It’s rare to find a locally owned and operated fast casual chain that has grown as quickly as Fired Pie without becoming a franchise. In 2013, Fired Pie exploded on the dining scene as the first fast-casual pizza and salad restaurant of its kind in Phoenix. For the past six years, Fired Pie co-owners Fred Morgan and Doug Doyle have navigated the challenges of changing consumer demand, growing technology and staying relevant amongst a sea of fast-casual restaurants.
Morgan and Doyle both started in the restaurant business at early ages. Morgan was 15 years old and started as a dishwasher in a steak house, while Doyle got his first restaurant job at 15 years old as a server at Sizzler’s in Southern California. While climbing up the ladder of the restaurant industry, the two met at California Pizza Kitchen, where Morgan was the regional vice president of operations and Doyle was regional director. When Morgan left to become COO at Phoenix-based Oregano’s, the two started talking about opening a fast-casual pizza chain.
Morgan and Doyle saw the perfect opportunity to run their own customizable pizza chain without becoming a franchise. They had the experience, management skills and fast-forward thinking to do it on their own.
“We knew the concept was going to be a hit and wanted to watch the company grow without needing a franchise model,” says Morgan. “Especially in today’s world, being able to offer customers a truly customizable experience with fresh ingredients and fair pricing in under five minutes is key for those looking for quick, convenient service.”
Together as business partners, they constantly navigate challenges like changing consumer demand. This includes staying on top of new trends such as introducing plant-based meats; premium ingredients; freshly made sauce and dough; gluten-free; and vegan options, like vegan cheese and plantbased chorizo.
“In the past couple of years especially, the demand for more flexibility with dietary preferences has pushed us to become innovative in what we are able to offer our customers,” says Doyle. “Over the years, we have strived to make Fired Pie a place where everyone can come to eat, no matter what your dietary restrictions are.”
With Fired Pie hitting 20 locations across the Valley this year, Morgan and Doyle know there are still challenges laid out ahead of them, but are optimistic about what the future brings. The company has plans to open three to five more stores within the next year, including out-of-state expansion.
“As consumer needs change, our newest store will focus on our first-ever pick-up-only orders,” says Doyle. “We will utilize mobile and online orders, as well as third-party delivery drivers to provide the fastest experience possible to our customers, while ensuring quality food and prices.”
Like many local business owners, Fired Pie’s bottom line isn’t just about expanding, but ensuring their customers receive the best service and food quality possible. This also includes serving the community with fundraisers through Phoenix Children’s Hospital, No Kid Hungry and allowing the community to raise money for charities of their choice. Fired Pie allows anyone to choose a location where a 501(c ) charity of the customer’s choice will receive 20 percent of the guests’ check.
With the rise of apps and third-party delivery, the Fired Pie owners have also learned they need to do everything possible to stay relevant. In addition to being on all online delivery platforms, Fired Pie has its own app for customers. This includes the ability to earn rewards, receive monthly specials and get new menu item alerts. They also offer a catering menu with party trays of meatballs, mac ʹn cheese and more.
“Especially in the fast-casual industry, it’s important to constantly evaluate how convenient you can make it for your customers to order,” says Morgan. “Being able to simply pick up the phone and customize your pizza, salad or mac ʹn cheese order exactly how you want it without ever having to pause your movie or be on a hold line will keep you top of mind to customers.”
Fired Pie by the Numbers
- Currently, with 19 stores in Metro Phoenix and one in Tucson, Ariz., the company has plans to open three to five more stores within the next year, including out-ofstate expansion.
- When ordering at Fired Pie, customers can customize their pizza, salad or mac ʹn cheese order by choosing from more than eight different sauces, seven cheeses, more than 12 meats, 20+ veggies and herbs.
[Did you know:The plant-based market is expected to be $27.9 billion in 2025 and the vegan market is expected to be worth $5 billion by 2020. This is why Fired Pie has options for everyone, including its plant-based vegan chorizo.]