Peter Piper Pizza
With 120-plus locations and two new concepts under its umbrella, this growing chain scores points with families via weekday lunch buffets, game rooms and giving back.
In 1973, Tony Cavolo, a Brooklyn, New York, native, was inspired to open a neighborhood pizzeria in his adopted home of Glendale, Arizona. The idea was simple: great pizzas at a great price, in a family-oriented environment. This vision developed further when, in 1980, the pizzeria expanded to Tucson, opening the first location with games inside. Today, the Phoenix-based company, known for its combination of pizza and game rooms, operates in six states and Mexico with three brands: 122 locations of Peter Piper Pizza; three outposts of Peter Piper Express, a smaller-footprint carryout and delivery model; and the new, more upscale Peter Piper Pizzeria, opening its second location in June.
At Peter Piper Pizza, customers order up front from a streamlined menu featuring pizza, salads, wings, sides and desserts, then receive a pager to alert them when their food is ready. Expansive, open dining rooms allow parents to keep an eye on kids as they play in the game rooms while giving Mom and Dad a break to enjoy some downtime. On weekdays, people pile in for the hearty all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet, priced at just $9.99. And, as delivery and carryout numbers have skyrocketed post-COVID, the new Express locations are designed to supplement sales in existing markets.
Despite its kid-friendly approach, the chain remains focused on food quality and consistency. “We’re such a familiar brand with our guest base, which is multigenerational—people who used to come in as kids, with their parents, now come in with their own kids,” says Tanya Sparkman, vice president of marketing. “There’s a real built-in warmth for this brand, but at our core, we’re food-forward. Our dough is still made from scratch, daily, onsite. Every location has a dough master, whose sole job is making dough, which is proofed, rolled out and scored on the bottom for a light, airy, crispy crunch. Our consistency of product comes down to training and the longevity of our team members—we have people who have worked in the back of house for 20-plus years. There’s an incredible amount of loyalty, and that speaks volumes.”
The brand also speaks volumes about its heart through recently establishing the Peter Piper Foundation to formalize its longtime charitable efforts, focused on children’s education and development—another aspect of its family-friendly mission. “What really resonates with me is that you walk through a location any time of day, and you don’t see people on their cell phones,” Sparkman marvels. “You see people sitting around a meal and playing games. It’s a true gathering of families—about just being in the moment, having an experience, and enjoying being together.”
Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor and the editor of PizzaVegan.com.