This Pizza Chain Continues to Lose Locations, New Report Shows
Buffets may be making a comeback, but one popular pizza buffet continues to lose locations. The parent company of Pizza Inn and its fast-casual offshoot Pie Five just reported second-quarter earnings for 2021, which revealed that the buffet chain continues to shrink even as its sales improve.
Before the pandemic, Pizza Inn had 155 locations across the Southeast but started shedding restaurants as it struggled with a sharp drop in on-premise sales during 2020. The latest report shows that the chain was at 128 locations as of December 26—a further decrease from the 133 locations it reported in September.
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Its sister-company Pie Five, which on the other hand, specializes in super-fast customizations of personal pizzas, has hardly fared better when it comes to footprint. According to QSR Magazine, since its 100-unit peak in 2017, the chain has lost about 66% of restaurants. Entering the pandemic with 50-something locations, the chain ended the most recent quarter with only 34 restaurants. Parent company Rave doesn't seem to be optimistic about an expansion, saying that "the stabilization of Pie Five units will continue in the near term" and describing unit growth for the brand as "modest in future periods."
The more modern brand also experienced slower sales than the buffet chain. While Pizza Inn saw a sales growth of 13% compared to the same time period in 2019, thanks to the launch of a new House Pan Pizza last September, Pie Five saw a 1% decline.
"Our franchisees and team members have remained committed to our business and customers resulting in our seventh consecutive quarter of profitability," said Rave CEO Brandon Solano. "Despite supply chain disruptions and labor challenges, our focus on cost control continues to pay off for our restaurants and operators."
While the company focuses on innovations in decor and a new specialty pizza and salad menu at Pie Five, we can likely expect both brands to shrink again before they grow.