Chowly + Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom Success Story

Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom Logo

Introduction

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom, one of the hottest fast-casual, wood-fired pizza franchises in the USA, is known for its dedication to freshness and quality. Established in 2009 and franchising since 2017, Smokin’ Oak serves pizzas made to order and baked in an oak wood-fired oven right in front of the guests. They hand-chop vegetables throughout the day, roast meats in the wood-fired oven, make sauces in-house, and make their own dough. The commitment to freshness is such that there are no freezers on-site, and the wood-fired oven is the sole cooking utensil used. The menu features over 35 fresh toppings, 12 signature pizzas, salads, wood-fired sandwiches, and desserts. With eight locations around the US and four more coming soon, Smokin’ Oak offers both dine-in and delivery/take-out options to cater to all customer preferences. Their interactive, self-serve Taproom offers a wide variety of beer, wine, and mixed cocktails, enhancing the dining experience.
The story of Smokin’ Oak began with lifelong friends Matt Mongoven and Linda Black, who grew up across the street from each other in Rochester, MN. Linda opened the flagship restaurant in 2009, building on the success of Pi Wood-Fired Pizza. Every decision, from recipes to operations, was meticulously thought through, resulting in a restaurant that quickly became popular. With a secret dough recipe, made-in-house sauce, and unique flavor combinations, Smokin’ Oak’s pizzas are baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. In 2016, the trade name Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza was developed, and the first franchises opened in Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska. In 2020, the Taproom concept was introduced, combining a self-serve Taproom Wall with an extensive menu.
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Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom draft taps
Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom pizza
Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom customers pizza
Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom customers beverages

Challenge

As Smokin’ Oak expanded nationally, they encountered several challenges typical of growing franchises. Maintaining consistent quality and exceptional customer experience across multiple locations was paramount. The brand’s commitment to freshness—highlighted by their lack of freezers and reliance on a wood-fired oven—meant that every aspect of their service needed to be meticulously managed. This dedication to quality demanded that their technology stack be robust and reliable.
Managing digital ordering and integrating various technology platforms were crucial for supporting their growth. They needed a system that ensured seamless operations and maximized profitability in an increasingly competitive market. Ensuring that every customer interaction, whether in-store or online, met their high standards was a significant concern.
Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom hero
By adopting Chowly’s Off Premise Platform, Smokin’ Oak was able to focus on providing exceptional dining services without worrying about their tech stack. Chowly’s comprehensive solution for digital ordering, marketing, and integration allowed them to streamline their operations and maintain their quality standards effortlessly. This partnership enabled Smokin’ Oak to concentrate on what they do best: making great food and delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Solution

To address these challenges, Smokin’ Oak adopted Chowly’s Off Premise Platform, which powers digital ordering, marketing, and integration for over 17,000 restaurants in the US. Chowly Online Ordering and Chowly’s seamless integration with major delivery platforms like DoorDash, Google Food Ordering, GrubHub, and UberEats streamlined Smokin’ Oak’s operations and improved order management. The Smart Pricing feature allowed them to optimize pricing based on demand, further enhancing profitability.
First and foremost, Chowly empowers Smokin’ Oak to focus on their hospitality moment—the unique touch that sets them apart by ensuring every guest enjoys fresh, high-quality food every time. This unique aspect drives people to their brand and fuels continued expansion. By offloading certain responsibilities to Chowly, operators can focus on high-impact projects. These actions not only save time but significantly impact customer perception, engagement, and profitability.
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Second, with more locations opening, time and bandwidth are limited. Chowly’s unwavering support is crucial, as it allows Smokin’ Oak to manage their operations without juggling multiple tasks. This return on time for operators is invaluable, enabling them to concentrate on their core business.
Chowly aids in creating demand through comprehensive digital marketing services, simplifying the process for Smokin’ Oak with its “done for you” approach. It captures this demand via a robust online ordering system, ensuring a seamless experience for customers. Finally, Chowly converts this demand into profitable sales by seamlessly integrating with Smokin’ Oak’s existing POS system.
Chowly’s Off Premise Platform facilitates Smokin’ Oak’s expansion by leveraging the three Cs framework: Create, Capture, and Convert. This strategic approach not only attracts traffic but also ensures its transformation into profitable and recurring business.

Numbers

The impact of adopting Chowly's Off Premise Platform was significant. Here are some key performance metrics:

$ 200000

Total Sales

$ 1000

Smart Pricing Total Sales

Total Smart Pricing projected annual sales = $316,726.05

$ 1

Average Basket Size

+20% Increase vs Base Avg Basket

Smokin' Oak Wood-Fired Pizza & Taproom menu offerings

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