Danny Meyer-Backed Fast Casual Pizza Concept Transitions to Full-Service

It appears as though the Danny Meyer-backed pizza concept Martina wasn't performing as well as a fast casual concept. The New York pizzeria has transited from the fastcasual format to full-service.

The Union Square Hospitality Group, which started the fast casual success Shake Shack, closed Martina last week to complete the revamp.

The new restaurant opened back up Monday and is serving bigger portions and a new menu.

The menu includes more wine selections and a new Reuben with mortadella, artichoke slaw, and cheese.

Martina was opened in August of 2017 by the renowned chef Nick Anderer as a more affordable version of his restaurant Marta. Before the revamp, people would order at the counter then pick up their thin-crust pizzas at the counter after their buzzer went off.

Although this format has been proven successful for the better-burger chain Shake Shack, Martina has much more competition in the pizza market. Not only is it in a city known for its thinly slice pizza slices, but the pizza fast casual market is now much more saturated.

There's Blaze pizza, Mod Pizza, &pizza– just to name a few of the pizza-focused fast casuals rapidly expanding across the country.

Then Pizza's consumer Sentiment is down too. Customers are ordering pizza-less.

According to Foodable labs data, Pizza delivery is down by 18.5 percent year over year. This is partly because the quality of the pizza being delivered most of the time isn't up to customers' standard.

Will this influence guests to visit pizza fast casual concepts in store more? Or have guests developed a taste from different cuisines as more fast casual chains have emerged serving new exciting cuisines like Mediterranean food?

But USHG isn't giving up on the pizza concept, instead, the group is aiming to elevate it. Its rare for a restaurant to transition into a more formal format as the demand for on-the-go food becomes more widespread.

Do you think this revamp will pay off?

Read more about Martina's big change at "Eater" now.

Foodable Labs tracks over six million influencers and over 100 pizza chains. Want to find out what else is causing the slip in pizza Sentiment? Watch the video about the decline in pizza delivery below.

Will Danny Meyer's Pizza Concept Be the Next Success?

Screenshot of Marta's website  | Martamanhattan.com

Screenshot of Marta's website | Martamanhattan.com

Danny Meyer has been a successful restauranteur for many years before his Shack Shake endeavor. However, after launching the Better Burger Fast Casual and taking it public– his name has been all over the news. Every business move he now makes is being heavily reported on by the press. 

He has branched out with a new venture, the NYC pizza concept Marta. This concept (that opened in September 2014) takes a sophisticated approach to pizza with higher-end toppings. For example, sopressata is in place of the traditional pepperoni. And although these kinds of ingredients sound like they belong in a fine-dining setting– Marta has a price point between $14-23.

Pizza continues to be a consumer's favorite and competition is steep in this space–especially in New York City, where Marta is based. So with that in mind, head chef Nick Anderer is focusing on the flavors and menu. So that consumers may be able to get a cheaper pizza down the street, but it certainty won't taste the same. 

Do you think that Danny Meyer can conquer the pizza segment, as well? Or is it too crowded? Are consumers really looking for a "better pizza"? Read More