The Latest Franchising Buzz

Your Pie News

Your Pie Hires New Chief Operating Officer

Your Pie, the 10-year-old fast-casual pizza concept, has tapped the former CEO of Back Yard Burgers as the company’s first chief operating officer.

Dave McDougall, who left Back Yard Burgers in the spring, will oversee operations and marketing at Your Pie “with an emphasis on market research and new product development

to help hone and strengthen the brand’s voice while fueling franchise growth,” the Athens, Ga.-based chain said.

Your Pie founder and president Drew French said McDougall steps into the newly created role as the chain, which has more than 60 units, looks to expand its national footprint. The build-your-own pizza brand, which hand tosses its dough and cooks pizza in a brick oven, has 50 more stores in development.

“Dave will help us to navigate high-volume growth while maintaining the unique experience that has always defined the Your Pie brand,” French said in a statement. “We look forward to increasing our current momentum under Dave’s leadership and are excited to see how his expertise will amplify our brand.”

McDougall has more  than 30 years of experience in franchise operations and development. He led a turnaround at Back Yard Burgers after the chain emerged from bankruptcy. Previously, at Focus Brands, he led the marketing team during the international expansion of Cinnabon. McDougall said he’ll be focused on laying the foundation for the brand’s next 10 years of success.

“I have always been passionate about the franchise model, and as chief operating officer, I plan to place tremendous focus on current franchisees and how we can best support them while maintaining steady growth,” he said in a statement.

A Note from Drew: 10 Year Anniversary Wrap-up

This year, we had the privilege of celebrating 10 years of Your Pie. We knew we wanted to commemorate the anniversary in a big way by celebrating all of the people and experiences that brought us to this point, so we decided to thank the Your Pie Family with a series of giveaways over the course of three months. Throughout the summer, we rolled out six limited-edition pizza boxes, each uniquely designed to illustrate different facets of the Your Pie story. To enter each of our giveaways, guests simply had to share a photo of their pizza box on social media using the hashtag #expressyourinnerpizza.

Each of our giveaways was related to the Your Pie story in some way. For those of you who don’t know, Natalie and I came up with the Your Pie concept while honeymooning in Ischia, Italy—a small island off the coast of Naples. Gelato was a huge part of our honeymoon trip, and we knew that our brick-oven pizza concept would have to feature authentic, Italian-style gelato. For our first 10-year giveaway, we offered a trip to Florida, featuring a one-of-a-kind tasting with our Italian gelato purveyor, GS Gelato.

Next, we offered a Dine & Donate event to raise funds for a local charity of the winner’s choosing. Community is a core value at Your Pie, and each of our new stores hosts three days of Dine & Donate events benefiting local charities prior to their grand opening. For our 10th anniversary, it seemed like natural fit to gift one of our loyal customers with a special Dine & Donate event for a local cause close to their heart.

Other giveaways included a waived franchise fee for a qualified winner, and a handmade table from Your Pie’s artisan table vendor, Made in Monroe. Customers collected boxes all summer long to enter each of these giveaways—but many had their sights set higher, on our grand prize: a $5,000 trip to Ischia, Italy. To be eligible for the grand prize, customers had to collect all six artfully designed pizza boxes and arrange them to form one cohesive image. They then had to share a photo of that image on social media with the same hashtag, #expressyourinnnerpizza, and a caption sharing their Your Pie story.

We awarded the grand prize trip to Tony and Jennifer Esposito, a couple who got married on Ischia 10 years ago! We were blown away by how closely their story aligned with our own—they even shared photos from their Ischian wedding with their entry. Natalie and I are always surprised when someone else has even heard of Ischia, nonetheless traveled there. Tony and Jennifer’s story started on Ischia 10 years ago, and we are thrilled to send them back to where it all began.

Our customers’ stories are what make Your Pie special and what inspires each of us to get up every day and work toward continual innovation and improvement. We’re so thankful to everyone who participated in our 10th anniversary giveaways this summer and look forward to stepping into Decade Two with you.

Lastly, I would be remiss to let this milestone pass without recognizing the dedication and hard work of the franchise owners and corporate team who live the Your Pie mission daily.  We truly could not do it without you. As we look toward next 10 years, I am grateful for the roots we have planted and am excited to watch those continue to flourish in new and existing communities, in the hearts of our team, and in our lasting commitment to quality and service. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for sharing in this journey with us. Here’s to Decade Two!

