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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

About one in eight Americans eats pizza on any given day. And an increasing number of them are ditching legacy brands like Domino’s and Pizza Hut for innovative fast-casual chains.

MOD Pizza is one of them. Founded by a former Starbucks executive in 2008, the chain more than doubled in size over the past year. In 2015, Technomic named MOD the fastest growing chain in the restaurant business,with its sales increasing a whopping 220% during the year.

Like competitors Blaze Pizza and Pieology, MOD prepares and bakes personal pizzas on a Chipotle-like assembly line, where customers can pick from dozens of toppings.

We recently visited a MOD location in Daly City, California, to see if it’s worth the hype.

Innovation in pizza delivery is in no short supply. These days, you can order a pizza by speaking to an Amazon Echo, texting a pizza emoji, or poking whatever this thing is.

Innovation in pizza delivery is in no short supply. These days, you can order a pizza by speaking to an Amazon Echo, texting a pizza emoji, or poking whatever this thing is.
Domino’s

Source: Business Insider

But in 2007, restaurant entrepreneur Scott Svenson saw “a shocking lack of innovation” in pizza consumed outside of the home. He and his wife, Ally, saw a business opportunity.

But in 2007, restaurant entrepreneur Scott Svenson saw

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

At the time, Svenson was working as president of Starbucks’ European division. He and Ally previously started a Seattle coffee company that was acquired by the coffee giant in 1998.

Svenson decided to take a risk and leave Starbucks to pursue his entrepreneurial itch.

The couple founded MOD Pizza a year later out of Seattle. Today, the fast-casual chain has 227 locations across the US and the UK and expects to grow by another 60 stores in 2017.

The couple founded MOD Pizza a year later out of Seattle. Today, the fast-casual chain has 227 locations across the US and the UK and expects to grow by another 60 stores in 2017.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The chain draws inspiration from fast-casual king Chipotle with its assembly line. Customers can choose from a selection of toppings in front of them.

The chain draws inspiration from fast-casual king Chipotle with its assembly line. Customers can choose from a selection of toppings in front of them.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

There are also nine “classics” or signature pizzas on the menu, from a classic cheese to the Dillon James, which features mozzarella, asiago, chopped basil, garlic, and sliced tomatoes.

Staff, called “the MOD squad,” slice and prep ingredients daily to ensure freshness.

Staff, called

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The dough, a proprietary recipe, gets pressed in a machine so it’s as thin as a tortilla.

The dough, a proprietary recipe, gets pressed in a machine so it's as thin as a tortilla.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

An employee takes an order, sauces and “cheeses” the pie, and sends it down the line.

An employee...