McDonald's former CEO is abandoning burgers and betting on a pizza chain that's like 'Subway, but better'

Former McDonald's CEO Don Thompson is getting into the pizza business.

Thompson has acquired a majority stake in the fast-casual chain PizzaRev through his Chicago-based venture capital firm, Cleveland Avenue LLC, Nation's Restaurant News reports.

The chain, founded in 2012, has grown rapidly from three locations five years ago to about 50 today across 11 states, with more than 200 restaurants currently in development in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere.



Like its larger rivals Pie Five Pizza and Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza, PizzaRev allows customers to build their own pizzas from a variety of ingredients.

Thompson, who left McDonald's in 2015, said his firm invested in PizzaRev because of its potential for scale and growth.

"This is more than an investment, this is a partnership," Thompson said in a statement. "We're delighted to join forces with PizzaRev and begin working together toward achieving long-term sustained success."

The company's growth over the last five years was helped by Buffalo Wild Wings, which took a minority stake in the company in 2013.

PizzaRev serves a variety of homemade dough options, all-natural cheeses and more than 30 toppings.

The pizzas are fired in a 900-degree stone-bed oven that produces a "crispy Roman-style pizza in just three minutes," according to the company.

In online reviews, customers praise PizzaRev's service, "to-die-for" pizzas, healthy options, and plethora of sauces and toppings.

Protein toppings include pepperoni, sweet fennel sausage, beef meatballs, smoked ham, grilled chicken, and vegan sausage, among others.

Vegetable options include mushrooms, red onions, cherry tomatoes, spinach, pineapple, pepperoncinis, fennel seeds, green bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, roasted garlic, cilantro, basil, arugula, capers, and jalapeños.

Customers can also get a variety of sauces like alfredo, "sweet and bold BBQ," and spicy organic tomato.

"Their topping choices are all encompassing and are fresh and allow you to experiment and create your own masterpiece," one customer wrote on Yelp.

Another customer wrote: "Generous portion, fresh taste without the greasy feeling of takeout, awesome price, and amazing people."

A few people compared it to Subway, "but better."

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