October 14, 2016 |

Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads competes on culture to change landscape of fast casual dining

New Poncey-Highland Restaurant Employs Team-First Philosophy and a Genuine Passion for People

ATLANTA (Oct. 11, 2016) –  Next month, a new artisan dining experience is arriving in Atlanta with the mission of bringing people together around the joy of food and inspiring them to craft their best life. At the first location of Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads at the new 675 N. Highland mixed-use development in Poncey-Highland, a menu of approachable, chef-driven fare and bold, global flavors mingle with true hospitality and an authentic brand promise: our people and our passion make the difference.

That difference begins with a team of passionate individuals – collectively called Rize Nation – who are naturally wired to serve and care for others. “Our company culture accepts people as they are, embraces their individuality, encourages them to be real and to be part of a team focused on achieving something bigger than themselves. Our mission for the Rize Nation is to inspire them to grow in their skills while building a stronger sense of self,” says John Smith, Rize’s founder and CEO.

“A team of passionate, caring and cared for individuals are inspired to provide great service and true hospitality, which in turn creates loyal guests and drives strong economics for long-term sustainability and financial success. This is known as the service-profit chain,” continues Smith. “In order to build a great service business, you have to hire people with the right ‘ingredients.’ For Rize, that means hiring for certain personal characteristics and belief in our core values: act as one team; dare to be great; be passionate and authentic and own it.”

As the former regional president of Caesars Entertainment, Smith, who is the ultimate inspirational leader and do-er, is no stranger to recruiting exceptional talent and improving both the guest and team member experiences. His 25-year career in service-oriented business like Caesars and Target Corporation helped him develop a knack for sincerely listening to his team members, addressing their frustrations and creating a fully embraced culture that instills a sense of pride and passion.  One of his greatest accomplishments with this approach was as CEO of Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Smith led over 3,000 team members – mostly union – to achieve the highest guest service and team member engagement scores in the company’s 30-year history, turning Harrah’s Resort into the second largest casino outside of Las Vegas. This career experience left him longing to build a different kind of restaurant company where the passion for people rivals the passion for food.

“My ultimate goal for Rize is to build a nation of servant leaders to operate our restaurants, lead and develop our teams and provide true hospitality to our guests.  If we’re successful at accomplishing that while achieving our mission of bringing people together around the joy of food and inspiring them to craft their best life, I’m confident we will change the landscape of fast casual dining,” Smith explains.

Rize is located in the 675 N. Highland Avenue mixed-use development and will be open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The multi-seasonal outdoor patio is the perfect stop during an afternoon on the BeltLine or at Freedom Park. For more information, visit www.rizeartisanpizza.com or follow the restaurant on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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