When The Roman Candle first opened its doors in Madison, Wisconsin in 2005, it completely changed the craft pizza game. No longer would customers have to compromise their cravings for pizzas made with local and fresh ingredients—The Roman Candle made a promise to create high quality pizzas that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. That commitment is still something the brand honors today, more than a decade later. But it’s making a major change to the place where that proven concept was born.
The Roman Candle is remodeling its original Madison location. The restaurant, which is typically packed with hungry customers, took out three tables in order to make room for a high-top counter facing the urban activity of Willy Street and an eight-seat bar with a dozen tap lines. Brewer Stouffer, the brand’s founder and CEO, says that by reconfiguring the entire space, The Roman Candle better positions itself in the craft pizza segment.
“The Roman Candle has always been a place for people to gather with their friends and families. But we were limiting ourselves with our physical set up,” said Stouffer. “Now that we have a bar, customers have a place to grab a drink while they wait for either a table or for their pick up order. It also creates a convenient space for students and café commuters to sit with their laptops and get some work done while they eat lunch and dinner. This remodel doesn’t just open up our restaurant physically, it opens the door to a whole new group of customers.”
Beyond putting in a bar, The Roman Candle is also using the remodel as an opportunity to augment its craft beer menu. The brand initially offered a selection of five craft beers— with no Miller or Budweiser in sight—when it first opened for business. At the time, it was a radical decision. But now, there’s been a shift in consumer demand. Craft beer is amazingly trendy, and customers expect to see more options on the menu whenever they go out to eat.
“We pride ourselves on being an innovator in the craft pizza industry, which is why we’re constantly working to develop our concept. Consumers today have different expectations for dine-in pizzerias than they did a decade ago, so we’re upping our game,” said Stouffer. “It’s incredibly rewarding and exciting to go back to the place that started it all. This location kicked off the whole Roman Candle experience, and these changes are only going to help us grow.”
The changes being made in the remodel aren’t just limited to the original Madison location— they’re becoming a part of The Roman Candle’s prototypical footprint across its entire system. Over the past few years, the brand has worked hard to put its practices through the grinder while performing a systems-level critique of both the company and its restaurants. That led to incredible insight, and gave The Roman Candle the chance to make its brand even better than it was before.
“We already know we can make a perfect pizza from scratch. So when we started our franchise opportunity, we wanted to determine how to elevate the rest of The Roman Candle’s experience to that level across all of our units,” said Stouffer. “The Roman Candle serves superior products, and now with this remodel we’re offering a superior dining experience, too.”
To learn more about franchising with The Roman Candle, click here.