leading fast-casual pizza brand announced today that it has awarded 18 franchise units to retired Cleveland Indian and University of Florida baseball star Matt LaPorta. The new franchise operator and his business partners will introduce the Pie Five name throughout Tampa beginning in early 2015. The former Gator great, along with the help of fellow MLB retiree Josh Fields and restaurant operators Brandon Birdwell and Jeff Engle, is preparing to drive home Pie Five's game-changing fast casual dining experience in a territory spanning from Pasco County through Hillsborough County and as far south as Sarasota. "What can I say, what Italian doesn't love pizza? For the longest time I've wanted to open up a cool pizza place like this. I guess you could call pizza my new passion," said LaPorta, a Port Charlotte native. "So when Josh told me about Pie Five, and my family and I tried it out for ourselves, I knew this was it. The operational model is excellent, the company's leadership is top notch and the food is fantastic. I'm convinced Pie Five is going to be a huge hit in this area." The Tampa-area restaurants will be the newest members of the fast-growing, trend-setting pizza franchise family, which boasts more than 20 current locations nationwide. Fields, who is also currently spreading the Pie Five brand throughout Oklahoma City with former NFL star Billy Bajema, said he was eager to share the Pie Five franchise opportunity with LaPorta as well. To Fields, it was a no-brainer. "The fast casual sector has become so much more than burritos and 'better' burgers, and Pie Five is leading the charge in the pizza scene," said Fields. "All it took was one visit, and when Matt saw what they had to offer – not only in the form of a perfect pizza, but also the exceptional business model and family-friendly value – he was sold. It didn't take long for all of us to get on board and join the Pie Five Pizza family."
PizzaRev sees lots of opportunity in the so-called better pizza niche and has even garnered an investment by Buffalo Wild Wings. Can the small fast-casual chain succeed when up against big pizza companies like Domino's, Pizza Hut and Papa John's?