London-based Fireaway, the UK’s fastest-growing pizza takeaway, is set for further rapid expansion, much of it abroad.
By doing so Fireaway intends to emulate the likes of Domino’s and Pizza Hut and become a global giant in the pizza takeaway market.
Fireaway has enjoyed spectacular growth since launching in south London in 2016. The company now has around 60 outlets across the country and that number will double by the end of 2021.
Indeed, there are plans to open 25 new branches in the next 25 weeks.
A further 20 franchise agreements have been signed and locations for them are being sought.
In addition, Master Franchisees have come on board in Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
Founder and CEO Mario Aleppo (31) opened the first branch in Mitcham and the company’s initial expansion was largely coincidental.
“Our pizzas went down very well with our customers right from the start,” he said.
“Within a few weeks one of my regulars asked if he could become a franchisee and within six months he’d opened a branch in Streatham.
“Not long after that we opened our own second branch in Thornton Heath. From then on we attracted other franchisees through word of mouth.
“It started with a new franchise opening every six months. A year later it was every three months, then one a month and now it’s roughly one a week.
“During the second half of last year, despite all the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, we opened 20 new branches in 20 weeks.”
There are now branches from south London all the way to Scotland and eventually Mario would like to see several Fireaways in every city in the UK.
However, he believes global growth is unlimited.
“We’re taking this very seriously,” he said. “So much so I have appointed my two younger brothers to spearhead our efforts, with Luca managing our German operation and Fabio overseeing The Netherlands.”
Fireaway’s soaraway success is more remarkable considering Mario left school at 16 and drifted in and out of jobs and college courses for nearly 10 years before opening Fireaway.
“Initially, I thought of opening a Subway franchise but I changed my mind and decided to do my own thing.
“However, I was impressed by Subway’s methods and incorporated some of them into Fireaway.
“It means that pizza lovers can choose from four different bases, four different cheeses, four meats and 20 toppings. And the price doesn’t alter regardless of which combination is chosen.
“I also realised that customers don’t want to hang around to wait for an order so I installed super-hot ovens which can cook a pizza in less than three minutes.
“But perhaps the biggest advantage I have is that I personally went to Italy and negotiated with farmers near Naples and flour mills near Milan.
“These agreements ensure they send me the freshest tomatoes and flour specially made to my specifications on a daily basis.
“We also like to innovate and have introduced the Nutella Pizza, which is unique to Fireaway, along with the full range of gluten-free and vegan options to ensure there is something for everyone.”