Briscola-Pizza Society: Scaling Affordable Luxury
Riccardo Cortese and Federico Pinna were the CEOs of Briscola-Pizza Society, a restaurant chain they had founded in 2014 with a clear ambition: create a distinctive international pizza chain that would combine a fast-casual format with the devotion to quality that characterized family-run Italian restaurants. In 2017, Francesco Trapani, the former CEO of luxury jewelry company Bulgari, had taken a majority stake in the chain, which had switched to a format of "affordable luxury." At the end of 2019, Briscola counted six restaurants in the northern regions of Italy and its founders were grappling with a series of questions: Should they consolidate their position in other Italian regions or expand directly abroad? In which countries would their concept work best? Should they change their direct ownership model? If so, what kinds of partnerships, licensing agreements, and franchise models should they use? Finally, what was the right degree of standardization across their restaurants? Allowing some variations in the menu at the restaurant level would be attractive to target specific segments of their clientele, but would this complicate their operations and potentially hinder their growth?