TO the casual observer, Seattle and Leeds have little in common. However, a pizza firm based in the US city has decided that Leeds is the perfect place to serve up its first UK restaurant.
MOD – or Made on Demand – Pizza, which is one of America’s fastest growing restaurant chains, is establishing a restaurant in Cardigan Fields, near Leeds next month, as part of a strategy to establish a footprint across the UK.
The MOD brand is being brought to the UK in a joint-venture with Sir Charles Dunstone, who is best known for founding Carphone Warehouse, and Roger Taylor, who is a former director of TalkTalk Group.
MOD Pizza, which bills itself as the “pioneer” of fast casual pizza, was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2008 by entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. They had spent more than a decade living and working in the UK, where they founded the Seattle Coffee Company, before selling the business to Starbucks.
Today, MOD Pizza can be found in more than 125 locations across 16 states. MOD’s individual pizzas are made on demand with fresh-pressed dough and sauces, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads.
John Nelson, the chief executive of MOD Pizza UK, said: “Leeds is the third biggest city in the UK, and has a fantastically diverse customer base, vibrant nightlife and eating out scene.
“The synergy of Leeds culture, and MOD’s culture ties in perfectly with caring in the community.
“Cardigan Fields is a phenomenal leisure park with a great choice and we believe it’s the perfect place to introduce our MOD brand.”
Mr Nelson said his aim was to make MOD UK the “go to” pizza place in every community in the UK.
The Leeds restaurant will provide jobs for 40 people. All pizzas and salads are the same fixed-price, £7.47.
A spokesman said: “They’ve chosen Leeds as their first location in the UK, because Leeds ties in perfectly with MOD Pizza’s ethos on a strong community.”
The spokesman added: “As MOD continues its rapid expansion, it remains focused on spreading the MOD culture into new communities by offering great jobs and career growth opportunities, all the while giving back to its employees and the communities it serves.”
Sir Charles Dunstone, who is one of the people responsible for bringing the brand to Leeds, founded Carphone Warehouse in 1989 with £6,000 of savings. In 2000, the company listed on The London Stock Exchange and became the largest independent mobile phone retailer with 2,400 stores in the UK and across Europe.
In 2014, it merged with Dixons Group to create Dixons Carphone. In 2002, Carphone established TalkTalk, which became a major player in the UK’s telecoms market. In 2010, after becoming one of the UK’s leading telecoms companies; it demerged from Carphone Warehouse to become an independent company.
Sir Charles is chairman of both Dixons Carphone and TalkTalk. Roger Taylor is Sir Charles Dunstone’s business partner in Freston Ventures, a private company, which they use for personal investments, including their joint venture with MOD Pizza.