Named “pizza shop of the 21st century,” the brand with cult-like following targets rapid growth on East Coast
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — &pizza, the counterculture brand known for its critically acclaimed pizza and craft beverages, ampersand-tattooed employees (the Tribe), and fight for a living wage, announces that it has received $25 million of growth capital to fund its rapid expansion into several major markets, including New York City.
The funding was led by AVALT and included significant participation by existing shareholders. AVALT is a family office investment firm that makes long term investments in dynamic businesses with large growth potential. AVALT’s partners bring extensive restaurant experience, having invested in Outback Steakhouse, Domino’s Pizza, and Dunkin’ Donuts, among other concepts.
&pizza is also announcing its first New York City shop, slated to open in the NoMad neighborhood in mid-2017. The historic neighborhood, known for its mix of residential and office buildings and anchored by Madison Square Park, is the ideal location for &pizza to lay the foundation for its New York expansion.
&pizza approaches its food, culture and shop design in a progressive way. Core to its offering is pizza, where guests are encouraged to craft an individual pie (with unlimited ingredients) or select from eight chef-inspired choices that boast unique and bold flavor combinations.
&pizza uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, including organic dough, non-GMO produce, and a full set of gluten-free and vegan offerings. &pizza works with local producers to create innovative menu offerings that span a variety of food and beverage categories, including craft &SODA, small batch &TEA, and &WINE. In 2016, &pizza expanded to Baltimore and Philadelphia and is opening six shops in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia region, bringing the total to 21 by year end.
“We are approaching this next phase of growth with the same excitement as when we opened our first location,” says &pizza CEO Michael Lastoria. “Due to the success we have enjoyed and achieved to date, &pizza generated significant investment interest. We ultimately chose AVALT given their deep and relevant investment experience, and desire to create a long term partnership to help us embark on the next level of our ambitious journey. This funding will guarantee a continued focus on the growth of our business and our Tribe members. It allows us to expand our reach and preach the gospel of &pizza not only deeper inside the city limits of the nation’s capital, but far beyond. Continuing to incorporate the DNA of each community we serve, and leading the movement and being a voice of #fightfor15 is all we could ever ask for.”
As a testament to &pizza’s culture, which represents a “go anywhere, do everything” lifestyle, over 60 Tribe Members (and 25 guests) have proudly tattooed the iconic ampersand on their body. In line with &pizza’s commitment to incorporating the culture and characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood, the brand engages area artists to bring each of its shops to life through localized shop design and gives back to local charities through its &CHARITY program.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Michael and the &pizza team as they look to expand beyond the broader D.C. market,” said Ian Reynolds, a founding partner of AVALT. “While there are many players in the high-growth fast casual pizza segment, &pizza wins on their uniqueness of vision, taste of their pizzas and the quality of their Tribe. We look forward to helping Michael and his team bring that phenomenal experience to pizza lovers in New York and beyond.”
Founded in 2012 in Washington, D.C.’s historic H Street NE corridor, &pizza set out to create a different kind of pizza shop — one where experience is the focal point, and every shop reflects the culture and people of its neighborhood. Evidence of their disruptive success can be found in the organizational culture of its employees (the brand calls them Tribe Members), its rapid expansion and numerous recognitions, including Best Pizza and Best Vegetarian in Washington D.C. Follow &pizza on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @andpizza, and visit www.andpizza.com.
AVALT is a family office that invests only its own principals’ money in high quality companies that have significant long term potential. We aim to use our permanent and flexible capital to help businesses maximize value without regard to any fixed time horizon. We build truly collaborative partnerships with management teams so that we can lend our decades of private equity and industry experience to the work they do driving growth and change in their businesses. For more information please visit www.avalt.com.
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