There’s no shortage of competition in the craft pizza segment. It seems like every restaurant claims they serve artisan pies—even national fast food chains. So when one brand manages to separate itself from the crowd with a true craft menu, you know it’s special.
The Roman Candle, a Madison, Wisconsin-based craft pizza franchise, consistently outshines the competition. The company is committed to its “Culture of Crust” philosophy, which means that every slice they serve is made with hand-tossed dough and fresh, local ingredients. The franchise’s menu offers an impressive variety of options, from custom and specialty pizzas to cage-free wings, fresh salads and shareable appetizers. But at the core of every menu item is a passion for quality products.
“To us, craft means caring about the entire pizza making process—from the purity of the raw ingredients to the moment it’s served piping hot to our customers,” said Brewer Stouffer, The Roman Candle’s founder and CEO. “I first started The Roman Candle ten years ago because I felt that no one else in the industry was making the pizza I wanted to eat. So we started creating our own recipes at our first store in Madison, and we’ve been growing and improving ever since.”
Right now, The Roman Candle has five locations across Wisconsin, with plans to expand to more cities in the near future. The brand credits its rapid growth to its commitment to quality and ever-changing menu. The Roman Candle specializes in all types of pizzas including classic combinations like pepperoni and cheese to unique recipes like “The Professional,” which is made up of oven-roasted chicken breast, bacon, house blend cheese, broccoli, green pepper, jalapeño and Wisconsin feta. But that’s not all The Roman Candle offers.
“Now that we’ve been in business for over a decade, we know what works. We’re constantly trying to improve our menu,” said Stouffer. “Take our chicken wings, which we rolled out earlier this year. They’re the perfect complement to our pizza. I think wings have become to pizza what French fries are to burgers. They complete the package—especially for delivery. And it’s clear that our customers agree.”
The Roman Candle’s chicken wings, which are oven fried, high in protein and gluten free, are already fan favorites. Since wings have been added to the menu, sales at the brand’s Madison stores are up. The brand also serves delicious salads, soups, breadsticks and veggies as starters and sides. Those alternative menu options allow the restaurant owners to complement their pizza revenue streams.
Beyond craft pizza, The Roman Candle is also known for its unparalleled collection of craft beers. Since the brand’s creation in 2005, the restaurant has offered a wide variety of Wisconsin-brewed beverages to accompany its pizza. It’s just another way The Roman Candle demonstrates its loyalty to an authentic, craft dining experience.
“A decade ago, it was almost painful to exclude Miller and Bud from our tap lineup because those brands sell. It was truly a radical decision at the time—you just couldn’t find craft beers on tap anywhere else,” said Stouffer. “Now, we’re doubling and even tripling our beer lines at our locations. Craft beer is something we’ve been 100 percent committed to since day one, and we’re doubling down on our variety to keep up with our customers’ craving for local craft beer.”
The Roman Candle’s unique approach and extensive menu allows it to distance itself from other companies who target the craft pizza audience. That difference is what’s allowed the brand to go from an idea to a franchise concept, and it’s what will enable The Roman Candle to continue its expansion efforts in the future.
“I’m proud of how much my team at The Roman Candle cares about the quality of food we serve. Our customers can always tell that their food was made with heart. That’s what separates us from the rest of the craft pizza industry—everything we do takes our brand to the next level. We’re always trying to up our game,” said Stouffer.
For more information about franchising with Roman Candle, please click here.