MOD – “Express Yourself Through Pizza”
by Tony Chambers
I’ve been reading a lot recently about MOD – the ‘made on demand’ fast casual pizza concept now hitting the UK from the US, with big plans for national expansion here. MOD does not appear to be just another pizza chain. MOD promises a completely different service culture and eating experience. They see their offer as a real step change in a food retail segment which has changed very little in decades. The aim is to mirror the exciting changes and trends which have moved apace in other food concept segments in recent years in the comparatively stagnant pizza sector.
We all know from eating in branded casual dining chains that the service experience is such a key part – usually fairly generic or non-distinctive, and usually not very memorable. So a key MOD mission is to ‘change the way fast food is perceived as an employer. Caring for and inspiring our teams’. By doing this they believe staff will take the same care of their customers. OK so we’ve heard this all before many times, but the MOD founders are clearly driven by this as a key principle and pillar of the brand. Scott and Ally Svenson has significant F&B entrepreneurial credentials – they started Seattle Coffee Company, Scott was President of Starbucks’ European division after they bought Seattle, then they helped launch Carluccio’s, and much more! Charles Dunstone, who is Chairman of MOD, also brought the Five Guys franchise to the UK from the US.
So back to MOD, and how it treats its staff and the local community. It’s a people-led culture which believes in making a real difference to peoples lives. Staff are ‘The MOD Squad’ – with a passion for living the brand, a love of the job and a real care for what they do. Offering an unparalleled customer experience founded on putting its people first. For staff recruitment, the emphasis is on diversity and the power of individuals and personalities, and aims to hire staff from underprivileged backgrounds or who have ‘lost their way’ – refreshingly different. For their first UK site launch, all the proceeds for day 1 went to a local charity (selected by the staff). MOD also look to pay salaries well above the minimum wage level.
To get the concept right in the UK, MOD plan to test in 5 sites in very different locations to ensure it works within very different communities. Leeds has already launched in June, with Brighton coming in August. London and Newcastle will follow in November. The brand aims to appeal to a very wide demographic – in fact everybody!
Looking at their menu – well it’s only a top 10 indication as you can customise as much as you like! The pizza offer – 11 inch pizzas retailing at £7.47 (£7.87 in London) are made on demand – with a range of toppings chosen by the customer. The customer is king. You go to a pizza-builder station and customise what essentially is a thin-crust artisan-style pizza by choosing your toppings – you can do the same with hand-tossed salads. The price remains the same great value, no matter what toppings you order, and for a high quality product. Every customer gets their own unique pizza choosing from a combination of over 30 toppings. Pizzas are then cooked in special ovens in just 3 minutes – overall service time from order to delivery to your table is just 5-6 minutes. So speed is another key brand pillar.
YOU GET TO BE CREATIVE! Pick your sauce, pick your cheese, pick your meat – or vegetables, or all… finish with options on drizzles and spices. No limitations, no hidden extra costs. And if you don’t like the end combo taste – they’ll let you do it again for free!
I like the sound of MOD. Time to check it out and see exactly how it lives up to its bold new ethical and cultural vision!
MCA Market insight report. June 2016.
The Telegraph. June 2016.