— Winston Churchill
The corner of Winchester Road and Sir Barton is a busy crossroads for Hamburg neighbors, who recently welcomed MOD Pizza to the mix. Located next to Raising Cane’s at 2217 War Admiral Way, the new fast casual pizza place is poised to serve both the Hamburg neighborhood, and the growing corridor that will be anchored by the new Hamburg high school.
One fan posted, “Everyday I’ve been watching you build while at the traffic light! Can’t wait for some pizza.”
MOD was founded in 2008 in Seattle as an early pioneer of the fast casual pizza segment with the mission to serve “simple food for complex times” — purpose-driven pizza.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer says of MOD, “Here is a company that is doing for pizza what Starbucks did for coffee or what Chipotle did for burritos.”
MOD CEO Scott Svenson, told Cramer, “Take care of and engage your team so that they care as much about the outcome as you do… If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of the business.”
Jim Alling, MOD advisory board member, and a former president of Starbucks North America and Starbucks International, says, “Scott understands how to grow a business quickly. At the same time, he knows how to build a culture that will protect the soul of the business and the entrepreneurial spirit of the team.
MOD’s very first hire (store #1 in Downtown Seattle), Karen, says, “I love talking with the moms who come in with kids and watching them interact. Being a mom myself, I can tell when they need a little extra help. I have watched a lot of kids grow up at MOD — coming in when they are little and all the way through high school. It’s like family.”
Washington MOD pizza chef Brian says, “I could tell MOD was onto something. It was really the culture that came through for me. It felt like fate in a funny way too, since I did a business plan for a pizza version of Mongolian Grill for my final school paper — and here I found it in real life!” The most surprisingly delicious pizza topping he’s ever tried? “Roasted cauliflower.”
More MODs are planned for the Lexington area, and one recently opened in Louisville. The individual artisan-style pizzas are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own salads and pizzas, using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces at a fixed price. Pizzas are hand-cooked in an 800 degree oven in less than three minutes and salads are individually hand-tossed for each customer. The menu is rounded out with handspun milkshakes, house-made lemonades and iced teas, as well as local craft beers and wine for the over-21 guests.
Our people-first approach and mission to use pizza as a platform to do good, distinguishes us from your average pizza restaurant and fast casual pizza players,” says Managing Partner Garyen Denning.
“One hundred percent of net proceeds on opening day, September 28th, was donated to our First Responders —Police, Firefighters, and EMTs.”
At every Grand Opening, MOD donates 100 percent of pizza proceeds to a local charity, which is chosen by the MOD Squad.
“This is the beginning of what we hope to be a lasting partnership — building a genuine connection between MOD and local community members. We love providing MODsters with the opportunity to feel the emotional rush that comes with giving back and it means that much more when it’s a cause they have chosen themselves. And the goodness doesn’t stop there. Studies show that giving has countless benefits for the giver including gratitude — one of MOD’s most important values. ‘Getting to Gratitude’ is a phrase you’ll hear all the time at MOD. It means remembering how good we have it and doing our best to pay it forward.”
At a pre-Opening Day promotion, all proceeds went to support The MOD Bridge Fund, an employee assistance program that provides emergency financial support for MOD Squad team members in need, “including medical issues, disasters, or a tough circumstance in which they need our help.”
With more than 135 locations across 17 states and the United Kingdom, “MOD is committed to creating a positive social impact in the communities both domestically and internationally, creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work.”
MOD was recently ranked as America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic and was recognized by Fortune as one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail” for its “progressive hiring practices and career growth opportunities.”
MOD earned the Technomic top spot with sales growth of 220 percent in 2015 – significantly outpacing the 37 percent growth of the fast casual pizza industry.
This article also appears on page 11 of the October 2016 printed edition of the Hamburg Journal. For more Hamburg area news, subscribe to the Hamburg Journal weekly digital newsletter.