Pizza, People and Passion Rule at MOD Pizza
By Kimberly Boney
Any Way You Slice It
By Kimberly Boney
Photos by Erin Claassen
A pensive smile spread across her face as she pondered the question. What single word could she use to define a customer’s experience as a patron of MOD Pizza? She considered the many words that could aptly describe a moment in time at the make-it-your-way pizza establishment. “It’s hard to settle on just one word, but I think it would either be ‘family’ or ‘welcome’. When you are here with us, you are family. We are sharing a meal together — and that brings people together,” says Jennifer Saechao, a proud member of the Redding, California MOD Squad.
MOD Pizza, which opened in Redding last May, is likely to evoke a similar enthusiasm in the hearts of all of its employees. Aside from the fun-filled, high energy and fast pace of the restaurant itself is the underlying passion the company has for hiring good people — people whose uniqueness and individuality are woven into the fabric that is The MOD Squad.
The company, which stands for Made on Demand Pizza, was born in 2008 in Seattle. Seven years and more than 80 locations later (with many more slated to open soon), the company stands firmly on its belief that if employees are at their best, they will inherently pass on the goodness to their customers. In 2013, MOD Pizza was acknowledged as one of the “Top 50 Breakout Brands” by Nation’s Restaurant News, and in 2015, it was ranked one of “The 20 Best Places to Work in Retail” by Fortune.com.
The food is made to order from quality ingredients with one flat price based on the size of the pizza. Even the design concept of the restaurant reflects the easy-going, fun-loving spirit that MOD embodies. Guests are encouraged to add a mod sticker with their name on it to the walls. The industrial design adds a fresh and youthful vibe to the restaurant. The warm wooden décor, particularly the striking design of the MOD logo hangingprominently on the wall, seems to encapsulate the good energy coming from The MOD Squad and visitors alike. Smiling faces of members of the squad and happy MOD customers greet guests in line from a patchwork photograph mural on the wall.
You won’t find televisions at MOD locations. The focus, instead, is on helping people to make genuine connections. “Look at that couple sitting there. Neither of them is on their phone or staring at a television. They are engaged in the atmosphere of the place and they are talking to each other,” says Joshua Lynch, general manager at the Redding location.
“It’s cool to be kind,” according to Ally Svenson, who co-founded MOD with her husband Scott. The company proudly supports the idea of “Spreading MODness”—“the ripple effect of simply doing the right thing.” Known for supporting local fundraisers—to the tune of $125,000 in November 2015—and for their belief in “hiring people with personality and passion over those with prior restaurant experience,” MOD believes in the joy that comes from being yourself, being accepted and valued, and spreading kindness to others. From its passion for its employees to its commitment to welcome customers from all walks of life through the doors, MOD’s mission to put people first extends far past the doors of the restaurant. It’s creating a culture all its own.
Members of The MOD Squad are even encouraged to submit their own specialized pizza recipes—ones that may become featured on the company-wide seasonal offering menu—which is another way the company proves its commitment to building a winning team spirit.
“We focus on employee empowerment. When a member of the Mod Squad wants to take care of a guest, they are given the freedom to do so. I can leave this restaurant, knowing that it is in good hands with The MOD Squad,” says Lynch. “Each member has something unique to bring to the table. And do you know what else is pretty amazing? Do you hear the music that is being played? It’s playing simultaneously in all of the MOD locations across the country. That’s unity. And that’s what I love about this place.”
MOD Pizza• 913 Dana Drive • Redding
530.605.4727 • www.modpizza.com