QSR: 16 Young Restaurant Leaders to Watch

Drew French, founder of Your Pie, was named one of 16 Young Restaurant Leaders to Watch by QSR magazine.

5 Things You Should Know About Your Pie


Founders Drew and Natalie French first conceptualized Your Pie while honeymooning with family in Ischia, Italy. From hand-tossed dough to brick oven cooking, all 50+ locations retain authentic Italian influence. Full story via Fast Casual!


Your Pie’s rotating Craft Series menu features inventive, seasonal recipes. The fan-favorite Peach Prosciutto Pie was named one of America’s Most Innovative Menu Items and earned founder Drew French a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team.


Community is integral to the Your Pie experience. Throughout the year, Your Pie stores nationwide support schools, charities and other local causes. Learn how Your Pie Perimeter owners Morgan & Lisa Maclellan chose to support their community.


Your Pie’s executive team includes both millennial leadership, like founder Drew French, and industry veterans, like CEO Bucky Cook. Learn more about Your Pie’s multigenerational leadership in this Forbes article.


Your Pie launched the fast-casual pizza category 10 years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. We’re celebrating a decade of Your Pie with some exciting activations starting next month. Stay tuned for more!

Beer Heroes: Father & Son Franchisee Duo

Paul and Michael Childers, the father/son franchisee team in Savannah, GA are some of Your Pie’s earliest adopters and have been Craft Beer advocates from day one. They made the decision to join the Your Pie family after visiting Athens in December of 2009, and opened Savannah Downtown in 2010 and Savannah Sandfly in 2011. Last year they took the plunge with Store Number 3 in Pooler, GA last year and they anticipate a fourth store by 2019.

The duo’s success is primarily attributed to their Food First mentality, one of Your Pie’s Core Values, that will eventually lead them to open a fourth store.

“To us, Food First means that there are no exceptions for the quality of product that you put out. It’s about having the right ingredients, and making each pizza up to standard every time if it doesn’t meet the standard then it needs to go. Teaching that, explaining that, is one of the most important things we do here: the team member should be in the mindset that every pizza we make should be up to par.” according to Michael.

Michael and Paul have been in the Your Pie family since day one and are huge advocates for innovation in the franchise. “From my perspective, it has always been about the food. If it didn’t taste good we wouldn’t have gotten into this brand at the very beginning. On our first visit, we were won over once we walked inside, tasted the food, and saw the interior and the people. Never mind what we do with all our fancy marketing and brand presentation and all that, if the food sucks, that stuff doesn’t matter,” said Paul.

Award Winning Craft Pizza Returns to Your Pie

Your Pie announced the return of its award-winning Craft Series offering, the Peach Prosciutto Pie, now available through August 8.

The pie features a base of fresh olive oil and creamy ricotta, topped with savory prosciutto and a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

The rich flavors are then topped with fresh peaches and baked to perfection in Your Pie’s signature brick oven. After baking, the pie is finished with fresh basil and a house-made Honey Balsamic Glaze. Like all Your Pie pizzas, the Peach Prosciutto is made with hand-tossed dough, fresh ingredients and baked to order in a brick oven, per Italian tradition.

The savory-sweet earned Your Pie Founder Drew French a spot on the United States Pizza Team, where he competed at the 2016 World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy. In Summer 2017, the Pie was named one of America’s Most Innovative Menu Items by QSR Magazine.

Read the full story here.

Chattanooga: Now Open!

The Your Pie Family welcomes father-and-son team Himanshu and Harshil Patel who opened the latest Your Pie restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Friday, April 13th.

Your Pie Chattanooga is the first location for Harshil Patel, who looks forward to introducing the community to a new way to experience pizza.

“I previously worked as a financial analyst but always dreamed of owning my own business here in Chattanooga,” said Patel. “After researching several different franchise opportunities, I found that none compared to the quality of product and people at Your Pie. The support system is incredible, and the food is absolutely unparalleled. We are excited to create a fun, family-friendly atmosphere that fosters connection and encourages community, all while enjoying delicious, customized pizza, salad and paninis.”

Prior to its official grand opening, Your Pie Chattanooga raised $2,200 during their ‘Dine and Donate’ events on April 9, 10 and 11. During each shift, the restaurant served free pizzas for up to 200 registered guests and collected monetary donations on behalf of Westview Elementary School PTA. Find the most up to date information about ‘Dine and Donate’ and Your Pie Chattanooga events on Facebook.

Welcome to the family, Himanshu and Harshil!

