Growing fast and giving back to the ‘MOD Squad’

The Power List 2019: Ally Svenson

Ally Svenson, co-founder, MOD Pizza

When Ally Svenson and her husband, Scott, founded MOD Pizza in Seattle in 2008, they set out to build a different kind of pizza joint — one that not only offered the quick-cooking, customizable pies that defined the segment, but also had a positive social mission and an employee- first approach.

The results speak for themselves.

The chain, which now has around 400 units, posted 80-percent year-over-year sales growth to reach $270 million in fiscal 2017, according to NRN Top 200 research. That made it not only the fastest-growing chain in the fast-casual pizza space, but also the fastest-growing chain in the entire Top 200. MOD was the fastest-growing Top 200 chain by units as well, with a 58.8-percent unit growth rate in 2017.

Scott Svenson serves as MOD’s CEO, while Ally Svenson is its “protector of the purpose.” That purpose includes hiring employees who may have trouble being hired elsewhere, including people with special needs or those who have been in prison or rehab, as well as paying employees above minimum wage.

In a video on the MOD website, Ally Svenson sums it up this way: “We believe that if we take care of our MOD Squad in everything that we do, our MOD Squad will take care of our guests — and our business will take care of itself.”