Scott and Ally Svensons are the co-founders of MOD Pizza, a chain of artisan-style pizza restaurants throughout the U.S. Their road to launching their own company was not smooth; with juggling between taking care of their family and leaving their previous work occupations, they were not afraid to take risks for what they really wanted.
Scott began as an investment banker and Ally worked in the publishing industry before the pair opened the Seattle Coffee Company in London in 1995. Three years after opening the Seattle Coffee Company, the couple sold it to Starbucks for around $90 million. The same year, they collaborated with Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio to create Carluccio’s. The first deli café opened in 1999. Since then, Carluccio’s has built more than 100 locations across the U.K., Turkey, and the U.S.
Scott and Ally moved back to Seattle to take a break from the restaurant business and focus on raising their four boys. Years later, a business connection had suggested looking into the pizza industry. The Svensons saw that the pizza industry lacked innovation and they had a goal of a place that would bring a fast-casual format to the pizza business. That model included an unlimited amount of toppings on a thin crust pizza for the same set price.
They had opened their first store during the recession and many told them that it was a terrible idea to start a business. Scott stated that “of course, building a successful business is gratifying, but the things that gave us the most happiness were the times we were able to make a positive impact on someone’s life.”
Overall, Ally and Scott aim to give their employees a living wage, benefits, and opportunities that they typically can’t find everywhere. MOD Pizza has given opportunities to multiple felons, people with learning disabilities, and those recently released from drug or alcohol rehabilitation. They want to show others that it’s possible to give opportunities to others to make them feel “trusted and empowered.” MOD has seen great success as it grew from 192 stores to 302 in the time span of 2016-2017, and sales of $150 million in 2016.