Zoom Pizza Factory joined the growing fast-casual pizza segment with its first store location opening in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Zoom-Pizza-FactoryThree years in the making, founder J.R. Werner partnered with Chef Paul Guerrero, formerly with Wolfgang Puck and Wildfire, to develop the customizable pizza concept that balances speed with quality food. Customers move down the serving line, working with a “Pizzarista” to choose a wide variety of toppings, from the more traditional to more adventurous butternut squash, figs and Brussels sprouts.

Also available to diners will be Zoom Pizza Factory’s pizza salad creation, the Zalata, consisting of square shells brushed with olive oil, seasonings and then piled high with fresh greens, toppings and a choice of dressing. Through a partnership with SPE, Zoom also offers a selection of seasonal, nutritionally balanced pizzas and salad pizzas for healthier options.

Staff cook pizzas in a stone conveyor oven, visible just behind the serving counter. The massive oven uses natural stone, an adjustable airflow and continual movement to cook pizzas in minutes. A Water Bar with a purification system allows diners to infuse their own still, sparkling or ambient water with an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Zoom Pizza also looked to integrate technology into the concept design, using a dedicated mobile prep area to process food orders placed through the restaurants’ mobile app. The app tracks one’s proximity to the restaurant so the guest’s pizza creation can begin when they near the restaurant.

Customers can also jump the line and order directly via the mobile app while on-site. The software program uses a queuing algorithm to send the order to the dedicated mobile prep area.