7-15-13 10:29 AM EDT | Email Article

DALLAS, July 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The race is on to establish a dominant national footprint in the fast-casual pizza space, and the leader of the category continues to distance itself from the competition.

Pie Five Pizza Co., a subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PZZI), announced today that it has awarded franchise rights to two veteran restaurant groups that will introduce the rapidly growing brand to three new states. Big Cheese, LLC, owned by Jim Stevens, is contracted to open seven restaurants in Wichita, KS, and Tulsa, OK. Simmonds Restaurant Management will open six Pie Five locations in Omaha and Lincoln, NE.

"As we expand across the country, word is getting out that Pie Five Pizza is a well-positioned concept with huge potential," said Madison Jobe, chief development officer for Pie Five. "It speaks volumes that proven, seasoned operators like Jim Stevens and Mike Simmonds have hitched their wagons to our brand. With partners like them, the sky's the limit for Pie Five."

Jim Stevens grew up in the restaurant business and has been involved with many concepts over the years. Currently he is an Applebee's franchisee with 25 locations in Kansas and Omaha, NE. He also franchises seven Jason's Delis in the Kansas City area.

"I have been looking for another exciting concept for a while, but hadn't found any that interested me until I heard about Pie Five," said Stevens. "Once I saw the operations for myself, met the leadership team, and learned how strong their franchise support is, I knew this was it.  By giving guests the ability to choose from a wide array of fresh ingredients and serving up customized pizzas in less than five minutes, they're giving today's customers exactly what they want. I see no reason why Pie Five won't become one of the most successful fast-casual brands in North America, and I'm not just talking about pizza concepts."

In just over three decades, Mike Simmonds built Simmonds Restaurant Management from a single Burger King franchise in Fremont, NE, to more than 90 restaurants in three brands that produced annual revenue of $125 million. He sold his Burger King and Taco Johns restaurants in 2008, and finally his 12 Jimmy Johns restaurants were sold earlier this year.

"I love, and already miss, the restaurant business. So after embarking on much research, I have landed on the Pie Five concept. Their products and service concept are terrific and, very importantly, their leadership team is outstanding," said Simmonds. "Pie Five is one of the hottest brands in the fast-casual category because they've developed a brilliant formula grounded in high-quality ingredients, made-to-order service, exceptional value and absolute consistency that is extremely rare in today's marketplace. I'm thrilled to bring Pie Five to Omaha and Lincoln, where I believe it will become an overnight sensation."

Pie Five has been named a 2013 Top 50 Restaurant Brand of the Year, a 2012 Hot Concepts winner by Nation's Restaurant News and one of "10 Hot New Restaurant Chains from Established Brands" by Forbes.com.

At Pie Five, guests can choose from more than a million combinations of handcrafted pizzas and a variety of specialty pie choices prepared in less than five minutes on one of four crusts.  The rapidly growing chain is capitalizing on growing consumer demand for fresh dining options and artisan pizzas in stylish environments without the wait.

Pie Five currently has 10 locations in Texas and one location in Utah. The addition of the Omaha, Tulsa and Wichita markets brings the total announced franchise restaurants under contract to 85 in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Both Stevens and Simmonds project their first units to open in the next six months.

ABOUT PIE FIVE PIZZA CO.

Pie Five is a subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc., headquartered in the Dallas suburb of The Colony, Texas. Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc. is an owner, franchisor and supplier of a system of restaurants operating domestically and internationally. Pie Five Pizza Co. is a fast-casual concept offering individual pizzas made to order and cooked in less than five minutes. Founded in 1958, publicly traded Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PZZI) franchises approximately 300 restaurants and directly owns and operates 14 restaurants. For more information, please visit www.piefivepizza.com.

CONTACT: Ladd Biro, Champion Management
         972.930.9933; lbiro@championmgt.com

Pie Five

GlobeNewswire, Inc. 2013
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