Your Pie Celebrates 10 Years with Franchise Fest, Contest
As Seen in The Athens Banner-Herald
Drew French, co-founder of the Athens-based Your Pie, re-invented the pizza business when he and his wife, co-founder Natalie, started the franchise.
However, French’s dream started in an unlikely place.
While enjoying their honeymoon in Ischia, Italy, a small town 19 miles off the coast of Naples, Drew and Natalie took notice of Italian culture and wanted to bring it back to America. Two of the most prominent features of the culture – brick-oven pizzas and gelato – are well-known staples of the Your Pie franchise today.
“We saw the brick ovens and gelato, and elements that are core to the brand at Your Pie,” French said. “When we opened, there was nobody else doing pizza the way we were doing it. You come in and get your own pizza, built the exact way you want it.”
French says those unique aspects of Your Pie are what separate his franchise from the rest.
“That was a unique spin on pizza,” French said. “It got people excited.”
French opened his first Your Pie in 2008, two years after the couple’s honeymoon. By 2010, the franchise had expanded into more communities throughout the region.
Your Pie ultimately took off – the store now boasts locations in 19 states – and French credits much of its growth to the experience offered in each individual restaurant.
“When I opened up the first store in the Beechwood Shopping Center, I was focused on just letting other people experience pizza,” French said. “I did have hopes and dreams of growing beyond the one store, but I knew it had to be done by growing the right way.”
The franchise quickly joined the likes of Zaxby’s and Barberitos as another Athens-based franchise enjoying remarkable success. Your Pie’s Athens locations have allowed Drew and Natalie to try out new menu items such as gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.
Using Athens as a test market has yielded results for the franchise.
“Different things that the Athens community has asked for, we’ve tested out,” French said. “The fact that we did things differently back then is paramount to why we’ve run into many different communities.”
French and Your Pie are celebrating 10 years of operation with a sweepstakes and a special celebration in Athens.
Your Pie is hosting its annual Franchise Fest, where franchisees from across the country gather to connect with the team, share where the brand is and where it’s going, and re-energize the franchise. The conference is significant this year, with the franchise’s 10-year anniversary.
Per Suzanne Rutledge, French’s spokesperson, franchisees will gather in Athens this week to enjoy informative sessions and company events. The conference will culminate with an awards dinner on Thursday at the Georgia Theater. The red-carpet event will recognize and honor leading franchisees within the 56-store system and celebrate the team’s success in the first decade.
Prizes for the sweepstakes include a trip to Florida for a gelato tasting, a custom outdoor table from Your Pie’s table vendor, a dine-and-donate event benefiting the winner’s favorite local charity, and a Your Pie franchise fee to a qualified winner.
Capping off the sweepstakes is a $5,000 prize toward a vacation to Ischia, Italy – the place Drew and Natalie first envisioned the ever-growing pizza chain.
As part of the promotion, Your Pie has displayed its history on six limited-edition pizza boxes, which will be released throughout the summer. Each box highlights a unique aspect of the franchise’s history.
To be entered to win the $5,000 prize toward a trip to Italy, customers must collect all six boxes, color in the last box and share a photo of the complete set using the hashtag #expressyourinnerpizza.
The prize trip to Italy is a sentimental one for French, who hopes to inspire others through the giveaway.
“When we were thinking of what we wanted to do for our 10-year anniversary, for us it was more about giving back to our customers,” French said. “We wanted to give that experience to other people. We want people to go back to where we had our honeymoon, and maybe inspire themselves.”