PizzaForno is seizing the benefits of an untapped market of quality pizza served in minutes through strategically placed kiosks across Canada and the United States. Having recently tasted one of PizzaForno’s delicious Hawaiian pizzas in Tobermory, WOntario, Convenience & Carwash Canada writer Meline Beach was delighted to interview the masterminds behind the brand. She spoke with PizzaForno’s Business Development Manager Jimmy Muir, about the company’s origin, sales results, profit potential and plans for future growth.
When was PizzaForno first introduced in Canada and where did the inspiration come from?
In April 2018, Will Moyer was approached by France-based automated pizzeria manufacturer Adial to distribute and sell their automated pizza oven technology in Canada. Will was intrigued by the concept and took a trip to France to see the oven in action and with his first visit saw the potential but also realized the potential was much bigger than selling pizza ovens. Will engaged with his long-time friend, Les Tomlin, who had international marketing experience and together, the two of them created the world’s first turn-key, fully automated pizzeria, known as PizzaForno. It was launched in Toronto in the Fall of 2019.
What has the response been since PizzaForno first launched? How have sales grown over the years?
PizzaForno experienced great success in Canada right from day one. Consumers embraced having access to a fresh baked artisanal pizza ready in under three minutes. After launching multiple units in Canada, the company launched in the USA in 2021 with an independent licensee expansion plan. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic consumers have embraced our low-touch automated pizzerias with open arms. As we launch more units our brand awareness continually grows, which translates to an overall increase in sales. One of our most recent launches at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has been incredibly successful with an average of 4,000 potential customers in the venue each day.
How many PizzaForno kiosks are installed across Canada? How many of these are corporate owned or licensed out?
We currently have 32 units within Canada, two in the United Sates, and agreements for more than 30 to be placed before the end of the year. Out of the current 34 units operating, seven of those are corporately owned.
Where are the most successful locations so far (based on sales experience). How is the placement of kiosks determined?
Our most successful locations tend to be those that are open 24 hours, seven days a week. Inherently, 24/7 automated pizzerias will perform the best as they can provide a quality pizza option to our customers any time of day or night. We have performed tremendously well in a variety of C&G locations including tourist destinations, downtown urban hubs, and less densely populated areas that have limited food offerings. Locations are determined based on where the unit will see the highest projected foot traffic of new customers.
Can a C&G retailer launch a PizzaForno kiosk at their store? Can these kiosks be installed indoors or are they strictly designed for outdoor space?
Yes! We have several operating kiosks placed at C&G retail locations. We offer three different types of kiosks that have all been deployed at these types of locations. We offer an indoor kiosk, an outdoor kiosk, and an ATM-style kiosk. These units allow C&G retailers to capitalize on unused space within their business or even in an unused parking spot outside, requiring as little as 70 square feet.
What are the licensee costs? Can you describe the model and ROI potential? What support is provided to licensee owners?
The licensee costs are a five per cent royalty fee and a five per cent marketing fee that is allocated to site-specific marketing initiatives by our in-house marketing team. The typical net operating margin is 30 per cent at an average pizza sale price of $12 each. PizzaForno provides centralized customer support, national and local marketing, preventative maintenance, and repair services.
What are the most popular flavours/toppings of pizza?
We offer several specialty pizza varieties, including BBQ Chicken, Honey & Goat Cheese, and Hawaiian, as well as classics like Pepperoni and Four Cheese. We also love introducing new and fun varieties to the mix with our limited time offer pizzas, such as our Pickle Pizza, which launched in October.
What is your target demographic? Who’s buying and when? Are you able to track sales data?
The nice thing about pizza as a category is that it has no demographic! Everyone, from young teens to senior citizens, enjoy pizza from our automated pizzerias. The user interface is simple to navigate and attracts a large audience. We see a great portion of our sales during the lunch and dinner hours with large spikes late at night when restaurants and other food options are closed. Sales data is collected at a site-specific level, which is available to individual licensees in real-time. PizzaForno works collaboratively with licensees to provide insight to maximize sales.
What insights or innovations does PizzaForno have planned?
One of the areas we are looking at further innovating is our interactive touch screen display. We have an opportunity to make an impression with the customer, as a captive audience, while their pizza is cooking from 90 to 120 seconds. The prospect of using that time as effectively as possible, whether it be for advertising or games for kids, is quite exciting for us!