Read more about the Chattanooga grand opening at The Chattanoogan and Times Free Press.

Your Pie Franchising First Quarter Update

ATLANTA—April 16, 2018—​Your Pie, the original fast casual pizza brand, announced significant growth for the first quarter of 2018, boasting a total of five new stores across the U.S. These first quarter additions bring the brand’s total footprint to 53 locations across 18 states.

Between January 1 and March 31, Your Pie launched in three new markets: Nashville, Tennessee; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Houma, Louisiana. The brand also expanded in Augusta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina.

On March 14, Your Pie celebrated its 10th annual Pi(e) Day event at stores nationwide. The 2018 theme was “Out of This World,” and the brand launched a pizza into space to celebrate a decade of Pi(e) Day. Across more than 50 locations from California to Florida, Your Pie served $3.14 pizzas to more than 45,000 customers. Additionally, each store awarded free pizza for a year to one lucky customer, and one grand prize winner received a GoPro Karma Drone and GoPro HERO6 camera.

Other first quarter milestones included two new additions to the corporate leadership team in Athens, Georgia. Trevor Jorgensen was named a franchise support manager and will help to ensure that franchise locations across the country are equipped to provide the best possible experience for guests. Trevor joined the Your Pie Family in 2013 and has served as General Manager at Your Pie Jacksonville since 2017.

Chris Biesiadecki also joined the team as a franchise support manager and will oversee
corporate Your Pie locations, team member training and professional development programs. Biesiadecki brings 10 years of corporate accounting experience, in addition to six years in the food service industry with Chick-fil-A.

“We have a vision to see Your Pie expand its reach and serve customers in every corner of the U.S.,” said Drew French, Your Pie founder and president. “We attribute our strong and steady growth to our dedication to craftsmanship, customer service and close knit culture. We’re very proud of the team we’ve built, the products we serve and our commitment to creating shareable experiences in each of the communities we call home.”

Between April 1 and June 30, Your Pie expects to open four to six stores in new markets including Chattanooga, Tennessee; Fayetteville, Georgia; Gloucester, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; and St. Augustine, Florida. The brand aims to have 75 stores in operation by the end of 2018. More information on Your Pie franchising can be found at

Your Pie was founded in 2008 by culinary entrepreneur Drew French, who aimed to create a first-of-its-kind restaurant concept offering high quality, brick-oven pizza at incredible speed. While family recipes and Italian culture helped lay the foundation for its processes and exceptional quality, Your Pie has continued to build upon this foundation with new ingredients, innovative recipes and endless choices to create a pizza experience with traditional roots, but a flair all its own.

Fast Casual: International Women’s Day: Q&A with 25 female execs

In celebration of International Women’s Day — March 8 — FastCasual interviewed 25 of the industry’s leading ladies to develop their second annual “Women in the Lead” series.

Each woman shared how she got her start in the restaurant industry, how she worked her way up in a male-dominated field and what guidance she would give to other aspiring female leaders.

Read Natalie French’s, co-Founder of Your Pie, advice and guidance here!

Happy International Women’s Day and International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

Fast Casual: How 1 couple’s love story was the catalyst to a thriving pizza business

During their honeymoon in Italy, high school sweethearts Drew and Natalie French were inspired to create Your Pie. Drew and Natalie fell in love with the hospitality, landscapes, and food found on the island of Ischia where Natalie’s extended family lives. While visiting, family members had brick ovens their backyards and would bake personal sized pizzas with fresh ingredients and smoky, earthy flavors everyday.

“Sitting beside family members on a warm summer evening, we had our ‘aha’ moment. We realized that good, authentic pizza could be done fast and could be done individually. These aspects, combined with an atmosphere of community and relational culture, are what propelled Drew and me to develop Your Pie.”, said French.

Italian culture is embedded in the Your Pie experience today. Your Pie strives for all guests to feel like family at Your Pie. The product, an individual and customized pizza, is reminiscent of the pizza Drew and Natalie experienced while in Italy. Hand-tossed dough, house-made sauces and cooking each pizza in a brick oven adds operational complexity, but the end product is worth it when a customer mentions that it is the best pizza they have ever had.

“Your Pie is so much more than a fast casual pizza joint; it’s an extension of us, our family and the experiences that inspire us. I will never forget how my aunts, uncles and cousins in Ischia made us feel right at home in those first days as husband and wife. Now, we strive to do the same in our 54 restaurants across the country.”

Read the full story here.