Create-Your-Own Pizza Concept Opens First Minnesota Store January 20
Lloyd Sugarman, the original and largest Johnny Rockets’ franchisee, will open his first Pizza Studio location at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. on Jan. 20. The Mall of America location is the first to open outside of California and the initial store from the multi-unit development deal Sugarman signed with Pizza Studio last year, which will also bring multiple units to New England.
“We are very excited to launch our first Pizza Studio location,” said Sugarman. “Mall of America sees up to 40 million visitors each year and is the perfect site for us to introduce this rapidly expanding concept. Pizza Studio has the best people, the best operations and systems and the best product. My expertise is picking a winning concept and I know that’s what I’ve got here.”
Pizza Studio is a fast-casual franchise concept that invites guests to create their own custom pizza masterpiece. A wide assortment of crusts, specialty sauces, premium meats, fresh and roasted vegetables and the highest quality ingredients are offered at affordable prices. The company is known for its variety of flavors of their proprietary thin, light and crispy crusts with unlimited toppings of sauces, cheeses, nitrate-free meats and fresh-cut and roasted vegetables for each custom-built pizza creation.
In addition to the Mall of America location, Sugarman hopes to develop further in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. market and plans to open 12 units in the Northeast, primarily in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. He is currently eyeing the area near Boston University for his first New England location. Sugarman specializes in non-traditional locations such as college campuses, malls, casinos and others.
According to Samit Varma, co-founder of Pizza Studio, Sugarman is just the man for the job due to his renowned expertise in the restaurant industry. “Lloyd is not only an incredibly business savvy and smart guy, but he’s a franchising legend and we cannot wait to see how far he goes with our concept.”
Sugarman was one of Johnny Rockets’ original franchisees when the brand began franchising in 1986. He operates 17 Johnny Rockets locations in seven states, including several of the highest-grossing locations in the 300-unit chain. He is credited with introducing the entertainment element, as well as vegetarian menu items and a new prototype to the hamburger chain and catapulting them to success.
Since its founding in Los Angeles in 2012, Pizza Studio has signed development agreements with several experienced multi-unit operators for more than 148 units across the country with several more in the works.
With over 10 years of venture capital experience as a partner at Anthem Ventures, pizza lover Samit Varma joined forces with restaurant industry veteran Ron Biskin in 2012 to launch the fast-casual “Create Your Masterpiece” concept Pizza Studio. Biskin has been leading restaurant companies to national prominence for over 25 years and was most recently president and COO of Native Foods Café. He also was responsible for the expansion of Wolfgang Puck’s chain of casual restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada. Biskin’s restaurant background pairs perfectly with Varma’s experience growing startups from inception to exit. Anthem Ventures is one of the most successful venture funds in Los Angeles, having sold three companies to Google and taken several others public. The first Pizza Studio location opened in Los Angeles in January 2013. Two additional units have opened in the Los Angeles area and the company is poised for and is in the process of aggressive national expansion, with locations slated for San Francisco, San Diego, Kansas City, New York, and New England.
Mall of America is the nation’s largest retail and entertainment complex. At 4.2 million square feet, MOA is home to more than 520 world-class shops; Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor family amusement park; SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, a 1.2 million gallon walk-through aquarium; Moose Mountain Adventure Golf; Theatres at Mall of America – a 14-screen movie theater with VIP theatre and more. The Mall opened in August of 1992 and is located in Bloomington, Minn., just minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.