FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Pizza Fusion, a pioneer in the natural and organic restaurant movement, garnered a coveted industry accolade when it was ranked No. 4 in the Top 100 Movers & Shakers for 2009 by FastCasual.com, a leading industry trade publication and association.
"Recognition from our industry peers strengthens our deeply held belief that we can serve our customers organic gourmet meals at a great value in an eco-friendly environment," said Mark Begelman, CEO of Pizza Fusion. "It also positions us well for our aggressive expansion plans to bring that value to many more cities across the country."
Last year, Begelman, former president and CEO of Office Depot, instituted a number of new programs that included additional franchisee training, new processes and more corporate support for Pizza Fusion restaurants. The moves set the table for more success in 2010, he said.
"Our rise in the rankings tells me we're doing something right," he added.
Pizza Fusion moves up from number six in last year's rankings by FastCasual.com. The quick service restaurant model combined with top quality food is one of the fastest growing in the restaurant industry, according to FastCasual.com.
"As you can imagine we toiled over this project for several months with our industry experts," said Paul Barron, publisher of FastCasual.com. "After compiling mountains of data, a flurry of secret and special conference calls and much heated but constructive discussion, we reached the result of what is this year's coveted Top 100 list."
In the magazine's write up for the 2009 Movers & Shakers, it said: "This Fort Lauderdale-based chain has pioneered the green subgenre within the pizza category. It's less than four years old, but last year the concept truly arrived."
The magazine lauded Pizza Fusion for its environmental practices. Its restaurants are built with countertops made from recycled concrete and glass, soy stained concrete floors, tables made from reclaimed wood, eco-friendly paints, 30% recaptured industrial concrete, energy star certified appliances, low voltage, low heat lighting, and much more – all the way down to the biodegradable potato "spudware" utensils.
"But these stipulations don't preclude the company from offering innovative and delicious pies," the magazine said. "Part of its success comes from its all-natural and organic-sourced meats, veggies and cheeses that go on its pizza and in its salads, sandwiches and wraps. Even the sodas, wine and beer Pizza Fusion offers are either local, organic or both."
Pizza Fusion's unique concept and success has allowed it to attract top-tier partners for its national expansion. It recently named Larry Feldman, CEO of SUBWAY® Development Corporation, the largest franchise developer for Subway with 1,100 locations to its board of directors. Feldman also helped build the company's Franchise Development Agent program, a system he pioneered at Subway.
"FastCasual.com knows a winner when it sees one," Feldman said of the ranking. "So do I. And that's what makes it so exciting to be part of an organization that's poised for explosive growth."
Founded in the best interest of the individual and the environment, Pizza Fusion combines a fresh, organic menu with an industry-leading environmental approach to restaurant service in chic dining destinations built to LEED certification standards. Pizza Fusion specializes in a full-service approach to gourmet pizza, ciabatta sandwiches, salads, desserts, and organic beers and wines, all in their purest form - untainted by artificial additives, such as pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and hormones. With numerous franchises opening across the U.S., Pizza Fusion is pioneering the organic and environmental restaurant movement as the most eco-friendly restaurant in America.