Pizza Inn has unveiled a brand refresh that includes a logo, updated mascot and modernized store design that put the buffet at the center of operations.
Texas-based Pizza Inn recently unveiled a brand refresh that includes a logo, mascot and store designs. The refresh will touch all 32 international storefronts, 128 US locations and 72 domestic buffets. The brand, founded in 1958 is 100% franchised.
Pizza Marketplace talked to Chaz Black, associate vice of marketing for Pizza Inn parent company Rave Restaurant Group, by email to learn how the refresh president came about, what it entails and how it will affect the brand’s Pizza Inn restaurants.
Q.What was the impetus behind the brand refresh? Why now?
A. After eight consecutive quarters of profitability, and our first positive net store count in 24 years, we thought it was the perfect time for a brand refresh. With continued menu innovation and a new logo, mascot and store designs, Pizza Inn is looking toward the future.
Chaz Black, associate vice president of marketing for Pizza Inn parent company Rave Restaurant Group
Q. What does the brand refresh entail?
A. The brand refresh is centered around three main characteristics of the brand: our logo, new store design and mascot, Jojo. We wanted to keep the hometown feel of each of the elements while elevating them to match the growth and success of the brand. We worked with an extremely talented advertising agency, BooneOakley, and retail design firm, Chute Gerdeman, to bring the creative ideas to life. We can’t wait for the newly redesigned storefront to open so our customers can fully immerse themselves in the new brand.
Q.Your mascot, Jojo, has evolved with the brand. What does Jojo bring to the table with this refresh?
A.Since 1958, Jojo has seen multiple makeovers; However, this latest iteration of our mascot is different from the rest. In the 2022 illustration, Jojo is depicted with a closed fist, symbolic of the loyalty and love of our customers feel toward our brand. Jojo has a true grit, and like Pizza Inn, has withstood the test of time. We believe this iteration of JoJo can really be brought to life in a way that none of us have been before, both physically and digitally.
Q. Will the brand refresh be rolled out in all stores? Where will the first location be?
A.The brand refresh will touch each Pizza Inn location down to the pizza box itself. Our goal is to stay true to the nostalgia and comfort that is Pizza Inn while adding contemporary accents to our storefronts and in-store experience with re-imagined buffets to highlight how we have grown as a brand. The first completely redesigned storefront will open in Asheboro, North Carolina, later this year.
Q.The refresh puts the buffet as the “hero” of the store. How has the brand kept buffets modernized in the industry?
A.The best part about buffets is the variety and innovation opportunities. We offer something for everyone and it gives us a space to create pizzas none of our competitors can. We’ve put 16-inch pizzas on the buffet with the NYXL and we just rolled out a cheese-filled pretzel crust on every buffet as well. We wanted to make sure to celebrate our history as America’s hometown pizza buffet while delivering the best product to our customers. Pizza Inn uses the freshest ingredients at all times including 100% whole-milk mozzarella and house-made marinara sauce. Our operator’s team also makes house-made dough every morning in-store. With these high-quality ingredients, we keep menu innovation at the forefront of our store and have really changed customer perception of what buffets are. Classics like our “Pizzerts” always remain popular, but the innovative menu items like our brand-new Cheese-Filled Pretzel Crust are what keep the exciting buffet and modernized. Simply put, there is something for everyone which makes Pizza Inn an easy choice for families with hungry kids!
Q.How has Pizza Inn managed to keep its concept fresh and invigorating throughout the decades?
A.The key is the buffet. Pizza Inn has been in the lives of loyal customers for decades and continue to come back because of our innovation. Some favorites are our Taco Pizza, Bacon Ranch Pizza and a variety of crust types.
Our customers know they will be warmly welcomed when they walk through the door and the buffet is going to be stocked with a wide variety of fan favorites and brand-new pizzas. The great thing about buffets is the value in the eyes of our customers. For one low price, they can try every pizza we have and then top it off with dessert, a side salad or pasta. Pizza Inn has also invested in technology, expanding our carryout and delivery business through partners such as DoorDash, UberEats and GrubHub — we can bring the pizza directly to your living room.
Q. What sets Pizza Inn apart from other buffet concepts in the pizzaverse?
A. The quality of food — we make house-made dough every morning, use real 100% whole-milk mozzarella cheese and when you couple quality with variety, other pizza buffet concepts don’t match up. With 64 years of experience in the pizza industry, we know what works and what doesn’t. By using the best ingredients and implementing innovative pizza-making techniques at a system-wide scale, we’re implementing top-notch practices that other concepts haven’t.
Q. What’s the one thing you want people to know about Pizza Inn?
A. Our brand is 64 years old, but our best years are still ahead of us! We’re constantly innovating with the highest quality ingredients. Buffets can be viewed as low-quality, but every day we are making our house-made dough, shredding 100% whole-milk mozzarella cheese and hand cutting our vegetables to ensure every pizza on the buffet or via carryout is the highest quality.
Mandy Wolf Detwiler is the managing editor at Networld Media Group and the site editor for PizzaMarketplace.com and QSRweb.com. She has more than 20 years’ experience covering food, people and places.
An award-winning print journalist, Mandy brings more than 20 years’ experience to Networld Media Group. She has spent nearly two decades covering the pizza industry, from independent pizzerias to multi-unit chains and every size business in between. Mandy has been featured on the Food Network and has won numerous awards for her coverage of the restaurant industry. She has an insatiable appetite for learning, and can tell you where to find the best slices in the country after spending 15 years traveling and eating pizza for a living.