FIREAWAY PIZZA has grown to 25 stores since it opened for business in 2016. Managing director Mario Aleppo explains the company’s recipe for success
I’ll keep it quick - like my food. I created FIREAWAY PIZZA in 2016 in south London with the aim of bringing better pizza to the UK.
By using an old pizza recipe brought over from Naples by my grandmother and giving it a modern twist, FIREAWAY PIZZA has grown significantly in the UK. From one small store on the outskirts of London, it has grown to 25 stores within 45 months, reaching as far north as Scotland and as far south as Bournemouth.
Why I started on my fast food journey
Before I founded FIREAWAY PIZZA, I found it difficult to get a quick and good quality pizza to take away without going to a nice restaurant or paying restaurant prices. Also, you wouldn’t get children and students going into Italian restaurants on their lunch break, but with FIREAWAY PIZZA they can get the quality and the affordability in less than three minutes.
Our motto is ‘DESIGN, FIRE, EAT’ and the idea is simple: one size personal artisan pizza, 25 unlimited toppings, four home-made base sauces and 180 seconds cooking time in our open fire gas oven.
We use fresh ingredients, apart from our Italian gelato, and everything is on show for the customer to see. It’s not just a trip to get a pizza, it’s also a customer experience - from seeing the chef hand stretch the dough to it leaving our 400-degree oven.
Our main ingredients get shipped over from different parts of Italy and delivered to our stores on a weekly basis, while our chefs are trained by FIREAWAY PIZZA head chef Mehdi Hossaini, who has been with us since we opened our first store in 2016.
We also have a wide range of vegan, gluten free and custom salad options, as well as kids pizzas and Italian desserts. At the end of the day, everyone has to eat and pizza is the most popular takeaway food in the UK.
Keeping the concept simple
When it comes to our franchise offering, we keep the set-up cost to a minimum, with a bright but simple design and we don’t charge a sales commission, just one monthly franchise fee.
Stores are around 750 square feet on average and have up to four or five tables, but they’re primarily takeaways. We have a great team of builders and can have a shop up and running within three weeks of getting the keys to the property.
Not all our franchisees have come from a food background, but their customer service and people skills have pushed their sales through the roof. I’ve met so many different types of people - some of them run the store themselves with family and others have managers and area supervisors.
The business is still growing
People have asked me how I’ve managed to build such a fast growing company. It’s been stressful at times, but it’s been worth it and I love to read our online customer reviews when I get time.
We have six more shops in the pipeline for this year and are aiming for 100 shops by year seven. We entered the Pizza & Pasta Industry Awards in November 2019 and were ranked first in the Small Chain Delivery category, which was a nice boost after three and half years of hard work. It’s good to know we’re making some noise in the pizza world and that customers love our food.
I look forward to taking FIREAWAY PIZZA to every town in the UK and beyond. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our strong team of franchisees who have helped me on the journey and continue to spread the fire.
At a glance FIREAWAY PIZZA
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
Minimum required capital: